The Newport Art Museum today announced that their annual Winter Speaker Series will return on Saturday, January 23rd for its 93rd season.

The series will include six lectures on a variety of topics and will run Saturdays at 2 pm, January 23 – February 27, virtually on Zoom.

Returning speaker Darrell West of The Brookings Institution will kick off the series with his talk, “Politics 2021: Challenges Facing the Next Administration.” Other topics include climate change and sustainability, the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts & Crafts movement, legendary African American artist Romare Bearden, the art and science of origami, and how DNA testing is challenging our understanding of family, ethnicity, and identity.

Each virtual lecture will be followed by remote question and answer with the speakers. Sponsors of the series include Johanna and Ronald Becker, Cynthia Sinclair, Kathleen Shinners and Santiago Neville. 

Tickets to the Winter Speaker Series are now on sale and available at For individual lectures, tickets are $15 ($10 for Newport Art Museum members). Those who wish to attend the entire series can purchase a series subscription for $75 ($50 for Museum members), which provides access to six lectures for the price of five. 

New this year, books authored by many of our 2021 Winter Speaker Series presenters, or directly related to the lectures are available for purchase from the Museum’s website LINK (tax, shipping and author-signed bookplates included.) You do not have to be a Winter Speaker Series lecture participant to purchase a book. 

More About The Speakers

January 23 at 2 pm:
Darrell West
Vice President, Senior Fellow and Douglas Dillon Chair in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution
Politics 2021: Challenges Facing the Next Administration

The 93rd Annual Winter Speaker Series launches with the ever-engaging Darrell West, whose position at the Brookings Institution affords him access to the National political scene from the inside. How will the incoming Biden/Harris administration manage the pandemic, respond to social unrest, and remedy broadly felt economic hardship, all at a time when the country remains so sharply divided?

Darrell West’s 2019 book Divided Politics, Divided Nation, which examines the United States’ current partisan hyper-conflict and the need to bridge the divide in order to solve the country’s pressing policy problems and protect our democracy, is available for purchase online for $27.00.

January 30 at 2 pm:
Susan Solomon

Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Science, MIT
Three Environmental Success Stories and What They Tell Us About Climate Change

Environmental success stories DO EXIST and change has been achieved through a combination of science, public policy, industry participation, and the engagement of citizens. Solomon, recipient of the nation’s highest scientific honor, the US National Medal of Science, will reveal lessons learned that provide key guidance for addressing today’s environmental challenges, ensuring our sustainable future. 

February 6 at 2 pm:
Timothy Barringer

Paul Mellon Professor and Chair of the Department of the History of Art at Yale University
Curating Victorian Radicals: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts Movement Today

“Victorian Radical”? It sounds hyperbolic, but for artists in Victorian Britain who confronted questions raised by the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century, it was an apt moniker. They spoke out against mass production, pollution, climate change and social issues in congested cities, and their solutions often centered on ideas of beauty that recalled a time when material objects reflected society’s values.

The Yale Exhibition catalogue Victorian Radicals: from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement by Timothy Barringer, Martin Ellis and Victoria Osborne, in which a full spectrum of the Victorian avant-garde is in magnificent display, is available for purchase online for $48.00. 

February 13 at 2 pm:
Diedra Harris-Kelley

Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation
Romare Bearden: Artist of the African-American Experience

Artist Romare Bearden was best known for innovative collages depicting scenes of African American life and culture, though he was also an activist, author, educator, baseball player, armed serviceman, song writer, and social case worker. His paintings are replete with references to music, literature, religion, and classical artistic periods, a reflection of the fact that he was primarily raised in a Harlem pulsing with the unmistakable energy of the Harlem Renaissance.

Two books on Romare Bearden are available for purchase in conjunction with Ms. Harris-Kelley’s talk. Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series by Stephanie Mayer Heydt, Robert G. O’Meally, Rachael Z. DeLue, and Paul Devlin is the catalogue for the High Museum of Atlanta’s current exhibition on Bearden ($40.00) and The Romare Bearden Reader, edited by Robert O’Meally, a collection of new essays and canonical writings that contextualize Bearden’s career within the history of modern art ($30.00).

February 20 at 2 pm:

Thomas Hull

Professor, Department of Mathematics, Western New England University
Origami: Where Art, Math and Science Meet

Origami, the art of paper folding, has been practiced in Japan and all over the world for centuries. This ancient art has proven an invaluable tool for high tech modern applications – robotics, airbag design, deployment of space structures, and even medicine. When the National Science Foundation invests millions of dollars towards studying engineering and science applications of origami art, you know it’s serious.

February 27 at 2 pm:
Libby Copeland

Author and Journalist
The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Has Changed Our Understanding of Family, Ethnicity, and Identity

The cultural phenomenon of at-home DNA testing is not only an industry worth billions, with over 35 million people tested, it has also unearthed many family “surprises”, challenging the concepts of family, ethnicity, and identity. Copeland will unravel these implications – how we think about who we are, where we are from, and what defines family.

Journalist Copeland’s investigation into what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment with little understanding of the ramifications, a thoroughly modern detective story, The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Art, is available for purchase online for $25.00.

For more information, visit