2019 at Fenimore Art Museum was truly memorable. The exhibitions and programming drew in enthusiastic audiences of all ages from near and far. This enthusiasm inspires us to continue the momentum, bringing us from season to season with the overarching goal of bringing great art and culture to our region and beyond.
We opened the season in April with beloved children’s book characters Elephant Gerald and Piggie from the award-winning early reader series, Elephant & Piggie. The exhibition, Elephant & Piggie in We Are Art! featured a selection of author Mo Willems’s original illustrations from all 25 Elephant & Piggie books as well as a special area to sit and read some of your favorites.
The season was highlighted by the exhibition Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits, organized by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in association with the Herb Ritts Foundation, featuring photographs of rock & roll icons including David Bowie, U2, Cher, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Madonna and many more. Also combining the love of art and music, the Fenimore exhibited Perfect Harmony: The Musical Art & Life of William Sidney Mount. Mount’s passion for both art and music was featured in this exhibit which included oil paintings, pencil drawings, musical instruments, and related objects.
In the Fall, the museum highlighted the photographs of photography pioneer Duane Michals in the exhibit Duane Michals: The Portraitist, the first comprehensive overview of portraits by one of the medium’s most influential artists. Our Hamilton’s Final Act: Enemies and Allies exhibition continued in conjunction with a brand new publication from the Fenimore, Your Obedient Servant: The Letters of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr, authored by Douglas Ambrose, Ph.D. This fully-illustrated book focuses on the museum’s collection of thirty-five letters exchanged between Hamilton, Burr and their seconds leading up to their fatal duel on July 11, 1804. Ten of these letters were also on view in the 2019 Hamilton’s Final Act exhibition.
Our educational programming was as strong as ever in 2019, led by our Preschool Tuesdays program where we invited young children and their caregivers into the Museum for special programming every week. Our focus on engaging youth has proven that families have been returning more frequently than ever before. Our Education department continued its acclaimed performing arts program in our Lucy B. Hamilton Amphitheater with performances in July and August including, William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Our popular Food for Thought lecture series, a crowd favorite, returned and our workshop offerings included painting classes, the art of papercutting, photography excursions, a create-your-own holiday card workshop, and much more. We continued working hard to engage visitors throughout the museum with the new MORECards and our Art Carts.
We have committed to making our collections available not just to those who walk through our doors, but also those working to access the collections remotely. The Research Library maintained its dedication to special collections and made rare books accessible to the public at large, while also expanding its reach through regional partnerships and digitization grants. A very important project to photograph and digitize the folk and fine art collections is underway, making them accessible to the public, researchers and museum professionals far and wide. This undertaking will allow for more accessibility to our collection by the end of 2020 — one of the nation’s largest and finest.
As always, none of this would have been possible in 2019 without the talented and dedicated staff and volunteers, our highly committed Board of Trustees, and our generous donors, members, and visitors. Thank you!
PAUL S. D’AMBROSIO, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Fenimore Art Museum
Preserving – Engaging – Educating
Fenimore Art Museum is dedicated to welcoming and connecting people to our shared cultural heritage through exhibitions and programs that engage, delight, and inspire.
OFFICERS, DIRECTORS & SENIOR STAFF
Jeffrey H. Pressman, M.D., Chairman
Thomas O. Putnam, Vice Chairman
Paul S. D’Ambrosio, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer
Joseph Siracusa, Vice President for Operations
Richard C. Vanison, Treasurer
Alexander R. Charlton, Secretary
Stephen M. Duff, Assistant Treasurer
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Stephen M. Duff
Douglas E. Evelyn
Robert S. Hanft
Josef E. Jelinek
Charles B. Kieler
Doris Fischer Malesardi
Anne G. Older
Jeffrey H. Pressman
Thomas O. Putnam
Richard C. Vanison
Henry F. C. Weil
SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM
Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio, President and Chief Executive Officer
Joseph Siracusa, Vice President for Operations
Barbara Fischer, Senior Director for Human Resources and Accounting
Todd A. Kenyon, Director of Marketing and Communications
Chris Rossi, Director of Exhibitions
John Ferguson, Director of Education