Eliza Geeslin & Ally Kontra

Fall 2014

Folk and Outsider Art in the Adirondacks

Eliza Geeslin and Ally Kontra

Even before the Adirondacks became a park, there was a division between local people living in the Adirondack region and "outsiders" who were only loosely associated with the area. Today, these outsiders include people who have second homes in the Adirondacks, or people who live outside the Blue Line, but spend time in the park. Locals and outsiders disagree on many issues concerning the Adirondacks, causing tension in the region. These issues are present and can be seen in Adirondack artwork. Herein lies the subject of our website: we look at various contemporary artists from outside and inside the park. The depictions of the park are distinct depending on the creater of the artwork: either outsiders or locals. 

We split Adirondack art into two groups: Outsider Artists and Folk Art. There are many well-known outsider Adirondack artists. We focused on describing each artist's background and specific style. Sometimes the distinction between an outsider and an insider can be hard to make, so we also clarified why each artist was classified as either outsider or local. Folk Artists are not generally well-known outside the park, so for this section, we researched two different types of Adirondack folk art: quilting and pack baskets. We also looked into Edna West Teall, arguably the best-known Adirondack folk artist. 

We ended by including a live Instagram Feed of photos. This feed constantly updates to display all the photos posted to Instagram with the hashtag "#adirondacks." Photos show everything from beautiful scenes of the Adirondacks, to people, to license plates. This is particularly interesting in the context of local/outsider differences because we see from the variety of photos that everyone associates the Adirondacks with a different meaning, personal to them. 

A Brief Timeline of Adirondack Art