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Artists & Inspiration Series

Join us each month for ADKX’s Artists & Inspiration programs. These evening events offer insight into the museum’s first permanent exhibition dedicated to our art and design collection—Artists & Inspiration in the Wild—opening in 2023. What makes Adirondack art unique? How do artists who work in the region gain inspiration from the environment around them? Curious to try your hands at making your own masterpiece?

We invite you to tune in each month to hear from scholars, artists, teachers, and creative visionaries from across North America as they consider the makers and the collection that will be showcased in this new exhibition. From evenings that are fun-filled for the whole family to those focused on more reflective discourse and discussion, the Artists and Inspiration evenings offer something for everyone.

Missed one? Recordings will be available below after each live program.

Upcoming Events

Henry Fair: Nature as the Inspiration for Art and Life

September 12 | 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

This program will be a hybrid event (in-person AND virtual). Those interested in attending the program virtually can register...

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Adirondack Architecture

October 24 | 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

This is a virtual program. In the words of the late Harvey Kaiser, author of Great Camps of the Adirondacks: “There is...

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Previous Artists & Inspiration Series Events

The Work of Adirondack Photographer Carl Heilman

Monday, August 8, 2022 | 7:00 pm

Renowned Adirondack photographer Carl Heilman’s goal has always been to recreate the feelings of place… to portray how special and unique a place is, and to evoke the sensations of being there at the time the photograph was created. In this highly visual program, Carl will share his inspiration drawn from the grandeur of the natural world and his search for spiritual times in the wilderness when light becomes magical, when “we are transformed by the simple power of beauty.”

About the Speaker

Carl Heilman is an internationally published photographer and author who has been photographing the Adirondacks since 1975. He started climbing the High Peaks on a pair of handcrafted snowshoes in the 1970s and continues to explore and photograph the mountains and lakes, while pursuing his passion for portraying the unique beauty of the Adirondack Park –and sharing his decades of photography experience with others in his photography workshops and tours, coffee table books, and how-to photography books.

Winslow Homer’s Adirondack Discovery

Monday, July 11, 2022 | 7:00 pm

Bill Cross’ book Winslow Homer: American Passage is the definitive biography of an American Everyman who was the visual counterpart to Mark Twain in prose and Walt Whitman in poetry. In his presentation Bill will discuss the ways in which the Adirondacks became a place of salvation for Homer – where he discovered a sense of purpose and meaning that sustained him for the rest of his life.

About the Speaker

Headshot of Bill Cross, the author of Winslow Homer: American Passage, a biography of the American painter Winslow Homer (1836-1910)Bill Cross is the author of Winslow Homer: American Passage, a biography of the American painter Winslow Homer (1836-1910) that Farrar, Straus & Giroux will publish on April 12, 2022. In 2019, he curated Homer at the Beach, A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880, a nationally-renowned exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum (Gloucester, MA) revealing Homer’s formation as a marine artist. Bill is a graduate of Yale College, magna cum laude, and received an MBA at Harvard Business School.

Plein Air Painting in the Adirondacks

Monday, June 20, 2022 | 7:00 pm

This program is inspired by The Great Adirondack Pass, Painted on the Spot (Charles Ingham, 1837). Seeing paintings in the Adirondack Experience in the 1970s inspired artist Sandra Hildreth to find and paint some of the same locations. That led to a passion for plein air painting as she explored and then moved to the Adirondacks. This program will touch upon plein air works in the ADKX collection, and how contemporary artists like Hildreth connect with and draw inspiration from them.

