Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kettle of Gold - A Boyhood Story of George Catlin

Kettle of Gold - A Boyhood Story of George Catlin, Famous 19th Century Native American Painter

Eileen Ruggieri -local storyteller and historian will present, “Kettle of Gold - A Boyhood Story of George Catlin, Famous 19th Century Native American Painter” at the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center at 345 Broad Street in Waverly on October 4th from 6:30pm – 7:30pm.

George Catlin (1796-1872) journeyed west five times in the 1830s to paint the Plains Indians and their way of life. Convinced that westward expansion spelled certain disaster for native peoples, he viewed his Indian Gallery as a way "to rescue from oblivion their primitive looks and customs." Catlin was the first artist to record the Plains Indians in their own territories. He admired them as the embodiment of the Enlightenment ideal of "natural man," living in harmony with nature. But the more than 500 paintings in the Indian Gallery also reveal the fateful encounter of two different cultures in a frontier region undergoing dramatic transformation.

A little known fact is that George Catlin spent most of his childhood growing up along the Susquehanna River in South Windsor. He went on to get an education in law, but soon discovered his passion in life was to paint. Ruggieri will share with her listeners the story of George Catlin's first encounter with a Native American as a boy growing up in Windsor and how profoundly that experience influenced the course of his life. He would later set out on a westward journey that would result in his becoming one of the country's most famous 19th century painters of Native Americans.

Ruggieri is coordinator of the Historic Windsor Advisory Committee, formed a year and a half ago by the Town of Windsor. This committee recently put out a book Windsor on the Susquehanna, A Vintage Postcard Book of Broome County's Oldest Town, which she edited. She is Vice President of the Old Onaquaga Historical Society and a longtime member as well. For the past three years, she has been on the Window on the Arts festival committee in Windsor, providing interesting local history programs and exhibits for this special day in September.

An admission donation of $6 for adults, $4 for SRAC members and students is requested. Free admission to the SRAC exhibit hall is included in this donation. For more information, visit , email, or call the Center at 607-565-7960.

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