Winter Speaker Series 2024 Subscription: Virtual

January 13, 2024 2:00 pm In person at the Museum, and Virtually on Vimeo

Welcome to the 96th Annual Winter Speaker Series! Subscribe & enjoy one lecture free!

Saturdays, January 13 – February 17, 2024 at 2 pm

Since 1928, the Winter Speaker Series has been a cornerstone of the Newport Art Museum’s annual programming. Each year the Winter Speaker Series Committee and Museum staff curate this series to reflect the ideas of our times and to educate, illuminate, delight and inspire. This Series, incredibly in its 96th year, promises engaging conversations on a variety of topics. From the halls of government and the current political scene to the work of a heralded Indigenous artist, exceptional yet unknown designers and an astounding blind pianist, and the critical scientific work identifying solutions to dementia, the winter is full of inspiration and illumination.

Held in person at the Museum AND live-streamed on Vimeo, our thought-provoking talks will be accessible to you, wherever you happen to be!

All Lectures will be recorded for later viewing by subscribers and ticket holders.

Each lecture will be followed by audience Q&A, and continued conversation in the galleries over hot tea, coffee, scrumptious light fare, and desserts.

Meet Our Speakers

January 13: Darrell West

Senior Fellow in the Governance Studies program at the Brookings Institution
“Will The 2024 Election Be Decided by Disinformation?”

The 2024 elections loom as one of the most important elections in recent memory. There are many issues on the table such as inflation, foreign policy, the Ukraine war, the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, border security, and democracy itself. With new technologies enabling disinformation on a grand scale, and persistent problems of polarization and extremism, how will voters decide which factors will influence their decisions. All this raises important questions about the future of the countryand things to watch in the coming year. Darrell West will analyze these topics in the lead up to this critical campaign.

January 20: John Davis

“Searching for Blind Tom”

“Pianist John Davis has made a mission of uncovering music by 19th century Black pianists, including enslaved persons, whose work had a direct impact on the blues, jazz, rock and R&B artists that came in their wake…” (Time Out New York). Join John for a lecture and performance about his quest to unearth the forgotten keyboard works of the once-enslaved musician and America’s first Black superstar performer, Thomas Wiggins.

Image: John Halpern

January 27: Wayne Strattman

Plasma Artist
“Plasma: Venturing into Art Made with the 4th State of Matter”

For four decades Strattman has been making art with the Universe’s most dominant and visible state of matter: Plasma. Encompassing the skills of the glassblower, the disciplines of the physicist, and the sensibilities of a sculptor, he’s worked to create multilayered meaningfulness in his lighted works, combining the elements of glass, gas, and electricity.  This unique art form intimately unites the worlds of art and science, providing insights and inspirations from both.

Image: Wayne Strattman, Fiction Science, plasma, glass

February 3:  Matthew Bird

Designer, curator, historian
“Who Really Designed the Things We Use?”

Who made our stuff? We’re drawn to the simplicity of a single name, a design hero. But creating is a team sport! By listing one designer on a museum label, or teaching the art and design history of a limited canon of mostly male, mostly white creators, we miss the scores of invisible, underrepresented and unheralded designers who created in anonymity with no expectation of renown. Educator and design historian Matthew Bird will weave the connections and contrasts between iconic designs and anonymous objects, famous designers with ones you’ve never heard of, and illuminate the hands and histories behind the humble everyday objects we rely upon everyday.

February 10: Caitlin Chaisson

Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City
“The Interdisciplinary Artist: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith”

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith has been challenging dominant narratives of art and history since the mid-1970s and is one of the most significant artists working today. Her interdisciplinary practice includes painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture, and Smith’s influence reaches across the visual arts through her teaching, curating, and tireless advocacy. A citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, Smith’s artwork is grounded in her upbringing and beliefs, inspiring dialogues around important issues of land, consumerism, governance, and Indigenous self-determination. In the spring of 2023, the Whitney organized its first ever major retrospective of an Indigenous artist, and Chaisson, a member of the curatorial team, will discuss the transformative power of Smith’s practice.

Image: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Indian Drawing Lesson (after Leonardo), 1993. Oil, acrylic, paper, newspaper, fabric, pastel, and charcoal on canvas: two panels, 60 x 100 in. (152.4 x 254 cm) overall. Collection of the artist; courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York. © Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

February 17: Dr. Reisa Sperling

Professor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment (CART) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital
“Hope for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease”

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of cognitive impairment and dementia in people over the age of 60. Roughly one out of every three people over the age of 80 will die with some form of dementia unless we change the course of this disease. Alzheimer’s disease is thought to begin in the brain, with the build-up of amyloid plaques and tau tangles, more than two decades before people develop dementia. The good news is that we can now detect evidence of amyloid and tau early with brain scans and even blood tests. Dr. Reisa Sperling will discuss the current state of knowledge in Alzheimer’s disease and what she hopes for the future.

Become a Member and Save!

Among many benefits, Museum members save on Winter Speaker Series tickets.

Thank You to Our Generous Supporters:

Presenting Sponsor

Series Sponsors

Johanna Becker
Dr. Joe Chazan
Mary Jennings
Susan and Bob Kieronski
Chas Miller & Birch Coffey
Santiago & Maureen Neville
Edwina Sebest
Cynthia Sinclair

Series Supporters

Eleanor Doumato

Speaker Accommodations

Catering Sponsor

Winter Speaker Series Committee

Johanna Becker, Chair
Cristin Searles Bilodeau, Director of Community Engagement
Eleanor Doumato
Joseph Gallichio
Toni Green
Susan Kieronski
Santiago Neville