Frederick Law Olmsted, oil painting by John Singer Sargent, 1895, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina

The year 2022 marks the bi-centennial of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, the “father of landscape architecture and the designer of countless parks, estates and civic landscapes throughout the United States”. 

Newport Garden Club this week announced that it will present a yearlong celebration of Olmsted in 2022, including lectures, an exhibit at the Newport Art Museum, and even a birthday party, complete with cake.

“Newport, RI is really ground zero for Olmsted’s work,” said Jane Carey, chief organizer for the celebration in a statement.  “We wanted to bring attention to the huge influence Olmsted and later, his sons’ firm, had on the way Newport looks today.” 

The Newport Garden Club has gathered a group of local partners for this project, including the Newport Art Museum, Newport Historical Society, Newport Tree Conservancy, the Preservation Society of Newport County and Salve Regina University.  The April and September lectures are co-sponsored by The Blue Garden/Hamilton Family Charitable Trust. 

The schedule is as follows:

Lecture Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Arleyn Levee, author of The Blue Garden: Recapturing an Iconic Newport Landscape, will lecture on Olmsted. “Planning for Beauty and Wise Development: The Olmsted Legacy in Newport.” The lecture will be at 6 p.m. at Salve Regina University, at the Antone Academic Center, in the DiStefano Lecture Hall, 56 Lawrence Avenue. Free and open to the Public. 

Birthday Party Tuesday, April 26, 2022 

Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th Birthday Celebration, Rain or shine, at 11 a.m. in Morton Park, Coggeshall and Morton Avenues. Newport Tree Conservancy will give a brief talk and tree walk. We will be planting a tree and serving birthday cake. Free and open to the public. 

Exhibition Saturday, April 23 to Sunday, July 24 

Newport Art Museum exhibition, in the Studio Gallery, Olmsted in Newport, curated and researched by the Newport Garden Club Olmsted Committee. Admission fee. 

Lecture Thursday, September 15, 2022 

Sara Zewde, principal of Studio Zewde and professor of landscape architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design will lecture on Frederick Law Olmsted’s Cotton Kingdom, dispatches from his travels through the antebellum South. The lecture will be at 6 p.m. at Salve Regina University, at the O’Hare Academic Center, in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall, 100 Ochre Point Avenue. Free and open to the public.

The Newport Garden Club is one of the oldest garden clubs in the country and is a member of the Garden Club of America, which is sponsoring numerous Olmsted events through the year through its member clubs.