“Great art speaks powerfully, inspires fresh thinking, and connects us to our past.”
This December, our gallery features five of the 40 selections included in the Picturing America series. In this exhibit, the ‘Mission Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, 1755’, ‘The Peacock Room, 1876-1877’ by James McNeill Whistler, ‘The Boating Party, 1893/1894’ by Mary Cassatt, ‘The Dove, 1964 by Romare Bearden, and ‘The Sources of Country Music, 1975’ by Thomas Hart Benton. The Kingston Public Library applied for and was awarded this grant in 2002.
Picturing America, a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, told America’s story through its art in forty high-quality reproductions of selected masterworks of American art from 1100 to 1996. Designed to reach K-12 classrooms around the country, the project also features an in-depth Teachers Resource Book that provided educators with ideas and background information for using the works of art in core subjects, as well as a dynamic online compendium of lesson plans, interactives, and more.
During its lifetime, Picturing America was distributed to over 55,000 schools and public libraries. In partnership with the Administration for Children and Families in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, it also served 20,000 Head Start centers across the country.
Although the active life of the project has now ended, the National Endowment is very pleased to continue to offer educators access to the digitized version of the Teachers Resource Book in five languages, with activities organized by elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as over a dozen lesson plans and interactives based on Picturing America works of art, through NEH’s EDSITEment website.
From the Chairman:
Picturing America is an initiative of the We The People program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Launched in 2002, We The People seeks to strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of America’s history and founding principles. To promote this goal, Picturing America brings some of our nation’s most significant images into classrooms nationwide. It offers a way to understand the history of America- its diverse people and places, its travails and triumphs-through some of our greatest artistic masterpieces. This exciting new effort in humanities education will expose thousands of citizens to outstanding American art, and it will provide a valuable resource that can help bring the past alive.”
In so doing, Picturing America fits squarely within the mission of the NEH. The Endowment’s founding legislation declares that “democracy demands wisdom.” A nation that does not know where it comes from, or why it exists, or what it stands for, cannot be expected to long endure-so each generation of Americans must learn about our nation’s founding principles and its rich heritage. Studying the visual arts can help accomplish this. An appreciation of American art takes us beyond the essential facts of our history and gives us insight into our nation’s character, ideals, and aspirations. By using art to help our young people to see better, we can help them to understand better the continuing drama of the American experiment in self-government.”
My own experience testifies to art’s power to stimulate intellectual awakenings. When I was a young child my parents visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and they brought home a souvenir that would alter my life: a portfolio of illustrations from the collections of the National Gallery. As I pondered these great works of art, I had the first glimmerings of what would become a lifelong pursuit: to study and understand the form, history, and meaning of art. This was my gateway to a wider intellectual world. Through that open door, I would delve into history, philosophy, religion, architecture, and literature-the entire universe of the humanities.”
I hope that Picturing America will provide a similar intellectual gateway for students across America. This program will help today’s young Americans learn about our nation’s history. And that, in turn, will make them good citizens-citizens who are motivated by the stirring narrative of our past, and prepared to add their own chapters to America’s remarkable story.
Bruce Cole Chairman National Endowment for the Humanities
This November, the Kingston Public Library will feature local award winners of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Senior Art Competition.
For the past four years members of Violet Berry’s oil painting class have been awarded prizes in the competition. This annual event is open to both professional and amateur events.
Each year entries must comply with a given theme. The submissions in the hundreds from more than 75 of the state’s cities and towns are displayed in the Commonwealth Museum each September. A luncheon and awards presentation is held at the museum at the end of September or early October.
The competition first began in 2011. To view past shows go to the website https://www.sec.state.ma.us/trs/trsgft/gftidx.
This August, we feature the paintings and carvings of Ruth Goddard. In this exhibit, Ruth’s watercolors feature landscapes from New Hampshire, Rockport, and Canada. Many of her pieces highlight historical Wakefield locales and the Gloucester Lighthouse.
In the display case, Ruth’s among the carvings featured are a Box turtle, a Trojan horse, a Bald eagle, and the poet Robert Frost. She also painted on wood and metal. Her two decorative plates are included in this display.
Ruth attended the Massachusetts College of Art and then drafting school sponsored by the United States Government from there, she worked as a draftsman at Genrad Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, She also worked as a draftsman at the National Radio Company of Malden, and Lam Lighting in Wakefield.
Ruth was a brilliant watercolor artist and created hundreds of paintings for family and friends. Many of her pieces highlighted historical Wakefield locales. She exhibited at the Co-op Bank in Wakefield and the Wakefield Library. She was one of the Wakefield Art Association founders and won several prizes for her watercolors. Ruth was the President of the Wakefield Arts/Crafts from 1966 to 1968.
Ruth was a member of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Wakefield. She taught Sunday school and was very active in church activities. Out of the many things that she did…one was the artwork for the stone sign in front of the church, still there today.
