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19th century Niagara tourism exhibit to open at Castellani

by jmaloni
Mon, Jun 11th 2012 07:00 am

The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University announces that the opening reception for a new exhibition presented in conjunction with the War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration will take place from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, June 10, at the museum. The event will feature a talk by guest curator Dr. Robert Giannetti as well as an information fair for Niagara 1812 Legacy Council partner organizations to promote their own events and programs.

Titled, "The Picturesque and War: Visual and Literary Aspects of 19th Century Tourism," it explores the role of books and related visual arts in the marketing of the Niagara region as a premiere tourist destination before and after the War of 1812. The exhibit first shows how ideas of the picturesque and sublime developed beginning in the 18th century. These concepts were later used to market Niagara Falls as a natural wonder of unspoiled beauty and awe-inspiring power.

Richly illustrated fine books, travel guides, maps and skillfully rendered prints (many based on paintings by the 19th century's best known artists) all helped to attract visitors to the Niagara region. Following the War of 1812, former battlefields and war monuments were added to the list of the region's tourist attractions. On the lighter side, humorous satiric texts and illustrations show the battle between the sublime and ridiculous as the Falls were exploited by industry and rampant commercialization.

The exhibition and related events are offered free of charge and will take place at the Castellani Art Museum. The exhibition is made possible, in part, through a grant from the Niagara 1812 Legacy Council.

The exhibition was organized by Giannetti; Dr. Thomas Chambers, chair, associate professor of history, Niagara University; Kate Koperski, director, the Castellani Art Museum; and Michael Beam, curator of collections and exhibitions at the Castellani Art Museum.

This exhibition and related programming are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and is sponsored, in part, by the Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council, the Canadian Consulate General and Old Glory Flag & Banner, a division of Cooper Sign Company, Town of Niagara.

Lenders to the program include: Tom and Beth DiCamillo, Niagara Falls; Rita M. and Robert M. Giannetti, Lewiston; The Niagara Falls Public Library; RiverBrink Art Museum and the Samuel E. Weir Collection, Queenston, Ontario, Canada.

For more information, contact Beam at 716-286-8286.

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