About the Speaker

Sandra Hildreth grew up in Wisconsin, has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Western Kentucky University; and taught high school art in northern New York for 31 years, retiring in 2001 and moving to Saranac Lake. She works full time as an artist, primarily doing plein air paintings of the Adirondacks as well as traveling and painting some of our National Parks in the west. She is a member of co-op galleries in Saranac Lake and Malone; exhibits in regional and national juried shows and created the nationally known Adirondack Plein Air Festival, held the third week of August in Saranac Lake. Her paintings can be seen at SandraHildreth.com and studio visits are welcome, by appointment. Her work is represented in the ADKX collection. (Artist photo credit: Gary Lee)

The Realities of the World in Creative Works

Monday, May 23, 2022 | 7:00 pm

Artists have long incorporated the world around them in their works. Facing overwhelming social and environmental challenges, today’s artists give us a way to connect emotionally with weighty contemporary issues. From environmental damage and climate change to the pains of the pandemic to the worst of human nature inflicted through acts of racism and genocide, artists infuse their intimate feelings about significant matters in the works that emerge in public display. This program will feature three artists who are known for bringing contemporary issues into their creative works with beauty and tenderness.

About the Speakers

Carrie Hill is Haudenosaunee from Akwesasne Mohawk Territory and owner of Chill Baskets. In 2014 Carrie left her position at the Mohawk School in Hogansburg, New York to pursue basket making full time. The tradition of weaving black ash splints and sweetgrass goes back many generations in Carrie’s family, and her first teacher was her aunt. Weaving felt natural to Carrie, and she fell in love with the entire process. She was soon creating her own unique pieces. Her work has been sent all over the world including an entire collection representing the Haudenosaunee People for the U.S. Embassy in Swaziland, Africa.

Susan Hoffer became interested in stories as a child, listening to her grandmother talk about growing up as an ethnic Gottscheer in what is now Slovenia. Susan’s interest in dislocation of Adirondack Park residents (she lives in Upper Jay near Lake Placid) grew from their conversations. While her work recalls and interrogates narrative images that have been around for centuries, they are crafted with a unique aesthetic. Hoffer has exhibited throughout the US with paintings in the permanent collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY, and the Adirondack Experience Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, NY.

Natasha Smoke Santiago grew up in Rochester and was brought up in the traditions of the Longhouse by a close-knit extended family. Her artistic talent blossomed early and was encouraged by family members, some of whom were also artist and artisans. In her early teens she returned to Akwesasne, her grandfathers’ homeland, joining a wave of returning emigrants, lost children returning to a now bright and prosperous Akwesasne. She works in many mediums, chronicling traditional Haudenosaunee culture, contemporary life, the miracle of pregnancy and the beauty of the natural world. Her art sustains her spiritually, emotionally, and financially as she builds for the future for her family.

Exploring Connections between Land and Landscapes

Monday, April 18, 2022 | 7:00 pm

Curators Laura Rice and Eleanor Harvey will explore the tradition of American landscape painting and consider how we see the land today, long after the time the scenes were memorialized by brushstrokes. Paintings from the Adirondacks of the 1800s and 1900s serve today as a powerful tool in measuring the health of the region’s natural resources. While confronting the reality of human effects on the environment, we still have it in us to look to natural beauty—the lakes and rivers, mountain peaks and thick forests—for both personal reflection and human aspiration.

About the Speaker

Eleanor Jones Harvey is a senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her research interests include eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American art, notably landscape painting, southwestern abstraction and Texas art. Her most recent exhibition, Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture (2020), considers how deeply entwined the heralded naturalist’s ideas were with America’s emerging identity, grounded in an appreciation of the landscape. Dr. Harvey earned her Master’s degree and her PhD in art history at Yale University.

Cropped view of a broadside for the Lake Placid Club created by the artist Amy Jones.

Taking their Place – Bringing American Women Artists into the Foreground

Monday, March 21, 2022 | 7:00 pm

While many 19th-century American women drew, sketched, and even painted, few were able to become professional artists, and fewer still have their work in museum collections today. Why was visual art considered a ladylike pursuit, and yet an unsuitable career for women at the same time? How did some women surmount the historical obstacles to becoming artists? And why have even their success stories been largely forgotten? This talk will explore the lives and work of women who became landscape painters, portraitists, and commercial artists, from the mid-1800s through the Great Depression, especially those who found inspiration in the wilds of the Adirondacks.

