Lecture Series

WCAC co-sponsors the Centuries of Art @ Your Library lecture series!

The 2023 Winter Centuries of Art @ Your Library Lecture Series is underway! The series is presented by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in partnership with the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center and the Williamsburg Regional Library. 

All lectures will be presented at 7:30 pm on ZOOM. Registration information will be posted at least a week before the scheduled lecture.

January 16 – Dr. Donald Schrader – The Rediscovery of Sculpture in Romanesque France

The world didn’t come to an end in the year 1000, as some had predicted it might; and in the years after the millennium, a grand and beautiful style of architecture, decorated with astonishing sculpture, burst forth to meet the needs of the faithful and particularly the pilgrims who marched across France on their way to the shrine of St. James in northwestern Spain. Sculpture, disused since the fourth century, when apparently it was tainted with the suspicion of idolatry, was seized upon with enthusiasm in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Romanesque sculpture was meant to inspire, frighten, and entertain its viewers. It was, and is, an irresistible source of pleasure in which talented artists were not only employed in the service of religion but were also given freedom of expression that seems surprising to us today. In this lecture, we will survey the great sculptures on churches in Burgundy and western France through the mountains to the south, ending in the great cathedral of Santiago.

Presenter: Dr. Donald Schrader


Eve, Autun Cathedral, Burgundy, 1130s

View the YouTube video of this lecture at:

January 23 – Betsy White – Great Road Style: The Decorative Arts Legacy of Southwest Virginia

Travel down the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road on a cultural heritage discovery trip through Southwest Virginia & Northeast Tennessee. During this illustrated PowerPoint lecture, encounter the friendly country forms of pie safes and crazy quilts, colorful pottery decorated with dabs, splashes or cobalt blue flowers, high-style furniture made by a Philadelphia-trained cabinet maker, and beautiful wool and linen coverlets woven at home on large barn looms. Settled last in Virginia, this was the frontier and witness to a great migration of new Americans from Europe and the British Isles who poured down the Valley of Virginia during the last half of the 18th and first years of the 19th centuries. Artisans followed settlers and tradition combined with evolving market preference to create a lively mix of decorative arts that because Great Road Style.

Presenter: Betsy White

View the YouTube video of this lecture at:


Betsy White

January 30 – Barbara Rothermel – “My Day Long Obsession, Joy and Torment: The Use of Color in Art

The American Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko once said, “A painting is not about an experience, it is an experience.”
Objectively, color is the element of art that is produced when light, striking an object, is reflected back to the eye.
Subjectively, color is a sensation, a human reaction to a hue arises in part from the optic nerve. Colors are also symbols or codes that artists use to convey emotions, express themselves, and transform viewers intellectually and emotionally. When we examine color through the eyes of the artist, their belief in the power of color comes to the fore. This lecture starts at the beginning, more than 40,000 years ago.

Presenter: Barbara Rothermel

View the YouTube video of this lecture at:


Mark Rothko, Orange and Yellow, 1956

February 6 – Celeste Fetta – Style 1900: Art & Artists at the Turn of the Last Century

The Paris Exposition of 1900 was a pivotal moment for Western art and design. Explore artists and designers who were and who weren’t included at the exhibition, and the works of art that dazzled and dismayed critics and the public.

Presenter: Celeste Fetta

View the YouTube video of this lecture at:

Tiffany Punch Bowl

Visit our co-sponsors online at:
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: vmfa.org  
Williamsburg Regional Library: wrl.org