Winter Speaker Series 2022 Subscription

Subscribe to the Series & enjoy one lecture free!

January 29, 2022 2:00 pm In person at the Museum, and Virtually on Zoom

Saturdays, January 29 – March 5, 2022 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 to educate, illuminate, delight and inspire. This Series, incredibly its 94th year, promises engaging conversations around the current political climate, the timeliness and relevance of wind technology, the joy and exuberance of Yayoi Kusama’s sculptures in nature, acclaimed architectural designs by celebrated Black architects, a vicarious trip along the Iditarod race trail, and a historic look at the role of artists during times of global pandemics.

Because our audience has expanded far and wide, the 2022 series will be held in person at the Museum AND streamed live via Zoom, ensuring that this year’s thought-provoking talks will be accessible to you, wherever you happen to be!

UPDATE: LIMITED IN-PERSON Subscriptions are available.

You may also join us VIRTUALLY! All Lectures will also 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, generously provided by Pranzi Catering.

PLEASE NOTE: Proof of vaccination will be required at check-in for all IN-PERSON guests. Masks must also be worn inside at all times except for actively eating and drinking. 

Meet Our Speakers

This talk will be Virtual ONLY, due to snow.

January 29: Darrell West

Vice President and Director of Governance Studies, Brookings Institute
“The National Political Scene Now”

The 94th Annual Winter Speaker Series launches with the ever-engaging Darrell West, whose position at the Brookings Institute affords him access to the National political scene from the inside. He will discuss the current political climate with an eye towards the 2022 midterm elections. What are the issues, candidates, and prospects? How will Trump’s influence impact the campaigns? How will the Biden administration’s record with regards to the many domestic and international challenges hold up under scrutiny, and how should voters prepare themselves for the coming year?

February 5: Karen Daubmann

Former Vice President of Exhibitions and Audience Engagement at The New York Botanical Garden
“Cosmic Nature”

This summer, The New York Botanical Garden featured spectacular installations of Yayoi Kusama’s multifaceted art, including monumental floral sculptures that transformed NYBG’s 250-acre landmark landscape. Contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is one of the most popular artists in the world, drawing millions to experience her immersive installations – few know of her lifelong fascination with the natural world, beginning with her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery. Her artistic concepts of obliteration, infinity, and eternity are inspired by her intimate engagement with the colors, patterns, and life cycles of plants and flowers. Take a look behind-the-scenes at the planning and mounting of this monumental exhibition and learn more about some of the other intriguing installations that have helped to connect garden visitors to the world of plants.

February 12: Matthew Lackner

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Wind Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
“Offshore Wind Turbines and the Future of Power Generation”

As the move to decarbonize electricity production gains momentum, wind power, especially from offshore wind turbines, has the potential to significantly increase renewable energy generation in the Northeast. Dr. Matthew Lackner of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, an expert in the physics and engineering of offshore wind turbines, provides an informed and accessible view of future developments and the complex technological advantages and challenges of this energy source. He will discuss the technology itself, including recent advances that have vastly increased the power generation capacity of offshore wind turbines, as well as the technical, physical, ecological, and even political challenges facing integration of expanding wind power into the grid.

February 19: Peter Cook

Design Principal at HGA Architects & Engineers, AIA, NOMA
“From Julian Francis Abele to the National Museum of African American History and Culture”

Julian Francis Abele (1881-1950) was one of America’s most accomplished architects. Abele was the first African American graduate of both the University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, became chief designer at the established firm of Horace Trumbauer in 1909, and was inducted into the American Institute of Architects in 1942. His projects included the design of an incredible 39 buildings for the newly established Duke University, a university that segregation would have prevented him from attending. Abele’s accomplishments and influence as an architect paved the way for an untold number of architects of color, including his direct descendent, acclaimed architect Peter Cook. Cook will discuss the influence of some of the nation’s leading African American designers—from Abele’s remarkable legacy to the talented J. Max Bond, Jr.— that has helped shape his own career and award-winning projects such as the unparalleled Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. 

February 26: Dr. Jack Civic

‘The Iditarod, The Last Great Race on Earth”

The Iditarod sled dog race covers approximately 1000 miles of rugged Alaskan territory from Anchorage to Nome. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, the race was started in 1973 to preserve, promote and save the legacy of the Alaskan Husky. Each year 55-75 teams of 14 dogs from Alaska and all over the world take part in this epic and extreme race. We’ll hear a first-hand account from the perspective of a two-time race veterinarian. Enjoy an inside look at the Iditarod, the tremendous athleticism of the Alaskan Huskies and their unbridled desire to run, and the deep emotional bond between musher and dog.

March 5: Sheila Barker

Director of the Jane Fortune Research Program at the Medici Archive Project
“The Artist and the Plague: Stories of Terror, Empathy, and Miracles from the Black Death to the Naples Plague (1347–1656)”

The second great plague pandemic, which recurred cyclically in Europe, Africa and Asia from the 14th century to the 19th century, decimated populations and made a deep impact on the cultures and institutions of the civilizations it struck most frequently. Because science could not provide any cure for the disease, the survival of a population required massive societal adaptations at nearly every level. Artists rose to the challenge. They participated in both the acclimation to the constancy of danger and the call to overcome the fear of contact with victims by means of images that interpreted the plagues in order to guide responses to the plagues of the future.

Become a Member and Save!

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

Sincere Thanks to our Generous Supporters:

Series Sponsors:

Joan Abrams
Lockett Ford Ballard, Jr.
Johanna and Ronald Becker
Angela and Edwin Fischer, The Hope Foundation
Island Carpet Tile & Hardwoods
Mary Jennings
Linda McGoldrick
Santiago Neville
Edwina Sebest
Cynthia Sinclair


Linda Jenkins
Susan and Bob Kieronski
Kathleen Shinners

Catering and Speaker Accommodations:

Winter Speaker Series Committee

Johanna Becker, Chairwoman
Cristin Searles Bilodeau, Director of Community Engagement
Eleanor Doumato
Anne DuBose Joslin
Susan Kieronski
Santiago Neville
Kathleen Shinners