About the Speaker

Headshot of Laura Prieto, Alumni Chair in Public Humanities and a Professor of History at Simmons University in Boston.Laura R. Prieto is the Alumni Chair in Public Humanities and a Professor of History at Simmons University in Boston. She researches and writes about women, gender, and race in American culture. Her first book, At Home in the Studio: The Professionalization of Women Artists in America, studies how women painters, sculptors, and illustrators created a professional identity for themselves in the face of exclusion. Her current research traces women’s transnational work and activism, within and across the overseas empire that the United States established in the Caribbean and Pacific.

A grid of paintings by artist Takeyce Walter.

Creative February—Daily Painting Demonstration

Monday, February 28, 2022 | 7:00 pm

All works shown created by Takeyce Walter

February is an exceptional month in artist Takeyce Walter’s life. Her family celebrates almost weekly birthdays, including her own. In 2014, the month became even more extraordinary when Walter decided to give herself the gift of time to create art daily. Each day, Takeyce produced one painting as an act to reinvigorate her love for art and honor her creative urge. That commitment and passion spurred subsequent annual Creative February months, the movement growing in popularity among artists and admirers across the country. Join Takeyce Walter live from her studio as she completes her final daily painting of Creative February 2022. You can see the pieces created so far on her Instagram profile: http://instagram.com/takeycewalter.

About the Speaker

Headshot of artist, Takeyce Walter.

Takeyce Walter is an award winning contemporary American painter (born Jamaica) and art instructor, living and working in upstate New York. Driven to create from an early age, Walter has been producing art for as long as she can remember. Most recently, her focus has been on the natural landscape of her surroundings in the Northeast. Working with oil paint and pastels, Walter creates paintings that present the landscape in all its glory—flowing rivers, majestic skies, and picturesque lakes. There is a great sense of familiarity, tranquility, and reverence in each piece.

In addition to publishing her work online, Walter also exhibits in regional galleries in the Northeast, including the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, the Ticonderoga Arts Gallery, Saratoga Arts Gallery, and the Adirondack Experience. Her work has found homes in many private collections across the country and internationally, including local museum and hospital collections.

Bringing Indigenous Perspectives into Museums

Monday, January 24, 2022 | 7:00 pm

Image shown: East Coast to West Coast Survivors by Natasha Smoke Santiago, 2021 (2021.082.0001)

Prof. Stevens, a citizen of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, is currently working on a book-length project dealing with the complicated issues around Native American nations, their histories, and their relationships with museums. While his focus is largely on Haudenosaunee (aka Iroquois) communities, he hopes this work will serve as a template for broader application amongst other Indigenous cultures and the museums in which they are represented by collections and exhibits. He considers the many challenges for museums in overcoming the legacy of misappropriation and misrepresentation of Indigenous cultures.  How can the two sides work with each other toward a mutually beneficial and more accurate depiction of the richness and complexity of Native societies? In his talk he will discuss the terms of the debate and some possible solutions for moving forward.

About the Speaker

Professor Scott Manning Stevens is a native of what is now called New York State and is the Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies at Syracuse University.  Having earned his B.A. at Dartmouth and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard in literature, Dr. Stevens held positions at Arizona State University, SUNY at Buffalo, and Syracuse University.  He has published numerous articles and book chapters on Indigenous studies issues, particularly on material culture and museums.  He has received grants and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is currently a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

William J. Stillman’s Photographic Studies in the Adirondacks

Monday, December 13, 2021 | 7:00 pm

Painter and photographer William J. Stillman felt a deep connection to the Adirondacks. This talk will take a close look at Stillman’s camping trips to the late 1850s as part of the Philosophers’ Camp, which included Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Louis Agassiz, as well as his solo trips, culminating in his extraordinary portfolio of photographic studies of the forest made in 1859.

