Near the end of the 18th Century, the Shakers of Mount Lebanon, New York formed an intentional, faith-based society that thrived well into the 19th Century. The Shakers are celebrated as pioneers of modern design—for their architecture, interiors, furnishings, and landscape—as well as for being pioneers of diversity and inclusion. In Shaker society, women and people of color played equal roles in governance, creative pursuits, and cultural development.
This program, developed by the AIANY Custom Residential Architecture Network (CRAN) in partnership with the Shaker Museum, will explore the question, “Did the diversity of Shaker society drive their remarkable innovations?” After a brief introduction by CRAN co-chair Dennis Wedlick, attendees will view three short, pre-recorded video presentations, each approximately fifteen minutes in length:
- Historians Jerry Grant and Maggie Taft on the residential architecture and furnishings of the Shakers at Mount Lebanon.
- Shaker scholar Sharon Duane Koomler and Brookyln-based choreographer Reggie Wilson, whose work is inspired by black Shaker dance, on the role of women and people of color in Shaker society.
- Bi-coastal designers Dylan Davis and Jean Lee on “Furnishing Utopia,” a workshop series held at Hancock Shaker Village where designers developed sustainable solutions for contemporary homes inspired by the Shakers.
Following the presentations, Lacy Shutz of the Shaker Museum will moderate a roundtable conversation, asking panelists and audience members to tap into their own experiences to envision how embracing diversity can impact the design industry today.
Dylan Davis, Founder, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio
Jerry Grant, Director of Research, Shaker Museum
Sharon Duane Koomler, Author
Jean Lee, Founder, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio
Maggie Taft, Preceptor, University of Chicago
Reggie Wilson, Artistic Director and Founder, Fist and Heel Performance Group
Lacy Schutz, Executive Director, Shaker Museum
About the Speakers:
Dylan Davis and Jean Lee are the bicoastal co-founders of Ladies & Gentlemen Studio. The studio focuses on creating a diverse set of residential products, including furniture, fixtures, and art objects, as well as supporting community-based design explorations such as “Furnishing Utopia.”
Jerry Grant is the Director of Collections and Research at the Shaker Museum, Chatham, New York. He has worked with the Museum collections for the past 35 years. Prior to coming to the Shaker Museum was the Director at Hancock Shaker Village. He is educated and trained as a librarian with a specialty in rare books and archives.
Lacy Schutz is Executive Director of Shaker Museum, which stewards the world’s most comprehensive collection of Shaker archives and material culture. She previously held leadership positions at the Museum of the City of New York and was the founding archivist at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. Schutz is overseeing the expansion of Shaker Museum into a new facility in Chatham, NY designed by Selldorf Architects.
Sharon Duane Koomler, author, educator, and Shaker Scholar holds a Bachelor of Arts in Folk Studies from Indiana University and a Master of Arts in Folklore/Historic Preservation from Western Kentucky University. She was Director of Education at Shaker Museum at South Union, Kentucky; Curator of Collections at Hancock Shaker Village, Massachusetts; Formerly Curator and Director of the Museum at Shaker Museum.
Maggie Taft is Founding Director of the Haddon Avenue Writing Institute, a community-based writing center for teenage girls. Before establishing the institute, she earned a PhD in art history from the University of Chicago, where her dissertation, “Making Danish Modern, 1945–1960,” received the 2015 Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities. From 2014 to 16 she served as Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry at Washington University in St. Louis.
Reggie Wilson is the Artistic Director and Founder of Fist & Heel Performance Group. He is a choreographer, performer, and educator, who teaches and conducts workshops and community projects, and has had his work presented nationally and internationally. Wilson is a recipient of the Minnesota Dance Alliance’s McKnight National Fellowship (2000-2001), is a 2002 BESSIE recipient, and is a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow.
This event is offered in person and virtually; proof of vaccination (for those eligible) and masking are required in order to attend in person. Beverages will be served. Masks are recommended when not actively drinking. Read our full Health and Safety Protocol here.
If you register for an online ticket, you will receive an email with a Zoom link to access the program.
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