Symposium explores Rockwell Kent’s Alaskan adventure

Art and nature lovers have a very special opportunity to behold the majesty of Alaska this spring, through the eyes of 20th century artist Rockwell Kent.

The painter, who spent much of his life at Asgaard, his farm in Au Sable Forks, New York, moved to a small island in Alaska in 1918. The artwork and writings he produced during the seven month-period will be the subject of presentations, workshops and a short film screening, during an upcoming symposium at SUNY Plattsburgh. 

Kenai, Alaska resident Eric Downs felt so inspired by Kent’s adventures in his state, he made them the subject of his short film A Dreamer’s Search. 

The first-time filmmaker’s work has already been accepted into seven film festivals.  Even though Downs lives in Alaska, he’s visited the Adirondacks many times, because he has family who live here.  The filmmaker will participate in a question and answer session after the screening of his film.  Another Alaskan resident, author Doug Capra, will speak about Kent’s Alaskan book of memoirs, Wilderness.  Author and Illustrator Claudia McGhee will demonstrate the influence of Rockwell Kent’s art and life in her own work.

Learn more about the symposium

You’re invited to the mini-symposium “Creative Catalyst, Exploring Rockwell Kent’s Alaskan Adventure,” April 6 and 7 at the Plattsburgh State Art Museum and Yokum Hall. Many of the events are also accessible online, and all of them are free to the public.  The symposium also includes a guided tour of the exhibits in the Rockwell Kent Gallery, including Alaska Works (from the Rockwell Kent Collection).  For a schedule of symposium events, head to


Spotlight is made possible, in part, by the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation, dedicated to improving the quality of life for year-round residents of the Adirondack Park.  Spotlight is also supported by Hill and Hollow Music.

Rockwell Kent paintings: Rights courtesy of Plattsburgh State Art Museum, State University of New York, USA, Rockwell Kent Collection, Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton. All rights reserved. Special thanks to Scott R. Ferris