About the Speaker

Diane Waggoner is curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. She has contributed to several publications on photography and curated numerous exhibitions, including The Pre-Raphaelite Lens: British Photography and Painting, 1848-1875 (2010) and East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography (2017). In 2020, she published the monograph, Lewis Carroll’s Photography and Modern Childhood (Princeton University Press).

Race and Geography in the American Landscape Tradition

Monday, November 15, 2021 | 7:00 pm

In the mid nineteenth century United States, landscape painting flourished as an art form. Well-traveled painters celebrated the beauty and wonder of places like the Adirondacks, portraying its mountains and rivers as worthy of patriotic celebration. Meanwhile, their artistic success promoted the area as a touristic center. Both the growth of landscape tourism and landscape art were privileged pursuits in an era of racial division. This talk will consider the ways in which race factored into the American landscape. How did Blacks and whites interact in landscapes like the Adirondacks? How did African American artists who chose to pursue landscape painting deal with the limits of their mobility?

About the Speaker

Maggie Cao is an assistant professor of art history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a historian of eighteenth and nineteenth-century American art in a global context. Her first book, The End of Landscape in Nineteenth-Century America, published in 2018, examined the fall of the landscape tradition in the face of geographic, economic, environmental change. She is now writing a book on American painting and overseas empire building in the nineteenth century.

A close-up crop of a painting from an Artists + Inspiration Series event.

Storytelling with Pigment and Spoken Words

Monday, October 18, 2021 | 7:00 pm

Please join us for an evening with Dave Fadden. Dave will talk about his work as an artist, educator, and storyteller and how these roles together work to enlighten people to the culture and society of Native people in general and the Haudenosaunee more specifically. He will share how his work helps erase misconceptions and stereotypes about Indigenous people though depiction of Native people in historical and contemporary everyday settings and situations. Through Dave’s voice, storytelling relates cultural and historical notions in an entertaining way for all ages.

About the Speaker

David Kanietakeron Fadden is a Mohawk storyteller and painter from Akwesasne. He has trained as an artist through school and under the guidance of his family—his father John who is an illustrator and painter, mother Elizabeth who is a sculptor and potter, and late grandfather Ray, who was a designer and founder of the Six Nations Indian Museum (now Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center) in Onchiota, New York.

In addition to being featured in countless publications and museum projects, his work has been exhibited throughout New York in Albany, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, the Unison Arts & Learning Center in New Paltz, and the National Museum of American Indian, and in Canada at the Cornwall Regional Art Gallery, the Centre Interculturel Strathearn in Montreal, and Aboriginal Art Centre in Gatineau, Quebec.

Uncovering Adirondack Treasures

Monday, September 20, 2021 | 7:00 pm

Dealers are central players in the marketplace for Adirondack art, photography, rustic furniture, and other material. They help museums and private collectors build and refine their collections. They turn up masterpieces in unlikely places and shine the light on overlooked artists and whole categories of previously undervalued collectibles. Hear from two of the pros working in the field of Adirondack art and antiques–Christopher English and Robert Doyle. They will share some of their most unusual stories, including acquisitions and sales that have stood out for them over the course of their careers.

About the Speakers

Christopher English is the Co-Owner of The Adirondack Store in Lake Placid, which recently opened an additional showroom in Tupper Lake. Christopher has spent his professional lifetime seeking and trading high-end art, antiques, and taxidermy. Before buying The Adirondack Store, Christopher and his partner Stephen Dori Shin founded and operated Antediluvian—an Antiques & Oddities store in Lake Placid. Today they place emphasis on highlighting the 60-plus-year-old Adirondack Store’s forgotten history, making special efforts to create future history.

Robert Doyle was the owner of the former rustic gallery Adirondack Antiques. In 1983, he worked with the Lake Placid Center for the Arts to put together an art show and sale featuring rustic furniture and Native American art. This show was the first time Adirondack furniture had been seen in an art gallery setting and sparked an interest in the rustic style. As the older pieces became harder to find and modern makers rose in prominence, Robert’s search shifted from furniture back to his early passion for antique Native American art.

