Parks designer Olmsted topic of MWPAI presentation Sept. 19

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The contributions of parks designer Frederick Law Olmsted will be explored in “The Olmsted Legacy: Bringing Nature to the City and Creating Breathing Space for Democracy,” an illustrated lecture by writer, public historian, and filmmaker Laurence Cotton, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica.

The event is free.

The year 2022 marks the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted. Utica has an impressive parks system designed by his son, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., on land donated by the Proctor family that continues to enhance the quality of life for area residents.

The Olmsted family left an enormous imprint on the American landscape by designing urban, state, and national public parks, private estates and gardens, residential neighborhoods, communities, and institutional campuses. The Olmsted philosophy focused on physical and mental health and the role of parks in enacting democracy in a multi-ethnic, multiracial society.

Cotton originated and served as principal researcher and Consulting Producer for the 2014 nationally broadcast PBS film, Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America and has given talks across the country about the Olmsted legacy.

Cotton presents a fast-paced, illustrated talk about the life, career, and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted along with a mini-travelogue of selected Olmsted landscapes — including those designed by his son, who did so much work in Utica. Attendees will learn about the extraordinary legacy of the Renaissance man and how his contributions are still relevant today.

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