Albany Museum of Art plans 'Wine & Design' paint party

Sep. 17—ALBANY ─ An artwork from "Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice" will be the inspiration for participants in the Oct. 11 session of the Albany Museum of Art's Wine & Design Paint Party. The two-hour session will start at 5:30 pm.

"This is going to be a special edition of Wine & Design," Annie Vanoteghem, director of education and public programming for the AMA, said in a news release. "Participants will be asked to interpret Johnson's "Harriet Tubman," a circa 1945 oil painting on paperboard.

"'Wine & Design: William H. Johnson' will be unique in this series because our painters will be able to view the actual artwork in the Haley Gallery. At our first two painting parties, we had pictures of works by Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet that our painters used as inspiration. Being able to physically see the artwork will add to the excitement of the evening."

"Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice" is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The paintings were gifted to the Smithsonian by the Harmon Foundation. Support for the project has been provided by Art Bridges.

In his "Fighters for Freedom" series, Johnson painted his heroes who fought for racial justice and civil rights, as well as world peace. In each painting, Johnson has offered episodic vignettes that capture defining accomplishments, places, and sometimes multiple protagonists that tell complete stories within a single image. His subjects include George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass and others.

In his painting "Harriet Tubman," Johnson shows the pre-eminent "conductor" of the Underground Railroad standing, rifle in hand, along a convergence of roads with the North Star bright above her head. At the lower right, a bust-length portrait shows an older Tubman wrapped in the shawl presented to her by Queen Victoria.

"This painting is perfect for our group," Vanoteghem said. "It is an inspiring artwork that vividly tells the story of an amazing, fearless hero who walked through so much darkness to shed so much light. My hope is that our Wine & Design artists will proudly hang this work in their homes as a reminder of strength, perseverance and light.

"As always, participants are not expected to create a perfect copy of the work, rather an interpretation, while they follow the teacher and learn new techniques and problem solve along the way."

As with the first two Wine & Design classes, participants 21 and older will share wine and snacks as they create their interpretations of the painting with acrylics on canvases. Vanoteghem will lead the group step by step, so painting experience is not required.

"Whether you are a first-time painter or an advanced artist, you will have a wonderful time and go home with an original work of art that you will be proud for others to see," she said. "Each of the first two classes sold out well ahead of the event. It's a great evening to spend with friends or to make new friends. Whether you want to come alone or with a friend or spouse, you will have a good time while you tap your inner creativity.

Registration for Wine & Design is $25 for museum members or $30 for non-members. A secure online registration link may be found at

The final Wine & Design Painting Party of 2022 will be on Nov. 3 when painters will interpret a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe. Information and a link to sign up for that event may be found at