Skaneateles Robinson remembered

Ellen Leahy, Editor/City Eagle 02/20/07More articles
Skaneateles Arts council honors memory of David B. Robinson M.D. for his leadership

It’s official. The Skaneateles Area Arts Council formally honored the late David B. Robinson, M.D. for his tremendous leadership in the arts in Central New York.

“His impact on the artistic landscape of Skaneateles, and his stewardship of chamber music and culture in the central New York community has been outstanding,” said Joe Strodel President of the Skaneateles Area Arts Council.

The Arts Council established a committee to honor David B. Robinson last fall. The committee discussed ideas with the Robinson Family, president of the Skaneateles Festival board of directors Barbara Connor, Festival Director Susan Mark, as well as the Skaneateles Library.

In an attempt to remember Robinson’s work in the arts and to keep his spirit alive the SAAC commissioned a portrait of his likeness painted by Robinson’s eldest daughter and Skaneateles resident, Margaret “Peggy” Manring a watercolorist of considerable merit. She did not wish to receive payment for this painting and instead turned the $1000 fee over to the Skaneateles Festival. The Skaneateles Library agreed to hang the painting in the recital hall in the upstairs of the library. This was the room where the first festival concert took place on Aug. 16, 1980.

“I’m glad the arts council did this, it is wonderful,” said Louise Robinson, David’s wife of 61 years.
The funds will be directed to the Festival’s endowment for the annual Robinson Award.

“Thank you for this wonderfully generous tribute to David,” said Susan Marks, executive director of the Skaneateles Festival. “We are going to be able to triple the amount of the award this year from $500 to $1,500.”

The Festival and Arts Council will team up for a dedication ceremony when the portrait is officially installed at the library. Stay tuned for more information about this event.

“David was, and always will be, an inspiration to me personally, as well as to so many people in our community,” Strodel wrote to the Festival. “It is an honor to be able to offer this small gesture from the Arts Council to the Skaneateles Festival in his name.”

Painting one’s father
“It was a process that took months and resulted in two completed portraits,” artist Peggy Manring said.
When asked if the process was difficult or helpful or easy, she said, “Yes.”

Manring said that the painter John Singer Sergeant said a portrait was a painting with something wrong with the mouth; he didn’t enjoy portraiture.

“Leonardo got it right (with Mona Lisa),” Manring said.
Where as, Manring enjoys the break from landscapes and still-life work. She has painted all of her parent’s grandchildren.

Her mother Louise Robinson knew she wanted the public portrait, sponsored by the Art’s Council, to have a more thoughtful expression, as she felt this would be better over time. She also wanted his trusty camel jacket involved.

“Mother knew what she wanted for the library,” Manring said. “Camel’s hair jacket, a serious approach and different glasses.”

Both portraits were painted from several photographs. The artist needed to invent different lighting for the reflection off the different glasses and basically fit the elements together, all while mourning her father’s passing.

The portrait Manring painted for her mother, a smile was to be included.

“This one out here he is smiling and he has the glint in his eye,” Louise said.

The home portrait hangs in the stairwell at Brook Farm on the Westside of Skaneateles Lake.

“He is having one last laugh as you go up the stairs at Brook Farm,” Manring said. “People are talking to him, as they pass by.”

To find out more about the Skaneateles Festival got to www.skanfest.org.

Photo by: Ellen Leahy
This portrait is currently in the Skaneateles Festival Office in the First Presbyterian Church.

Rating: 2.8/5 (14 votes cast)

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