New Exhibition, The Wilderness Diary, Opens at Fenimore Art Museum on July 8

Start date: July 8, 2022
End date: July 31, 2022
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: 5798 STATE HIGHWAY 80 (P.O.BOX 800) COOPERSTOWN, NY 13326
Organizer: Fenimore Art Museum
Phone: 607-547-1400
Fenimore Art Museum | Otsego County

The exhibit is on view from July 8–31.

This new exhibition features the work of artist and mental health advocate Jessica Farrell.

Farrell’s work challenges misconceptions and stigmas, shedding light on the one and five people who struggle with a mental health condition today.

Cooperstown, New York — Fenimore Art Museum presents The Wilderness Diary, opening Friday, July 8 in the Museum’s Community Gallery. This new exhibition features an arresting series of nine portrait paintings, plus a companion book and audio-recording by artist and mental health advocate Jessica Farrell. The project was inspired by Farrell’s Aunt Barbara who wrote a diary in the 1960s-1970s detailing her journey with bipolar disorder. The subjects of Farrell’s paintings have all experienced a mental health struggle; many of them are peer recovery specialists she has worked with in the community. Each person is depicted in their youth with an allegorical animal companion. The Catskills Mountains with their ever-changing and sometimes foreboding skies serve as a backdrop–mirroring the emotional and physical isolation Farrell’s subjects described.

Farrell is a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Delaware & Otsego Counties. She describes the project as “a meditation” on the significant, on-going mental health crisis that plagues this nation. She hopes her work challenges misconceptions and stigmas and sheds light on the one and five people who struggle with a mental health condition today.

Farrell says, “Ultimately, The Wilderness Diary is about triumph over adversity. Despite living with a greatly misunderstood condition, the people I’ve painted advocate for individuals in our community. Their lived experiences challenge misconceptions, offer insight and give all of us hope.”

The exhibit is on view from July 8–31.

HOURS and ADMISSION: Fenimore Art Museum is open daily 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Admission: $15.00 (adults 20-64) and $12.50 (seniors 65+). Free admission for visitors ages 19 and under. Museum members are always admitted free, as are active-duty and retired career military. Through Labor Day, active-duty military and up to five family members are admitted free, through the Blue Star Museum program. Free admission for those receiving SNAP benefits—up to four people—with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. For more information, visit

About Jessica Farrell
Jessica Farrell is a painter who grew up in southern Indiana, studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and currently resides in Delaware County, N.Y. Her paintings explore the vast landscape, verdant forests, abundant wildlife, and the people who live in her community. Farrell is interested in themes that speak to the power and fragility of the human condition and provoke public discourse