Scientists are not the only ones working in the forest this summer at the Newcomb Campus of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). Artist Frances Gaffney, who frequently uses the Adirondacks as a backdrop and source of inspiration, is the first artist in residence at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC), the site of public outreach at the Newcomb Campus. She will work out of the AIC through August, creating pieces inspired by the local landscape and leading public workshops and demonstrations.
Gaffney has recently begun a series of paintings titled “Feeling is the Prayer”. As detailed in her artist statement, these paintings reflect the possibility that “our intentions are a form of prayer and that prayer succeeds only by experiencing the intent of the prayer as if it has already occurred.” She will work on this series during her residency at the AIC.
In addition to working on her series, Gaffney will interact with the public throughout the summer. The program kicked off during the AIC’s annual Loons and Logs Day May 24, a daylong celebration of the spring migration and log drives as touchstones for learning the human and natural history of the Adirondack Park. Gaffney will also work along the trails every Sunday; guests are encouraged to stop by, chat and observe Gaffney as she works. For those wishing to explore their own artistic skills, Gaffney will lead monthly art workshops in which participants can develop and improve their drawing and watercolor skills.
Gaffney’s work is a continuation of a long history of artists working on the Huntington Wildlife Forest, the 15,000-acre property that encompasses the Newcomb Campus. With pristine lakes, bountiful wildlife and mountains on the horizon, the forest has been inspiring artists for years. The Huntington Wildlife Forest was donated to ESF in 1932 and 1939 by Archer and Anna Huntington. Anna Hyatt Huntington was a widely known sculptor in the early- and mid-1900s and had a studio on the property where she studied wild and captive animals, including exotic deer that were kept in a large enclosure right outside of the studio. Her work can be found throughout the eastern United States, including Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina and Central Park in New York City. “Young Abe Lincoln on Horseback”, a sculpture ESF students walk by everyday on the main campus in Syracuse, was crafted by Anna Hyatt Huntington.
For more information on this summer’s Artist-in-Residence program, including the art workshops, visit www.esf.edu/aic.