InterActions is a free online series (February 18 – April 8) that brings together local artists and scholars to discuss environmental justice, the use of natural resources, and sustainability.

“InterActions is designed to spark important conversations and inspire action,” says Liz Callahan, executive director of Hanford Mills Museum. “Bringing together diverse perspectives and speakers with a rich knowledge of the region will help us all assess and enhance our understanding of critical issues.” Hanford Mills will use these conversations to find new ways to enhance visitors’ understanding of the environment, the fair use of natural resources, and sustainability. The series is moderated by public historian William Walker, an associate professor of history at the Cooperstown Graduate Program.

Leaf Trio artwork by Lisa Tessier
Leaf Trio by Lisa Tessier

March 4, 7 pm
Ellen Wong and Lisa Tessier

Ellen Wong, a landscape painter and visual artist, and Lisa Tessier, Associate Professor of Arts & Sciences at SUNY Delhi.Wong focuses on the rural and working local landscape, especially that of the agriculture surrounding her home in Roxbury. She also co-hosts a weekly radio show about local agriculture. She has helped to develop visitor engagement strategies for the Whitney Museum of American Art and Dia Arts Foundation. Tessier, a HMM member and volunteer, has combined expertise in landscape design and art-making. She creates art with native plants in the form of 3D landscapes and botanical sunprints (watercolor).  Register for the March 4 program here.

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

March 25, 7 pm
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason are internationally acclaimed musicians and co-founders of the Ashokan Center. Their performance of Ungar’s composition, Ashokan Farewell, became the musical hallmark of Ken Burns’ The Civil War on PBS. The soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy.  Based in Olivebridge, the Ashokan Center seeks to teach, inspire and build community through shared experiences in nature, history, music, and art.  Register for the March 25 program here.

April 8, 7 pm
Richard Kathmann and Joshua Cerra

Artist Richard Kathmann paints abstract and landscape works of his Catskills surroundings. A resident of East Meredith, he also served as the first executive director of Hanford Mills Museum. Joshua Cerra is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University and principal director for the Cornell Climate Change Garden (pictured), an interpretive research installation on Cornell’s campus. Cerra works with his students to explore landscape architecture design strategies as they relate to New York waterways and climate change, and his research focuses on the social-ecological systems created between humans and landscapes. Register for the April 8 program here.

“We encourage people to join us in these important conversations,” says Callahan. “Guided by this impressive roster of speakers, we look forward to a dynamic series that will shape the way Hanford Mills interacts with visitors in the future.” 

In 2020, Hanford Mills Museum, in collaboration with the Cooperstown Graduate Program (SUNY Oneonta), received a Creativity Incubator Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Greater Hudson Heritage Network. This grant offers financial support for museums to think more imaginatively about the interpretation of their collections and to explore new ways of engaging with contemporary audiences, with an emphasis on experimentation and creative thinking. With this series, Hanford Mills will bring together artists and scholars to lead virtual conversations on environmental justice, sustainability, and climate change.

Photo by Christina Hunt Wood
Photo from Christina Hunt Wood’s Rural Archives Series


February 18, 7 pm
Christina Hunt Wood and Rachel Leibowitz

Thank you to all who joined us for the opening InterActions program with with Christina Hunt Wood, a video artist and photographer based in Delhi, and Dr. Rachel Leibowitz, Associate Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Co-Director of the Center for Cultural Landscape Preservation. Wood uses her artwork to explore the actions of rural communities and their effect on the environment. Leibowitz studies the historical contexts and human relationships that shape cultural landscapes, especially as they pertain to issues of conservation.

View Christina Hunt Wood’s artwork, and watch the videos she mentioned in her talk on her website.