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Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Colony

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Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Colony

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1CV014
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Founded in 1903, the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony was born out of the late 19th century’s Arts and Crafts movement and a passion for building a utopian community with like-minded writers, poets, painters, and craftspeople. Curator and author Nancy Green explores how Byrdcliffe began as a community of talented artists and artisans, students and teachers, and their commitment to the goals of joy and fulfillment in their labors and an appreciation of a simple aesthetic harnessed to a simple lifestyle.

Located in Woodstock, New York, overlooking the scenic Catskills, Byrdcliffe was an idealistic venture founded by Ralph and Jane Byrd McCall Whitehead and two friends, Bolton Brown and Hervey White where artists could train and acquire practical skills. The colony was intended to be self-sufficient through the sale of furniture, ceramics, and weavings. Accommodations on the campus were simple but homey and the spiritual and healthful benefits of living within beautiful surroundings were emphasized. Between 1903 and Ralph Whitehead's death in 1929, many people came to Byrdcliffe, including writers Charlotte Perkins Gilman and John Burroughs; painters Hermann Dudley Murphy, Carl Lindin, Birge Harrison, and John Carlson; metalworkers Bertha Thompson and Laurin H. Martin; and designers Harry Michie, Zulma Steele, and Edna Walker.

Green, the former Gale and Ira Drukier curator of European and American art, prints, and drawings, 1800–1945, at Cornell's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, has authored several books, including Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Colony.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

General Information

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.