The upstate New York town of Woodstock is most famous for the legendary 1969 music festival that took its name, which was actually held at Max Yasgur‘s dairy farm almost 60 miles away in Bethel, N.Y.

The real art community of Woodstock will be celebrated Thursday, April 21, with a free program at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport.

In honor of the museum’s Simple Pleasures exhibition, you’re invited to an evening inspired by the community of artists active in Woodstock, N.Y., during the 1930s and 1940s. Known for its picturesque beauty and not far from New York City, Woodstock has long been a gathering spot for artists, including Doris Lee, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Lucile Blanch, and others, according to the Figge.

Learn more about the area’s fascinating history and the artists who worked there during a 6:30 p.m. talk by Assistant Curator Vanessa Sage, followed by a Woodstock-inspired art activity. Themed attire is encouraged, so break out those A-line skirts and Hawaiian shirts! Shop Trash Can Annie’s in downtown Davenport (311 E. 2nd St.) for a selection of vintage outfits for the evening. 

Come early to enjoy a cash bar from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Registration is not required for this in-person event, and admission is FREE at the Figge from 5-8 p.m. every Thursday evening. 

Doris Lee (1905-1983) was born in Aledo, Ill., and settled in Woodstock, N.Y.

An Aledo native, Doris Lee (1905-1983) was one of the most recognized artists in the country during the 1930s and 1940s and a leading figure at the Woodstock Art Colony, according to the Figge.

In response to the rise of abstract expressionism, Lee deftly absorbed artistic innovations into a continuation of her own visual style. Now, the Figge exhibition of her body of work, Simple Pleasures, reveals her remarkable ability to merge abstraction with the appeal of the everyday, offering a distinctive visual identity that successfully bridged various artistic “camps” that arose in the post–World War II era, according to the museum.

A painting by Doris Lee in the “Simple Pleasures” exhibit (courtesy of the Figge Art Museum).

Simple Pleasures (which is on view through May 8) presents the first major critical assessment of Lee’s works and includes over 70 works by the artist spanning the 1930s through the 1960s from both public and private collections. The exhibit features paintings, drawings, prints, and commercial designs in fabric and pottery. A selection of ephemera, such as product advertisements by companies that commissioned images from Lee, will also be included. A richly illustrated, full-color catalogue with four essays accompanies the exhibition and will be available in the museum store.

Lee garnered attention in 1935 when her painting Thanksgiving won the prestigious Logan Prize at the Art Institute of Chicago. Soon after, she received a commission to paint two murals for the General Post Office in Washington, D.C. (now the Ariel Rios Federal Building). During the late 1940s and 1950s, she traveled to North Africa, Cuba, and Mexico to fulfill article and illustration commissions from Life magazine.

Free admission and programs for Thursdays at the Figge are sponsored by Chris and Mary Rayburn. For more information, visit the Figge website.