American Studies: Late 19th and Early 20th Century Regionalism in American Literature, Art and Culture; winter & spring term, 2009-2010.

Bill Sullivan @ Suffield Academy

This course will illuminate American intellectual and cultural history of late 19th and early 20th century as a way to celebrate the artistic life of Suffield Academy’s alumnus artist, Willis Seaver Adams (1844-1921). Though he painted a portrait of Rutherford B. Hayes, Adams was a landscape painter whose primary focus after returning from Europe was the Pioneer Valley. Cultivating a sophistication for regionalism, students will read a core selection of American regionalist: Mark Twain, Sarah O. Jewett, and Willa Cather. Henry James and additional selections of Twain will also inform students about the trans-Atlantic movement, which also developed Adams’ artistic sensibilities. Along with some traditional analytical essays, multi-media projects will help students develop an appreciation for the artistic movements in this interesting era of American culture. Nevertheless, this course will essentially be an opportunity for students to refine their collaboration skills as a majority of the assessments will be based on group work. Using a project based learning approach, students will collaborate on creating and installing an art show exhibiting works of Adams at the Pinney Gallery at Kent Memorial library for the month of April in 2010. The class will create an interdisciplinary context for the exhibit and incorporate extensive primary source documents from the local historical society as well as a few from Suffield Academy’s archives. Students will ultimately have the opportunity to display fluency with this course’s topics when they host an opening night program for the art exhibit as well as several tours to school groups and other interested parties. The class will also put on a program for the Suffield Historical Society on April 7th at the Kent Memorial Library to explain what they learn and how they learn it. For more details: The exhibit will then travel to The King House for the summer months.

NB: here's a pdf of our April 7, 2010 Presentation to the .

Click on the KML Webpage for a short biography of Willis Seaver Adams

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