Art in the Cemetery

Changing Fashion of Grave Markers

The guest speaker for the Jamestown Historical Society’s 2021 annual meeting was Anne Tait, MFA, Professor of Art at Roger Williams University. Her presentation was titled “Art in the Cemetery, Changing Fashion of Grave Markers.

Anne Tait teaches printmaking and painting in the Visual Arts Program at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. Her degrees are in literature, fine arts printmaking and painting. She has also extensively studied lettering and embroidery over her 30 years of making artwork. In her prints, glass pieces and the accompanying images from her research she presents traditional images of death considering the ways people attempt to remember through memorials.

 Her research on cemetery imagery and traditions of 19th-century print technology addresses the culmination of earthly life. Tait contends with this framework and the implications this asks from our attempts to remember a life through monument and memorials. Professor Tait has been supported in her work through grants from the Rhode Island Council for the Arts, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Vermont Council for the Humanities and the Roger Williams University. Her work in Vermont resulted in an exhibition in Rutland Vermont where she exhibited designs and prints from the Vermont Marble Company in an exhibition entitled Enduring Traditions: The Art of Memorials from the Marble Valley. She has also received awards for her efforts to preserve urban cemeteries in Providence. Most recently, she was artist in residence at Gettysburg National Cemetery. She presently serves on the boards of the Association for Gravestone Studies, Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island, and Trinity Gateway Historical Improvement Association for Grace Church Cemetery where she was artist in residence from 2006-2011.