Iakwatatenonhwe (We Are Related): Voices from Turtle Island

Monday, August 23, 2021 | 7:00 pm

Discover the imagination and passion behind the award-winning art of Carla and Babe Hemlock. From conception through process the Hemlocks’ exquisite expressions honor and celebrate their Kanien’kéha (Mohawk) values and traditions. In addition to a discussion of their creative processes, the Hemlocks will speak to the role of their work in confronting issues of sovereignty and initiating dialogue around environmental concerns. Curators Laura Rice (ADXX) and Colette Lemmon (Iroquois Museum) will join the Hemlocks in an exploration of the multi-faceted role of the arts in Haudenosaunee culture and the limitations of traditional categorizations of Indigenous art.

About the Speakers

Carla Hemlock, Mohawk of Kahnawake, is a self-taught artist who works in textiles, beadwork, and mixed media. She has taken part in numerous group exhibitions in a wide range of venues including ‘Changing Hands 3’ at the Museum of Arts and Design NYC and ‘Native Fashion Now’ at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.  Internationally her work has exhibited in Kunstund Ausstellugshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn and the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin, Germany.  Also toured Russia for the exhibition ‘Woven Together’. Her work can be found in many public institutions including the Smithsonian National Museum American Indian in Washington, DC, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Musee National des Beaux Arts du Quebec.

Donald ‘Babe’ Hemlock, Mohawk of Kahnawake, is a self-taught artist who works in woodworking, painting, and cradleboards. He has taken part in group exhibitions in a wide range of venues, including ‘Changing Hands 3’ at the Museum of Arts and Design NYC and the Iroquois Museum at Howes Cave, NY, where he and his wife Carla received the ‘Excellence in Iroquois Arts Award’.  Internationally his work has been exhibited in Kunstund Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublic Deutschland Bonn and the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin, Germany.  His work can be found in many public collections including the Smithsonian National Museum American Indian in Washington, DC, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas, and the Sequoyah National Research Centre in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Colette Lemmon serves as the Curator of Exhibitions at the Iroquois Indian Museum. She holds an MA in Museum Studies, a BA in Anthropology and Art History, and trained in oral history documentation with the Smithsonian Folklife Center and Indiana University.  She has curated numerous exhibits, conducted research and written on Haudenosaunee/Iroquois art as a consultant to: the New York State Museum’s ethnology department; the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum (Salamanca, NY); the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe, NM); Rome Art Center (Rome, NY); Ottawa Art Gallery (Ontario, Canada) and other facilities.  She also served as a guest curator and project consultant to the NY State Vietnam Memorial & Fine Arts Gallery (Albany) and National Vietnam War Museum (Fort Worth, TX).

Coming Soon to the ADKX: Artists & Inspiration in the Wild

Monday, August 16, 2021 | 7:00 pm

In 2023, the Adirondack Experience will open its latest permanent exhibition, Artists & Inspiration in the Wild. Join us for a sneak peek and meet the creative team bringing the museum’s fine and decorative art collections into a new home, the first dedicated space for these works. Once opened, Artists & Inspiration will show how the natural features of the Adirondacks have inspired the creative work of artists and artisans over hundreds of years. The new galleries will offer a blend of rich and diverse works from the ADKX vaults with contemporary interactive media, all in an enriching, immersive exhibit experience. Come see!

About the Speakers

Greg Matty is a Project Executive and Designer Director at Gallagher & Associates, specializing in Exhibition Design and Museum Planning. His extensive experience spans over 35 years and includes projects ranging from science centers and natural science museums to highly articulated interactive cultural and historical facilities. He is a licensed architect, LEED AP certified, and has worked in architectural firms in Dallas, Texas, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, California. He has also taught design courses at several colleges and universities including the University of California at Berkeley, Catholic University and the Savannah College of Art and Design. Mr. Matty received his Masters of Architecture from the University of California Berkeley and his Bachelors of Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute University.

