Today, the Adirondack Park contains 6 million acres of land and is home to 130,000 permanent residents and 100,000 seasonal residents (Jenkins 2004). Fifty seven percent of the park is privately owned, leaving the remaining 43% of the land open to the park’s 1 million annual visitors (Jenkins 2004). These 1 million visitors and 230,000 residents include farmers, hunters, trappers, doctors, artisans, families from cities/suburbs, and forest managers. Further adding to the park’s diversity, the Adirondacks have historically been hunting grounds for the tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy, battle fields for English and French settlers, an ostensible place of opportunity for land speculators, industrialists, immigrants, and poor farmers, and home to fugitive slaves and abolitionists (Schneider 1997). Thus, the significance of the Adirondack Park is complex and often varies based on the time period and the artist describing it. Throughout history, paintings, drawings, and photos have reflected perceptions of the Adirondacks, making art an appropriate lens through which the changing views and opinions of the Adirondack Park can be articulated.
Art forms related to the Adirondack region capture current and past conceptions that exist regarding wilderness and the Adirondacks. Attitudes towards wilderness and the Adirondack Park vary between tourists, permanent residents, academics, and politicians, and have changed over time. In response, art styles have evolved, portraying the Adirondacks as an uncharted wilderness, a religious sanctuary, a space for healing, intimacy, and recreation, and a place rich in opportunity and industrial value. Art forms related to the Adirondack region capture current and past conceptions that exist regarding wilderness and the Adirondacks. This website will explore paintings, drawings, and photographs, and how such art forms have conveyed societal and academic perceptions of the Adirondacks.
Jenkins, Jerry. The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park. Bronx, New York: Wildlife Conservation Society, 2004. Print.
Banner courtesy of: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/nyregion/13artwe.html