On March 31, 2015, the Sam Fox School of Art & Design Professor Paula Wilson (Louis D. Beaumont Artist in Residence) hosted Artist, Curator and IPC President Sara Velas for two sessions on the medium of the panorama for her Extra Dimensional Printmaking Class and 2D Design Class.
(by Sara Velas)
Ms. Velas gave a lecture for the students and guests entitled “The Velaslavasay Panorama & Survival Through Benign Neglect.” She was joined by St. Louis resident Ramey Elliot who unrolled a canvas depicting Monk's Mound (Cahokia), which has not been on view for decades. The 7-foot by 20-foot painting was given to Elliot's family, who once owned farmland at the Cahokia Mounds site before it became a UNESCO World Heritage site. The panel has been signed by Joseph Adamek, a painter who immigrated to St. Louis from Bohemia and worked as a scenic artist for more than 25 years, designing scenery for the St. Louis Municipal Opera in Forest Park, an outdoor amphitheatre. The painting is a section of a moving panorama (an art form by which a canvas was scrolled before an audience with live narration) and it is not known where the other sections of the panorama may have ended up.
Mr. Elliot has been researching the history of Joseph Adamek to learn more about the panel and initially contacted Ms. Velas to find out more about the context of the panorama medium as it existed in the 19th century. In addition to his own research, he has gotten information from Laura Peters (Marketing Manager & Director of Archives at the MUNY) who provided him with the employment record of Adamek at the St. Louis Municipal Opera.
Alongside three groups of students at the Sam Fox School of Art & Design, sessions were attended by representatives of the MUNY and St. Louis Art Museum, relatives of the Ramey-Elliot Families who met for the first time, and Dean Carmon Colangelo of the Sam Fox School of Art & Design, and International Panorama Council members Andy Newman (collector of all things –rama) and Molly Briggs (Artist and School of Art & Design Instructor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.)