Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y. – Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, is pleased to announce a new acquisition on view in its Life in the Adirondacks exhibition: a cramped, dilapidated shack, known as “The Closet”, that for two summers was home to a young, talented African-American tenor, Fulton Fryar. Through the combined efforts of Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the Seagle Music Colony, and Adirondack Experience, this historic artifact was saved from demolition and will enlighten thousands of museum visitors on the history of racial discrimination in the Adirondack Park.
A student at the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake in the summers of 1957 and 1958, Mr. Fryar was invited by the colony’s founder John Seagle to travel to the Adirondacks from North Carolina to train and perform with Seagle’s accomplished teachers and his fellow students. He was the first African-American to attend the prestigious camp. While Fryar’s admission to the all-white camp was a progressive move toward integration, it was not an uncomplicated one. Rather than house him in the comfort and comradery of camper bunkhouses, Fryar was given his own accommodations – a one-room shack off the laundry building that he dubbed “The Closet”. Having worked as a sign painter back home, Fryar put his artistic skills to work, dressing up his dark quarters with bright colors. “Always welcome to ‘The Closet’, the home of Fulton Fryar,” was emblazoned cheerfully on the front door, and inspirational quotes adorned the walls. Despite his social isolation, Fryar made the most of his time at the music colony, participating in theatrical productions and decorating stage sets while also learning how to train his voice and hone his talent.
His story was recently captured by Mountain Lake PBS (https://mountainlake.org/fulton/) and Fryar will himself appear at Adirondack Experience on the evening of Monday, August 6th, for a panel discussion of racism and the Black experience in the Adirondack Park (https://www.theadkx.org/exhibitions-events/lectures/african-american-experience-adirondacks/).
About Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake
Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX), accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, shares the history and culture of the Adirondack region through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and culturally rich collections in more than 24 historic and contemporary buildings on a 121-acre campus in the Central Adirondacks. ADKX offers a broad range of programs and activities including special and permanent exhibitions, a brand new 19,000 square foot Life in the Adirondacks interactive exhibition, daily activities with artisans-in-residence, workshops, lectures, nature tours, family and educational programs, and signature events like the Made in the Adirondacks Fair, Rustic Furniture Fair and Antiques Show and Sale and the first year for the NEW Mohawk and Abenaki Art Market. The museum is supported in part with donations from the general public, with some general operating support made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. For additional information, call 518-352-7311 or visit www.theADKX.org.
Photo: Fulton Fryar in The Closet prior to its removal from Seagle Music Colony.
Contact: Ausra Angermann
Director of Marketing