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Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America

Fredrick Law Olmsted: Designing America
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
The Academy of Music, Northampton

Free and open to the public.

The public is invited to this world premiere of Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America, an in-depth study of Olmsted’s complex life and accomplishments.  The screening is sponsored by WGBY-TV. 

As the designer of major urban parks, Frederick Law Olmsted made enormous contributions to the American landscape and is known as the father of American landscape architecture. He was co-designer of Central Park, head of the first Yosemite commission, leader of the campaign to protect Niagara Falls, designer of the U.S. Capitol Grounds, site planner for the Great White City of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, planner of Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” of green space and of park systems in many other cities. Here in western Massachusetts he is responsible for designing Smith, Mt. Holyoke, UMass and Amherst.  His firm did parks in Springfield and Holyoke.  Look Park, although not an Olmsted park, is clearly inspired by his work.  Forest Park in Springfield was designed by his sons and his firm.  In fact, Olmsted and his firm did hundreds of projects in Massachusetts and New England.

Olmsted  was born and raised in Hartford.  He moved to Brookline in the 1870s and died in Massachusetts in 1903.  To Olmsted, a park was both a work of art and a necessity for urban life. Olmsted’s efforts to preserve nature created an “environmental ethic” decades before the environmental movement became a force in American politics.  With gorgeous cinematography, creative animation, and compelling commentary Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America presents the biography of a man whose parks and preservation are an essential part of American life.

Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America is a one-hour film by local filmmakers Larry Hott and Diane Garey and is a co-production of WNED-TV, Buffalo/Toronto and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc.  The film was recently accepted for distribution to PBS stations across the country and WGBY is very pleased to be able to present this world premiere at The Academy of Music in Northampton