June 21, 2014

Let them eat birthday cake for Rockwell Kent

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State Art Museum celebrates artist Rockwell Kent’s 132nd birthday Saturday with a family-fun day in the Rockwell Kent Gallery.

“One of the things the museum is trying to do is to increase our number of activities for kids in the community,” said Samantha Bellinger, museum educator.

“And so, we are offering this kid’s event to celebrate Rockwell Kent’s birthday, which is actually June 21, the day we are having it.”

Children and their parents can drop in any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Children can make a birthday hat and dishes, listen to a storyteller and go on a treasure hunt.


“We’re going to be focusing on his life and really what a birthday was for him,” Bellinger said. “We have a couple of photographs from one of his later birthdays that we will be sharing.”

The museum staffers do not know Rockwell’s preference for cake or ice cream.

“From the photographs, he looks like he’s enjoying lots of music and time with his friends,” Bellinger said. “So we are opening up to our friends in the community to help us celebrate him.”

The son of Rockwell Kent and Sara Ann Holgate, Rockwell was born June 21, 1882, in Tarrytown. He was a painter, printmaker, illustrator, writer and activist. He studied with noted artists including Arthur Wesley Dow, William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri and apprenticed with Abbott Handerson Thayer.


Kent established Asgaard Farm in his mid-40s, and that’s where AuSable Forks resident Linda Dubay met him at age 10. Her father, Ulysses “Tink” Emerson, mother Gladys, sister Joyce and brother Wayne relocated from Cambridge, NY.

“My father managed the dairy farm for Rockwell,” Linda said. “He was in charge of the dairy herd, the registered Jerseys. My mother helped Sally (Shirley “Sally” Johnstone, Kent’s third wife) with housework and things around the house. We had a house separate, right on the farm.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints