Program to focus on KAA founding member
The Kent Art Association will present the fifth lecture in its “Discovering Our Founders” series Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. at its gallery.
The program at the 21 South Main St. gallery will focus on Spencer Baird Nicholas, one of the nine founders of the KAA.
Barbara Sussman, a respected artist and gallery owner from Hoosick Falls, N.Y., will discuss her grandfather, Baird Nichols.
Nichols was born in Washington, D.C., and dropped out of school at age 11 to become an artist.
He studied under Howard Helmick and continued his art education at the Corcoran School of Art and Design and also took classes at the Washington Art Students’ League where he later became an instructor.
When Helen Mather arrived from South Dakota to study art at the Corcoran School, she and Nichols fell in love.
Nichols refused to marry until he was able to support at a family. She waited 10 years, until in 1911 Nichols was contracted to provide illustrations to the publishing house, Frederick A. Stokes & Co. and to design stained glass windows and murals for Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios.
The couple moved to Bronxville, N.Y., where they joined the Bronxville Art Colony.
They moved to Kent in 1922, after the death of their oldest son, where Nichols was one of the nine founding members of the Kent Art Association in 1923.
Nichols’ portrait of House Speaker Andrew Stephenson hangs in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and he has paintings in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.
He was the director of art at Marot Junior College in Thompson from 1936 until 1941.
He did murals in the Kent, Litchfield, and New Milford schools for the WPA Arts project and he was a member of the Washington Water Color Club, Society of Washington Artists, the Salmagundi Club, the National Arts Club, and was an elected associate of the National Academy of Design.
The next talk will be held Nov. 17, when Kent Historical Society Curator Marge Smith will talk about George Laurence Nelson.
Still to be scheduled are Eliot Candee Clarke and F. Luis Mora.
A donation of $5 is suggested.
For more information, call 860-927-3989.