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Listen Up! Introducing New Artists as Activists Audio Tour

The Rockwell Museum is excited to announce the debut of our first audio tour, Artists as Activists.

The Artists as Activists audio tour incorporates eight works from The Rockwell’s permanent collection along with two long-term loans from Art Bridges.

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Keith Haring, Self Portrait, 1985, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 in. Loan Courtesy of Art Bridges. AB.2019.25.
Keith Haring artwork © Keith Haring Foundation

Haring was accepted into the elite New York City art world but wanted to break barriers between high and low art and make his work universal and approachable...To break down barriers, he generously contributed his talents and resources to numerous causes. He conducted art workshops with children, created logos and posters for public service agencies, and produced murals, sculptures, and paintings to benefit health centers and disadvantaged communities....

Hear and learn more in the tour!

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Frank Stella, Cinema de Pepsi Sketch I, 1966, Alkyd on canvas, 69 x 69 in. Loan Courtesy of Art Bridges. AB.2017.6.

Perhaps because of the ease with which his minimalist style could be imitated and replicated, or his 7 decades worth of work, Stella is an outspoken advocate for copyright protection for artists. He is a long-standing member of the Artists Rights Society. Founded in 1987, the ARS is a global organization that guides artists through the quote often obscure realm of copyright and intellectual property matters...

Learn and hear more in the audio tour!

Art Bridges logo, black on yellow background

What does activism look like to you?

The Artists as Activists tour investigates a wide range of media and decades that demonstrate different forms activism can take. The tour includes artists who lived well over 100 years ago through today, whose basketry, oil paintings, photography, sculpture and more give us a glimpse into what being an activist has meant in different periods of American history. Topics include treatment of animals, humanitarian issues of representation, race and prejudice, feminism, intellectual property, LGBTQ+ activism, systems of religious oppression and more.

While it might feel as though we are living through times that are more divided and tumultuous than ever before, reflecting on our past can help us to find points of connection to previous struggles that have been fought and won through activist causes. Activism can take many forms; it has never been limited to marching in the streets. What are some quiet ways people have advanced their causes throughout history? How has art played a role in social action? What did people do to make their voices heard before social media? Experiencing this tour will give you a new perspective on some of our favorite artworks on view–we hope it also inspires you to find your own voice to work towards positive changes that are most important to you.

Community Voices

Thank you to the four members of our community who helped us tell these stories by serving as narrators of this audio tour.

Molly Bierman is a student at Corning-Painted Post High School and narrates stops six and eight. Look for Molly’s work in the upcoming International Baccalaureate student art exhibition in our Special Projects Gallery in April.
Sharon Bryant, who narrates stops one and seven, is an Associate Professor in the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Binghamton University. Sharon is also a poet and has even composed a poem about another work in our collection not featured on the audio tour, William Aiken Walker’s Cotton Picker

Alex Dell, who narrates stops two, five and nine also balances creative pursuits with his day job. He works as an engineer and is also an author and actor.


Anjanette Lecher narrates stops three, four and ten and has worked at Corning Inc., for 24 years. She currently works in the Law Department as the Director of Intellectual Asset Management. Anjanette is a member of the Choctaw Nation and was born and raised on the Tuscarora Indian Nation in Upstate New York.

Explore More

Here’s how to experience the Artists as Activists Audio Tour!

  • Listen to this audio tour online from wherever you are at rockwellmuseum.org/audio
  • Visitors may use their own mobile device, or borrow a Guide ID listening device and headphones from the Admission Desk
  • Visitors to the Museum can pick up a rack card at the Admission desk that will direct them to the tour via direct URL or QR code
  • Follow the tour in order, or skip around as much as you like – QR codes and Guide ID receivers are placed next to each artwork, and the easily-navigable tour site allows flexibility in your tour
  • Features such as a raised, textured QR code to access the tour on the informational card and textured grip tape on the floor in front of the featured artworks are designed to provide access to sight-impaired visitors
  • Headphones are encouraged in the galleries, but not required

Coming soon! The Rockwell education team is developing an Artists as Activists school tour program for high school students as a companion to the audio tour. The school program will encourage students to consider how to best use their own personal strengths and interests to put their voices to work for causes they care about. Artistic practice and activism have long been intertwined, and often in ways that are not immediately obvious just from looking. What stories can you uncover by looking at art through a new lens? If you’re interested in this upcoming opportunity, contact recottaa@rockwellmuseum.org.

Thank you

Generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges. Rockwell Museum programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Audio tour music and production by Abraham Smith.

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