The Newport Art Museum today announced its 2023 Winter Speaker Series.

The Series begins on Saturday, January 21, 2023, with returning speaker Darrell West of the Brookings Institution and his talk, “Deciphering the Political Environment.” The Series continues for 5 additional Saturdays through February 25, 2023, with all lectures taking place at the Museum at 2 pm. To ensure the lectures are accessible to as broad an audience as possible, Newport Art Museum says that audience members will also have the ability to join them virtually,  and lecture recordings will be available.

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 in its 95th year, promises engaging conversations on a variety of topics. From the halls of government and the current political scene to the mysteries of the universe, from actor Anthony Quinn’s artistic life and legacy to the compelling story of Belle da Costa Greene, the first curator of the J. P. Morgan Library, we’ll take a vicarious trip to Florence Italy, and a quiet walk in the woods.

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

The Newport Art Museum provided the following information and background on each of the upcoming talks.

January 21: Darrell West
Vice President and Senior Fellow of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution
“Deciphering the Political Environment”

The United States faces a difficult situation both in terms of domestic and foreign policy. At home, inflation remains stubbornly high, there are conflicts over abortion, government spending, and climate change, and people are divided about basic goals and priorities. Globally, the Ukraine War continues and there are worries about the role of China in the international system. In this talk, Darrell West of the Brookings Institution will decipher the current political environment and discuss what lies ahead for Congress and the country as a whole. He will analyze political divisions and how the nation can deal with its pressing problems.

January 28: Monica Young
News Editor, Sky & Telescope Magazine
“The Art & Science of the James Webb Space Telescope”

The James Webb Space Telescope is a feat of engineering and a long-awaited stride forward in many areas of astronomy. Communicating these advances to the public might seem easy when the space telescope is sending down awe-inspiring images of newborn stars, tenuous dust, and distant galaxies nearly every day. But these images are not showing visible light — they’re taken at infrared wavelengths — and there are many decisions made behind the scenes in order to convey the data in a meaningful way. We will take a deep dive into some of the beautiful images and other data coming from Webb to learn about the birth of new stars today and the dawn of galaxies long ago.

February 4: Rocky Ruggerio, Ph.D.
Art History Professor and Italian Renaissance Expert
“Brunelleschi’s Basilica: The Building of Santo Spirito in Florence”

Brunelleschi’s Basilica of Santo Spirito in Florence, Italy, is one of the defining architectural works of the Renaissance. The building of this great church was a perfect historical storm – a celebrity architect, who was bordering on apotheosis as he neared the completion of the dome of Florence cathedral; a district of well-known, wealthy and competitive patrons hoping to assert themselves and their families through chapel patronage within the church; an uncertain architectural inheritance left by Brunelleschi upon his death; strong-minded and hard-willed successors of the architect at the worksite; and citywide factionalism championing and repudiating Brunelleschi’s alleged design intentions for the church. In this lecture, Dr. Rocky will untangle this web of artistic and historical factors that contributed to shaping Santo Spirito based on the findings of his recent book “Brunelleschi’s Basilica: The Building of Santo Spirito in Florence.”

February 11:  Philip Palmer, Ph.D.
Robert H. Taylor Curator and Department Head, Literary and Historical Manuscripts, The Morgan Library & Museum
“Belle da Costa Greene: A Librarian’s Legacy”

Belle da Costa Greene (1879–1950) was one of the most prominent librarians in American history. She ran the Morgan Library for forty-three years—initially as the private librarian of J. Pierpont Morgan and then his son, Jack, and later as the inaugural director of the Pierpont Morgan Library (now the Morgan Library & Museum). Not only did Greene build one of the most important collections of rare books and manuscripts in the United States, but she also transformed an exclusive private collection into a major public resource, originating the robust program of exhibitions, lectures, publications, and research services that continues today.

The Morgan Library & Museum will open a major retrospective exhibition on Belle Greene in the fall of 2024. The show’s curatorial lead, Philip S. Palmer, will speak about Greene’s storied life and career, from her roots in a predominantly Black community in Washington, D.C., to her distinguished career at the helm of one of the world’s great research libraries. Philip will preview a selection of objects appearing in the show, discuss two projects related to Belle Greene’s letters, and explore her enduring legacy as a cultural heritage executive.

February 18: Gary Casabona
Wildlife Biologist
“Creating and Managing Habitat for Native Bees and Monarch Butterfly”

Did you know that biologists estimate there are over 200 different species of native bees in Rhode Island? Gary Casabona’s talk will cover the life cycles of several native bee families and the Monarch butterfly along with their relationships with native plants for pollen, nectar, and nesting sites. The talk will emphasize recommendations on the best native shrubs and herbaceous plants to support our declining species of pollinators as well as practical advice on site prep, seeding, and habitat maintenance. Gary will also discuss the value of some of the recommended plant species for other wildlife, including migratory songbirds.

February 25: Katherine Quinn
Founder and President of the Anthony Quinn Foundation
“The Creative Genius of Anthony Quinn. Searching for Self, Love, and Permanence through Art”

Anthony Quinn was a complex man who was no stranger to extreme poverty and prejudice. He lost his father in a tragic accident at a young age and for financial reasons was never able to complete high school. Despite the challenging circumstances, he went on to become one of the most recognized actors of his time. Less known was his extraordinary talent as an artist. He sketched from a very young age and aspired to become a great architect. Although life took him down a different career path, creating artwork remained his first love. Over the years he made hundreds of drawings and paintings and then in his 50’s, he began sculpting, during his struggle to find the essence of the character of Zorba. Making art was not a hobby for him – it was a need that came from the deepest part of his soul. Sometimes it tormented him and other times it gave him solace.  Either way, it kept him grounded and helped him work through some of his most complicated emotional struggles. In this presentation, Katherine will share stories of Anthony Quinn’s life as an artist along with images of his work and photos from his creative archives.

Season subscriptions are available now for $100 ($75 for Museum Members), which provides subscribers access to all six lectures for the price of five.) Tickets to individual lectures are $20 ($15 for Museum Members) and will be available for purchase beginning on December 12, 2022.

The Newport Art Museum is located at 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI.
Visit or call 401-848-8200 for details.