"Boys of a certain age who demonstrate an interest or who have a talent in the visual arts need to be in a refuge, a studio if you will, where they can let their imagination free and experiment with a variety of expressive techniques."Gail Laferriere, AOF Visual ARts Chairperson for 42 Years
The creativity and energy of our students is on full display in our new Ordway Art Gallery. Visitors to this unique space will find hand-crafted oak cabinets created by our talented staff members and an Alumni Spotlight that currently features the photography of Moises Esquenazi '89. For more information about the Ordway Art Gallery, please contact Cristina Pinton, Chairperson of Visual Arts, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the first time ever, this fall the faculty and staff of Avon Old Farms School submitted art for a showing in the Ordway Art Gallery. Art ranged from photography, to painting, to digital design, to sculpture, to carvings.
Greg Calibey — Art Teacher
Semaj Campbell — Photography & Science Teacher
Ryan Davey — Digital Media & Latin Teacher
James Kassel — Woodworking Teacher
Jacqueline Keller — Marketing Project Manager & School Photographer
Kristen Kerwin — Associate Director of Marketing
Brian Lee — Art Teacher
Cristina Pinton — Director of Visual Arts
Willie Reller — Student Center Manager
Donna Vincent — Housekeeper
A native of Bogota, Colombia, Moises Esquenazi arrived at Avon Old Farms in 1985 and immediately gravitated towards the arts, leading him to the fields of Architecture and Arts earning a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California. In addition to his work in interior design and architecture, he is an accomplished Photographer having exhibited at the Makor Center in New York City, GalleryB in Sag Harbor, NY and ALM in St. Tropez, France. Moises often incorporates his photography into interior projects in addition to creating bespoke furniture and wall coverings. His aesthetic is best described as “warm modern” as he incorporates organic textures and material along with classical and eclectic furniture into a playful, modern context.
Moisesʼ Palm Springs home was featured as one of the "Best Homes in America" in the 25th Anniversary edition of Metropolitan Home, and his Hamptons home was recently the feature story for the cover of the magazine. Additional work has been published in House Beautiful, the Los Angeles Times, SPACE Magazine, the London Telegraph, Hamptons Cottages & Gardens as well as House and Garden.
Recently, Moises opened a gallery and concept store in Miami alongside his work studio. This new concept has evolved through different pop-ups and collaborations. The last event was StickerDisco- a mashup of sticker store, bar and disco music which will most likely resurface at a different location next year.
Students from the Afternoon Independent Project Program have several paintings on display in the Ordway Art Gallery. Additionally, Al Funai from the Class of 1955 donated eighteen pieces of pugilistic art to the school. Through the strong efforts of our art department, David Rothschild '05 who assisted with the appraisal of the collection, and the maintenance staff, part of the collection is now on display in the art gallery between the Commons and the Casey Brown Auditorium.
The collection features the first "Fight of the Century" - April 17, 1860 - between Englishman Tom Sayers and American John Heenan.
In 1970, Gail Tyskwicz Laferriere was hired as the first full-time female faculty member to live on the campus of Avon Old Farms School. Her job was to take hold of the scattered art department. Gail married soon after starting her work at Avon, and quickly became known around campus as ‘Mrs. L.’
Throughout her tenure at Avon, Mrs. L became synonymous with the visual arts at Avon - she planned annual art trips to New York City, helped develop award-winning yearbooks, and created the annual Commencement Art Show. Also of note, Mrs. L was a guiding hand in the creation of the original Ordway Art Gallery housed in the water tower.
Mrs. L remembers teaching her first ceramics classes in the classroom off of the Chapel, and others in the old studio in Brown House. The opening of the Estabrook Fine Arts Center in 1989 was a milestone for the visual arts, providing a visually engaging and comfortable space that has remained Gail’s “home” for nearly 25 years. After 42 years of carrying the Avon art department and bringing it a point where it would live off of its own momentum, it was time for Mrs. L to retire and start a new chapter of adventure in her life – a chapter full of travel.
Mrs. L has been publicly recognized for her extraordinary efforts on several occasions. She won the Swan Award from the WALKS Foundation in 1991 for her high standard of teaching, character, and leadership, and was named Avon’s Teacher of the Year in 1992. She has exhibited in many regional galleries—and as far away as Italy—and her works can be found in American and international corporate and private collections.
Given that it is Theodate Pope Riddle’s 150th birthday and Avon’s 2027 centennial is only a decade away, a new exhibit display case will be dedicated to Mrs. Riddle in the Ordway Art Gallery. The display is an exceptional way to celebrate Avon Old Farms and Mrs. Riddle’s legacy. The exhibit displays: some of the original tools used by local craftsmen to forge, carve, and chisel this campus into being; original hardware, elevation drawings of Mrs. Riddle’s vision for this building complex; and photographs of the campus being constructed by hand in the 1920s. We are grateful to the Class of 1963 Differ Fund for underwriting the cost of this exhibit.