Henry DiSpirito (1898–1995) emigrated from Italy in 1921, and found a nurturing home in Utica.
A stonemason and bricklayer by trade, he longed to devote his life to art. He found his calling in the direct-carving style of sculpture and became an accomplished painter as well.
He exhibited at the Whitney, MoMA, and SculptureCenter in New York City, and was appointed the first artist-in-residence at Utica College in 1963. Through his art, DiSpirito developed a deep connection with students and faculty, as well as the larger community in Utica.The Oneida County History Center has announced a virtual lecture with Ashley Hopkins-Benton, who will talk about the life and art of Henry DiSpirito, on Wednesday, January 27th.
Ashley Hopkins-Benton is a Senior Historian and Curator of Social History at the New York State Museum, where she focuses on women’s history, LGBTQ+ history, immigrant and ethnic history, sculpture, and toys. She holds an MA in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program (where she began her research on Henry DiSpirito for her master’s thesis), and a BA in art education and studio art from SUNY Potsdam. Hopkins-Benton’s publications include Enterprising Waters: The History and Art of New York’s Erie Canal (SUNY Press, 2020), Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial (SUNY Press, 2017), and Breathing Life into Stone: The Sculpture of Henry DiSpirito (Fenimore Art Museum, 2013).
This program is free and open to the public, beginning at 6:30 pm. Registration is required, and can be completed online. For more information, contact the Oneida County History Center at (315) 735-3642 or visit their website.