Sara Smith, Producer and Project Manager at Richard Lewis Media Group, is a deep believer in the value of museums as spaces for collections, stories, and social engagement. She brings to the work her love of the outdoors based on a childhood spent hiking, skiing, and boating in the great woods of the Pacific Northwest. Sara has a B.A. in Anthropology from Brown University, studying Navajo textiles, and a Master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Washington where she studied Nigerian art. Previous to joining RLMG, Sara was the Director of Exhibit Development at Amaze Design, Inc., and prior to that position she had ten years of curatorial experience in art and cultural history museums.

Live from the Studio: An Evening with Barney Bellinger

Monday, June 21, 2021 | 7:00 pm

Spend an evening in the studio of Adirondack artist Barney Bellinger. Barney will give a peek at his work in progress today and share what has shaped his creative designs and signature works over the course of his career. Out of natural and repurposed materials, Barney creates abstract forms inspired by beetles, fish, and found objects, melded with practical furniture designs and paintings to create pieces that are both functional and visually astonishing.

About the Speaker

Barney Bellinger, based in Mayfield, NY, is a painter, sculptor, photographer, and furniture designer and an artist-in-residence at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts. A native of Johnstown, Barney sold his first piece of art as a teenager in 1970. Barney’s work has evolved many times over the years, from customized motorcycles and cars to carved gold leaf signs to organic furniture built with natural materials from the forest. Barney is a self-taught artist, gaining his knowledge from books, inherited wisdom, and immersing himself in the beauty of the Adirondacks. His work has been exhibited at the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Adirondack Experience and appears in the permanent collections of the Orvis Company and the Smithsonian Institution; it is also widely sought after and collected privately.

Objects in Motion, Objects at Rest: Late Nineteenth-Century American Paintings

Monday, May 17, 2021 | 7:00 pm

Art historian Melody Deusner (Indiana University) will trace some of the unexpected journeys that American paintings have taken before they arrived on the walls of our museums. Using as a key example the work of Adirondack landscapist Alexander H. Wyant (1836-1892), we will examine different ways that paintings were exhibited, talked about, published, and promoted in their own time, and will consider such issues as transportation, lighting, and weather as they affected both people and things.

About the Speaker

Melody Barnett Deusner is an Associate Professor of Art History at Indiana University. In researching and teaching the visual and material culture of the late nineteenth century, she focuses primarily on the relationships between artists and their patrons; on the founding of museums and other arts institutions; and on the afterlives of objects. Her first book, Aesthetic Painting in Britain and America: Collectors, Art Worlds, Networks (2020), explores surprising intersections between art, business, and technology.

Twilight scene, lake entering from right foreground to left background reflects the sunset and brilliant sky which covers the upper half of the canvas.

Harold Hochschild and the Creation of the ADKX Fine Art Collection

Monday, April 19, 2021 | 7:00 pm

Join Deedee Wigmore, Founder and President of D. Wigmore Fine Art, in conversation with ADKX Library Director Ivy Gocker. Ivy and Deedee will talk about Harold’s interest in Adirondack art, including his purchase of a painting of a log cabin by Albert Blakelock. Deedee will offer personal anecdotes around some of the works Harold collected and how the art in the museum’s collection today speaks to his passion for and dedication to the Adirondacks.

About the Speaker

Deedee Wigmore is the Founder and President of D. Wigmore Fine Art, a gallery focused on American historic art. At the age of 30, Deedee was the Director of American Art at M. Knoedler and Co., at the time the oldest art gallery in America. There, she led a department which only included works from the 18th and 19th centuries. She left the Knoedler and Co. to become Gallery director of Kennedy Galleries. She served in that role for six years until 1980 when she opened her own gallery, specializing in art from the 1930-40s, an era then considered out of favor. Today, D. Wigmore Fine Art includes works through the 1980s and looks at major developments in both representational and abstract art. Deedee has committed the gallery to “keep moving forward to include art that represents important developments which connect time and place.”

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