A museum that only opens for a short time–American Academy of Arts & Letters Museum

April 27, 2017 aureliaweb
American Academy of Art, American Academy
Door at American Academy of Arts

In 2019 I took a group to tour the lower part of Washington Heights and to tour the American Academy of Arts & Letters. This is the first exhibit for the year and it was mainly the arts. 

I believe that art is definitely changing and very few of the works being honored appealed to the group. 

There was a machine that would drop soap bubbles with paint inside of it and paint brushes on an arm. When the machine was turned on, it would spout the bubbles that would hit the the square canvas. The brushes would also add paint to the  canvas. So, my question is “why do we need an artist if now there is a machine that will create abstract work?”. I’ll have to go back to check who the winners are for this year in June. 

This was the first time, I did not take one picture of the exhibit.


It was cold rainy afternoon when we decided to visit the American Academy of Arts & Letters. The 2017 Invitational Exhibition ran from March 9 to April 9. We  visited it during its last week. From May 18-June 11, it will open again to exhibit not only art, but architecture, books and manuscripts by the new members. The April exhibit was only for art and there were many interesting pieces. Many of the artists were 2017 Art Award winners.

Vanessa German

sculpture, Vanessa German, visual artist
Received the Jacob Lawrence Award visual artist

One of the winners was Vanessa German. She exhibited four very interesting mixed art sculptures. To me they seem to tell a story through caricature figurines. She used many different elements from buttons to toys, but very impressive especially with her selection of materials.

Another interesting artist was Daniella

Daniella Dooling

Daniella Dooling, typewriter art, resin art
Daniella Dooling sculptures use of typewriter and resin

Dooling. Her incorporation of an old fashioned typewriter in her art was intriguing, and the resin from it was stunning work. This was one of her larger pieces that she exhibited. She had several other pieces using the inside of a typewriter.

Louise Despont

As we continued to look at so many interesting pieces, we had almost viewed all the work when we came upon Louise Despont entries. She used antique ledger book pages for her art. You could see the entries which were made back in the late1800, but the graphite and colored pencil work reminded me of fine stained glass windows. Absolutely beautiful.

Louise Despont, colored pencil art, antique ledger art
Colored Pencil on antique ledger by Louise Despont


Kakyoung Lee, pencil in film,
A scene from Kakyoung Lee’s project in film

Kakyoung Lee

Kakyoung Lee has an incredible moving image exhibit. According to the docent, it is a pilgrimage of people walking to and from a temple and it is done in pencil. It is mesmerizing looking at the figures going up the mountain. When you see it, you will understand why she is a winner at this exhibit.

I just want to provide a bit of information on The American Academy of Arts & Letters Museum at the Audubon Terrace It is a very unique place.

For many years I would go to the National Hispanic Society of America and I’d see these two buildings behind it. I would always find them closed. Last year I was determined to go inside and I began to monitor their website and I finally got a chance to visit.

Did you know that at one time there were five museums on Audubon Terrace?  This magnificent terrace and its buildings were constructed on John James Audubon’s land.  When the American Geographical Society moved, its building was bought by Boricua College. The Numismatic building was bought by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

 The American Academy only opens for two months during the year. The Academy has a number of awards for artists. These awards help the artists not only financially, but also in highlighting their accomplishment. The Academy itself is limited to only 250 member artists. The public is invited to see the winners work when there is an election. In 2016 eleven members and in 2017 another fourteen were added to the Academy.  

The only permanent exhibit is the replica of the Charles Ives’ Connecticut studio. The following is from the Charles Ives Society about his influence in music. “Optimistic, idealistic, fiercely democratic, he unified the voice of the American people with the forms and traditions of European classical music. The result, in his most far-reaching work, is like nothing ever imagined before him: music at once unique and as familiar as a tune whistled in childhood,  music that can conjure up the pandemonium of a small-town Fourth of July or the quiet of a New England church, music of visionary spirituality built from the humblest materials–an old gospel hymn, a patriotic tune, a sentimental parlor song…”
 #AmericanAcademy #AmericanAcademyofArtsLetters #CharlesIves #AudobonTerrace #2017ArtWinners