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Dorsky Museum honored with Museum Association of New York Award of Distinction

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz has received a 2023 Museum Association of New York (MANY) Award of Distinction for the recent exhibition, “Benjamin Wigfall and Communications Village.”

The Dorsky earned an award in the Engaging Communities category, recognizing the collaborative effort including partners on and off campus that made possible this first-ever retrospective for Wigfall, a beloved former Department of Art faculty member and creator of Communications Village, a long-running community art space in Kingston, New York.

The exhibition, created in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), and the related program series engaged multiple community organizations and attracted the largest amount of K-12 school groups, SUNY New Paltz classes, and community group tours in the Dorsky’s history.

“Wigfall’s life as an artist and arts educator exemplifies the power of the social practice of printmaking. Sharing Wigfall’s art, and telling the story of Communications Village, introduce wonderful spaces to (re-)engage communities, many of the very same ones that Wigfall served, in this unique and important history,” said Drew Thompson, associate professor of visual studies and black culture at Bard Graduate Center, who curated the exhibition with Sarah Eckhardt, associate curator of modern and contemporary art at VMFA.

The exhibition served as a platform for numerous community-building events at The Dorsky Museum and other Hudson Valley venues, including an opening reception that gathered original participants of Communications Village and brought members of the Wigfall family back to New Paltz, an in-depth series on Radio Kingston, and a youth group led by Lara Giordano of the Kingston DRAW and coordinated with Dorsky Education Manager Zachary Bowman.


Friends and family of the late Professor Benjamin Wigfall attend the opening exhibition on Sept. 10, 2022, and recreate an historic black-and-white photo of Wigfall with students at Communication Village circa 1976


The Wigfall exhibition was among 14 museums and individuals to receive MANY Awards of Distinction this year. All will be recognized at the organization’s annual conference, April 15-18 in Syracuse, New York.

“We were incredibly impressed with the quality and quantity of award nominations this year, which made the review process highly competitive,” said Clifford Laube, public programs specialist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and MANY Program Committee co-chair. “Museums and museum staff across the state are demonstrating creative thinking and are inspiring institutional change.”

More information about the Museum Association of New York is available here.

About The Dorsky Museum 

Through its collections, exhibitions and public programs, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art supports and enriches the academic programs at the College and serves as a center for Hudson Valley arts and culture. With more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space distributed over six galleries, The Dorsky Museum is one of the largest museums in the SUNY system. Since its official dedication in 2001, The Dorsky has presented more than 100 exhibitions, including commissions, collection-based projects, and in-depth studies of contemporary artists including Robert Morris, Alice Neel, Judy Pfaff, Carolee Schneemann and Ushio Shinohara.

Funding for The Dorsky’s exhibitions and programs is provided by the Friends of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and SUNY New Paltz.

Museum Hours

Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, holidays and intersessions.

For more information about The Dorsky Museum and its programs, visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum or call (845) 257-3844.