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Symposia & Lectures
22 Jan 2015

A Shared Legacy: A Half-Day Symposium

Noted scholars and experts in the field of American Folk art discussed perspectives on nineteenth- and twentieth-century artworks from A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America.

Sponsored by the Council for Traditional Folk Art.


Stacy C. Hollander, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, Chief Curator, and Director of Exhibitions, American Folk Art Museum


An independent writer and art historian, Avis Berman is the author of Rebels on Eighth Street: Juliana Force and the Whitney Museum of American Art; James McNeill Whistler; and Edward Hopper’s New York, and co-author and editor of Katharine Kuh’s memoir My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator. Her articles and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and her essays have appeared in encyclopedias, anthologies, and museum catalogues. Since 2001, she has been in charge of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation’s oral history program. She organized the first museum survey of William Glackens’s work in nearly fifty years, which opened in February 2014 and has been seen in three museums.

Cynthia G. Falk is professor at the Cooperstown Graduate Program, a master’s degree program in museum studies sponsored by SUNY Oneonta and the New York State Historical Association. Falk is the author of the books Barns of New York and Architecture and Artifacts of the Pennsylvania Germans. She additionally serves as co-editor of Buildings & Landscapes, the journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum. Falk did her undergraduate work at Penn State, earned a master’s degree in the Winterthur Program, and completed a PhD in American Civilization at the University of Delaware.

A former curator at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Richard Miller has contributed to books on American art and culture, including Folk Art’s Many Faces; American Naive Paintings; The Encyclopedia of American Folk Art; The Encyclopedia of New England; Expressions of Eloquence and Innocence: Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana, Vols. I and II; and his articles have appeared in The Magazine Antiques and American Furniture. The guest curator of A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America, he wrote contributions to the exhibition catalog, and he continues researching and writing a monograph on the portrait painter Sheldon Peck.

Lisa Minardi is an assistant curator at the Winterthur Museum and a PhD candidate in the History of American Civilization Program at the University of Delaware. A nationally renowned expert on Pennsylvania German art and culture, she helped organize the landmark exhibition Paint, Pattern & People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725–1850 at Winterthur in 2011 and co-authored the accompanying book of the same name. She is also the author of Pastors & Patriots: The Muhlenberg Family of Pennsylvania and the forthcoming book Drawn With Spirit: Pennsylvania German Fraktur From the Joan and Victor Johnson Collection.

Ralph Sessions is Director, Special Projects at DC Moore Gallery, New York. Previously, he was Chief Curator of the American Folk Art Museum, and Director of Drawings at Spanierman Gallery, New York, among other positions. He has a PhD in Art History from the City University of New York and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. His publications include The Shipcarvers’ Art: Figureheads and Cigar Store Indians in Nineteenth Century America, Walt Kuhn: American Modern, Romare Bearden: Insight & Innovation, and Charles Burchfield: Fifty Years as a Painter.


Image: MARY F. KELLEY’S SAVINGS BANK, painting attributed to Emeline M. Robinson Kelley (1803–1864), cabinetmaker unidentified, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, c. 1830, watercolor on paper, mahogany and white pine, glass, and brass, 5 5/16 x 10 1/4 x 5 5/8″. Photo courtesy the Barbara L. Gordon Collection.