Wendell Minor, "The Round Barn" 1997

Wendell Minor, “The Round Barn,” 1997. Illustration for “Shaker Hearts” by Ann Turner, HarperCollins Publishers (1997), David R. Godine (2002), Acrylic on masonite. ©Wendell Minor. All rights reserved.

Founded by Ann Lee at the end of the eighteenth century, the Shaker communities were some of the most successful utopian communities in America. This Saturday, March 15, 5 p.m., we welcome author/historian Sharon Koomler, who will as explore the cultural contributions of the Shakers—from the 1700s to the present day. The talk is being presented as part of our “Great Americans” series, bringing historical figures and themes from the exhibition, Wendell Minor’s America to life. A series of illustrations Minor created for author Ann Turner’s 1997 picture book, Shaker Hearts are included in the exhibit, on view at Norman Rockwell Museum through May 26, 2014.

“When preparing to do research for Shaker Hearts, the first image that came to my mind was the fabulous round stone barn at Hancock  Shaker Village (HSV) in Pittsfield,” notes artist Wendell Minor.  “I have long been fascinated by the Shaker esthetic, with their simplicity of design, use of light in their structures and dedication to developing the finest of craft through hard work.  Although their Utopian society was limited in time by a changing world, their legacy and contributions live on through their craft, great design and their inventions that subscribed to the phrase ‘form follows function.”

Wendell Minor, "Dance Our Joy," 1997

Wendell Minor, “Dance Our Joy,” 1997. Illustration for “Shaker Hearts” by Ann Turner, HarperCollins Publishers (1997), David R. Godine (2002), Acrylic on masonite. ©Wendell Minor. All rights reserved.

Minor adds that “Todd Burdick, the Director of Interpretation and Public Programs (at HSV) was very helpful in arranging photo shoots at the Village through all four seasons of a year.  He arranged model shoots with the docents in costume to enable me to create sketches and ultimately the paintings that appear in the book Shaker Hearts.  The Shakers remain an important part of our American story. Their contributions to our history and culture are timeless.”

Saturday’s talk is presented in partnership with the Shaker Museum and Library in Mount Lebanon, New York, with a book signing and refreshments to follow. Admission to the event costs $10 for adults ($6 for Museum members), and $5 for children 12 and under. Reservations recommended by contacting the Museum at 413.931.2221.

View more photos from Wendell Minor’s Shaker Hearts on our Facebook page

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