Rome Historical Society offers virtual program on Henry DiSpirito


Rome Historical Society, 200 Church St., will present Henry DiSpirito: Stonemason to Sculptor, a virtual program at, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 16.

Ashley Hopkins-Benton will discuss the life, art and experiences of DiSpirito in Utica.

Henry DiSpirito (1898-1995) was an Italian immigrant who came to Utica in 1921 from Castleforte, Italy. He settled into the heavily immigrant populated neighborhood of East Utica and found work as a stonemason/bricklayer, a trade he learned from his father.

Through his work on a WPA art project creating dioramas and subsequent study at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute, he was finally able to pursue art, as he had dreamed of doing, and found his calling in direct carving in stone.

Hopkins-Benton holds a master’s of arts degree in History Museum Studies from SUNY’s Cooperstown Graduate Program and a bachelor’s of arts degree in Studio Art and Art Education from SUNY Potsdam. She is now senior historian and curator at the New York State Museum and has done extensive research on Henry DiSpirito’s life and legacy. The talk will focus on DiSpirito’s immigrant experience, and its impact on his art. 

Rome Historical Society is a non-profit organization. For more information, call 315-336-5870, like them on Facebook, or visit their website at


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