History Lecture Series: The Story of Famous Artists School and its Connecticut Roots – Stephanie Haboush Plunkett and Magdalen Livesey


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In this presentation, Stephanie Haboush Plunkett and Magdalen Livesey will look at the lasting influence of the Famous Artists School and the artists who contributed to it on the world of illustration from the twentieth century until today. Famous Artists School – “the art school for everyone, everywhere” – began in 1948 in Westport, then home to a number of well-known artists and illustrators. Al Dorne, a prolific illustrator, had the idea to create an art instruction program for distance learning based on the techniques and experience of other successful artists. Eleven artists, including Norman Rockwell and Stevan Dohanos, contributed material for the comprehensive courses.

Stephanie Haboush Plunkett is the Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum. She leads the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, the first scholarly institute devoted to the study of illustration art. Magdalen Livesey is a writer and freelance editor, and the co-author, with Stephanie Plunkett, of Drawing Lessons from the Famous Artists School. She and her husband, Robert Livesey, owned Famous Artists School from 1982 to 2016.

The moderator is Steve Hudspeth. The program is sponsored by Dr. Mark and Linda Rubinstein. This program is being hosted by Wilton Library. A $10 donation to the hosting institution is suggested.

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The 2021 History Lecture Series

The History Lecture Series is an annual collaboration between the Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society. Each year a theme is developed, and respected scholars are engaged to provide a lively, thought-provoking talk on their specialty subject. The lecture is followed by a question and answer period and reception. Generous sponsors make it all possible; each lecture is individually sponsored.

‘Connecticut Creativity: Vision + Imagination + Inspiration’