New director of WAAM shows favorites in Woodstock exhibit

Janice La Motta (photo by Dion Ogust)

Janice La Motta (photo by Dion Ogust)

The Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM) has a new executive director, Janice La Motta, who came aboard last October. Trained at the Hartford Art School, La Motta was a curator at the New Britain Museum of American Art for more than five years, then spent 18 years on the entrepreneurial end of the visual arts by running her own contemporary fine art gallery, Paesaggio. “I hit the ground running and have yet to find a ‘typical’ week,” she recently told Debra Bresnan for the Woodstock Times.

Along with pursuing her new mandates for “resetting and redefining” the organization in preparation for WAAM’s centennial in 2019, La Motta has been acquainting herself with the museum’s extensive collection. The longtime Connecticut resident presents a fresh outsider’s view of these cherished local artworks with her first curated Woodstock exhibition, “Director’s Choice: The Responsive Eye,” which opens in the Phoebe and Belmont Towbin Wing this Saturday.

More than 30 pieces drawn from the museum’s collection of over 2,000 objects will be on view, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture and crafts. The show is in part a sketch of the new director’s personal aesthetic and in part a survey course in the history of Woodstock-made art, ranging from the association’s founding years through the Maverick Festival era and its mid- and late-20th-century heyday. Among the artists represented are Cecil Chichester, Louis Bouche, John F. Carlsen, Andrew Dasburg, Carl Eric Lindin, Frank Swift Chase, Henry Lee McFee, Eugenie Gershoy, Eugene Ludins, Eistein Olaf Drogseth, Austin Mecklem, Philip Guston, Ernest Frazier, Mary Frank and Reginald Wilson.

“Director’s Choice: The Responsive Eye” opens with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 6 and will be on view through April 30. Regular gallery hours are from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Thursday and from12 noon to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. WAAM is located at 28 Tinker Street in Woodstock. For more information, call (845) 679-2940 or visit www.woodstockart.org.

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