As if she wasn’t busy enough–Ruth was a very active member in the Wakefield Garden Club for many years and, was a noted quilter, winning first prize for one of her quilts at a local show.
She and her family loved boating and spent many happy hours enjoying the ocean in Essex and Nantucket. She also loved figure skating where she met her husband of 58 years–Fred Goddard who was from Plymouth.
Ruth passed away on Friday, April 4, 2014 at the age of 91.
This June, our gallery and display case features the monotypes and collages of Bonnie Forsyth. In this exhibit, ‘A Quiet Smile‘, Bonnie continues her journey as an artist. Bonnie began her journey of expression through her art in 1995 when she met Nancy Connolly, artist, teacher and collaborator. This exhibit represents work done over the past year.
The artist expresses her view of the world through her collages, prints, painting and other media. Currently, she has been working with monoprints and collographs using a printing press.
When Bonnie has painted in the past, the way that she paints is like dance through her strokes, swirls and dabs of her brush.
Ms. Forsyth’s art has been exhibited at the South Shore Arts Center in Cohasset, the Fuller Museum in Brockton, Citizen’s Bank in Plymouth, PAC-TV in Plymouth and the Danforth Museum in Framingham at the invitation of artist Michael Dowling and Herb Lovett at a seminar on “The Theory of Intelligence”.
A reception for Bonnie will be held on Saturday, June 9 at 1 to 3 PM in the library courtyard. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Today, we may see gypsy moths outside our homes or in our woodlands and think nothing of them, but this insect has a tumultuous history in the United States.
In 1869, an amateur entomologist imported this species from Europe to his home in Medford, Massachusetts. He intended to use the moths to breed a silk-spinning moth that would be more resistant to disease than the domestic silkmoth. Unsurprisingly, several adult moths escaped from their enclosures, setting a number of problems in motion that we continue to grapple with today.
Stop by to learn more about Kingston’s efforts to eradicate this pest in this month’s local history exhibit!
This April, our gallery features the 20th Annual Sacred Heart High School Art Students Exhibition. This exhibit features their paintings, drawings and photographs. The students, under the direction of art teacher Julie Trahon, have brought their visions and talents to these unique creations.
In art, or “the looking class,” we learn to look harder and try to see things in a different light. We venture into our imagination, endeavor to express ourselves and share our unique perspective. “Through the Looking Class” is a collection of artwork and digital photography which reflects the lessons students have learned this year on the elements of art and the principles of design. These lessons include drawing still-lifes from observation, anatomy drawings, color studies, imaginative drawings, portraiture, multimedia projects, and digital photographs.
This exhibition provides a professional forum for student artists; another important purpose of this exhibit is to foster creativity and promote the importance of the arts in our schools.
In honor of Women’s History Month, March’s local history exhibit will feature materials from Emily Fuller Drew (1881-1950), who we have to thank for much of what we know about Kingston’s history. She put in an enormous of amount of work to help preserve the history of this town. Leaving a collection of more than 700 lantern slides, Emily photographed existing images that were decaying in order to preserve the informational content. She also photographed a variety of houses, buildings, events, and people of Kingston. Local history was a passion for Emily, and she recorded it not only visually, but also in her numerous unpublished essays and notes.
Stop by the library to learn more about Emily and her legacy!
Source: Image from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).
This May, our gallery and reading area feature the watercolor paintings of the Silver Lake Middle School 8th Grade Art Students.
The 8th grade painting and drawing classes at Silver Lake Middle School present their observational watercolors in this show. Painting and drawing is one of the three art elective classes 8th grade students can choose at Silver Lake Middle School in addition to an all year long art class.
When the US entered World War I in 1917 and called for a draft, Joseph Finney registered during the first round. He became one of approximately 2 million men who joined the American Expeditionary Forces, armed forces sent overseas to Europe. Throughout his service he exchanged postcards with friends and family, especially his elder sister, Ella Finney, and the woman he went on to marry upon his return, Mary Fries. Looking through this correspondence allows us to piece together a loose timeline of his experiences. Stop by the library to check out this exhibit for yourself!
Source: Image from the Joseph Cushman Finney Papers (MC11).
Ada Brewster, born in Kingston on May 25, 1842, lived a fascinating life. She served as a nurse at Lovell General Hopsital in Rhode Island during the Civil War; worked at the U.S. Mint in Carson City, Nevada during the production of the first trade dollar coined by the federal government; studied art at the Lowell Institute in Boston and the California School of Design (now the San Francisco Art Institute); opened her own art studio and became known as a portraitist, illustrator, china-painter, and teacher; and moved all over the country before returning home to Kingston in 1919. Stop by to learn more in this month’s Local History exhibit, featuring a selection of Ada’s sketches from her time out West.
Source: This sketch comes from the Ada Brewster Collection (MC24).