The Irish and the Human Condition

Irish American Heritage Museum Debuts
“THE IRISH AND THE HUMAN CONDITION”

Art is Life —IMG_3521

The Irish American Heritage Museum, in conjunction with historic St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands, NY, announced a Grand Opening Reception Saturday, February 1, from 3 to 5 p.m., for the debut of a unique exhibit, “The Irish and the Human Condition” developed by Capital Region artists Roy Stevens, Susan Beadle, and Kevin Morgan.  “The Irish and the Human Condition” will be on display in the Museum’s newly dedicated The Hogarty Family Exhibit Hall and in the Trustco Bank Gallery, Wednesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 12 noon to 4 p.m., through March at the Museum, 370 Broadway, Albany, NY.

The suggested donations for admission are: $3 adults, $2 seniors and free for children 14 years of age and younger.  Museum Memberships are also available upon entry.  Donations and memberships help fund the Museum’s educational programs.

Human Condition

“The Irish and the Human Condition” captures the intellectual, spiritual and economic journey of Irish Americans and charts the many ways in which Irish culture both shaped and melded with American culture.  A collection of photographs, paintings, stained glass and objects are displayed as a pictorial narrative to reflect the human condition through things we can all understand and appreciate.  The external life is represented by photographs of structures – churches, schools and industry – all established or heavily dominated by Irish people. The internal journey is spiritual.  Gilded Icons of Irish Saints and intricately designed stained glass on exhibit are physical manifestations of the spirituality deeply steeped in Irish traditions.  Both the external and internal aspects of the human condition as it relates to Irish heritage are bridged together through art.

“The Irish American Heritage Museum is honored to present this visually stunning exhibit that reflects the tremendous influence Irish culture and heritage have had on American life,” explained Ryan Mahoney, the Museum’s Executive Director.  “We have been a year in planning and developing this exciting exhibit with the artists and Ms. Kelly Grimaldi, St. Agnes Cemetery Historian; Elizabeth Dubben, Director of Exhibits at Saratoga Art, and; the Watervliet Historical Society and Museum.  Nowhere else can visitors experience the collective impact of Irish-themed art such as is on display in ‘The Irish and the Human Condition’.”

Guest Curator Kelly Grimaldi further explained: “What began as a relatively simple concept for an art exhibit that started with an art appreciation tour I gave highlighting, among many other things, beautiful stained glass works in St. Agnes Cemetery, grew into what we see here now.  The idea to feature art, life and the heritage of Irish Americans could not remain a simple concept because nothing about art, life or the Irish is simple!  Hence this magnificent and diverse collection of paintings, photographs, stained glass and objects meant to capture more than a snippet of life.  I intend for this exhibit to take the viewer on a journey through history with an emphasis on the role Irish people played in making American history.”

THE ARTISTS WHO CREATED “THE IRISH AND THE HUMAN CONDITION”

Roy W. Stevens

I want to capture special moments that enrich our lives.  I want to identify events or scenes that are at the time unusual, interesting and attractive, all at a time of special light. The image should command attention, and contrary to advice that the photograph tell a story, I expect the photo should invite, indeed, encourage the viewer to tell a story. I search for Images that are authentic, are reflections of our world with unique compositions, tonalities and colors not seen in usual experiences. To this end I capture natural and made constructions of geometry and repetition, in monochrome, as well as in muted and exaggerated color. 

Susan Beadle

I am a social historian at heart. The combination of history, people and the events that bind them into a compelling story has been my passion. It has always been the story and the emotions that intrigue me. To that end, when I stopped teaching I needed a way to examine history anew and art became my medium. Art is ancient and personal. Art is emotional and compelling. Art is the human story. I have always been a student of art – studying artists and schools of art and composition. I became an art student in 2008. My study has been non-stop and demanding. I am interested in images that evoke a response and pose the question, “Why this…?” 

Kevin J. Morgan
Chapman Stained Glass Studio Inc., Albany, New York

My introduction to stained glass began at an early age by accompanying my father, Philip (president of Chapman’s 1949-2000) to work. The trade was passed to me from my father and skilled craftsmen who worked at Chapman’s. By age 12, I had fabricated my first commissioned panel, and my passion for color brought to life by light, took hold. While I enjoy designing and constructing windows for homes, commercial buildings and religious institutions, it is historical restoration that gives me the greatest sense of satisfaction. I feel privileged to have worked on pieces created by celebrated American artists such as Henry Armstrong, Louis Tiffany and John Lafarge. Forty years after having made my first window, I still love what I do. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to meet interesting people, visit beautiful locations and the pleasure of creating and restoring colorful windows that can bring enjoyment to people for many years to come.   

ABOUT THE IRISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM

The Museum is unique in the United States, where almost 36 million people claim Irish ancestry. The Museum is committed to the tenet that preserving one’s heritage is vital to providing a cultural and historical foundation to future generations of Americans.  The museum in the heart of Albany, New York State’s Capital City, provides year-round access, especially by school groups, to exhibits, the Paul O’Dwyer Library (endowed by the family of the “great champion of the common man” – the NY Times), lectures, presentations, film screenings (most recently about the “Easter 1916 Rising”), book signings and readings and other special programs.   The Museum was an integral force in requiring instruction in New York State’s public schools about the Irish Famine of 1845-1852.  Further, it is the first Museum of its kind here in America to have exhibited at the National Library in Dublin.   The Museum’s mission is to preserve and tell the story of the contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America, inspiring individuals to examine the importance of their own heritage as part of the American cultural mosaic.

About St. Agnes Cemetery

Historic St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands, New York was founded in 1867 as part of the rural cemetery movement.  The Cemetery’s rolling hills, beautiful vistas and manicured grounds total 114 acres.  It is considered one of the prettiest Victorian Era Catholic cemeteries in the country.  The majority of people resting in St. Agnes Cemetery are of Irish descent.  Resting in its sacred ground are countless immigrants from the Great Famine, thousands of veterans from the Civil War to more recent conflicts, congressmen, the first Irish Mayor of Albany, a beloved Irish Catholic Governor and numerous wealthy entrepreneurs and philanthropists.   St. Agnes Cemetery has a full-time historian on staff and offers tours, lectures on topics of historical interest, art workshops and gravestone restoration workshops among its many activities.

All visitors welcome!

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