Return home

Author of ‘Roots’ among six inductees for the Rome Arts Hall of Fame

Sean I. Mills
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 3/29/23

From a local Adirondacks nature lover to the original author of “Roots,” six past and present Romans will be inducted this year into the Rome Arts Hall of Fame.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Author of ‘Roots’ among six inductees for the Rome Arts Hall of Fame


ROME — From a local Adirondacks nature lover to the original author of “Roots,” six past and present Romans will be inducted this year into the Rome Arts Hall of Fame at a May 7 ceremony at the Capitol Theatre, according to Capitol Arts Complex officials.

The ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. May 7 at the Capitol Theatre on West Dominick Street.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

Tickets will be sold at the door at $15 for adults and $10 for students, with advanced tickets going on sale online on April 15.

“In Rome, the Capitol Theatre has been the center of the community and a hub of arts and entertainment for 95 years.

Presenting the Rome Arts Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in the historic theater is a fitting way to honor, recognize and preserve the contributions to the community made by these artists,” said Art Pierce, executive director of the Capitol Arts Complex.


• Tom Amidon: A visual artist and Rome native whose artwork has been exhibited at the Rome Arts and Community Center, the View in Old Forge, Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute and Sculpture Space in Utica, and the Arkel Museum in Canajoharie.

A new exhibit of his work will be held from April 27 through May 26 at the Rome Art and Community Center.

• Alex Haley: Author of “Roots: The Saga of an American Family” in 1976, which was later turned into an award-winning television mini-series.

Capitol officials said Haley lived in Rome for several years during the period in which he wrote the book. Haley died in 1992.

• Sandra DeVisser: An accomplished visual artist and educator, DeVisser helped form the organization that operates the Rome Art and Community Center, and she helped found the Dodge-Pratt-Northam Art and Community Center in Boonville.

Her mixed media work has been exhibited throughout Central New York.

• Peter Costianes: A vocalist with the Rome Choral Society, B Sharp Musical Club and Hamilton College Masterworks Chorale, Costianes was also a theatrical director and actor with the Rome Community Theater and the Capitol’s SummerStage.

• Maria Ringlund: A portrait photographer who also works in photo restoration, Ringlund also provides space for local visual artists and crafters at The Photo Shoppe Fusion Art and Gift Gallery on upper Turin Road.

• Norm Landis: A retired editor with the Daily Sentinel, Landis is the author of the updated third edition of the “Adirondack Mountain Club’s West-Central Trail Guide,” and is a contributing author to several more Adirondack-based publications.

The Rome Arts Hall of Fame began in 2005 to honor individuals from the Rome community who have a significant involvement in the performing, visual or literary arts.

These 2023 inductees are the 16th class for the Rome Arts Hall of Fame, according to organization officials..

“We try to respect each of those three categories,” said Maria Rich, co-chair of the Hall of Fame committee.

Rich said they gather nominees from the community throughout the year, with nominees carrying over to following years if they are not chosen.

Rich said committee members do not judge the quality of the work, and instead choose their nominees based on their commitment to the arts.

“The Rome community should be happy to honor the individuals who are being inducted as an appreciation of their work in the community,” Rich stated.

“The committee determined that they were good representatives of the arts,” the committee co-chair added.

The ceremony will include not just the inductees, but will also give attendees a glimpse at a future generation of budding artists with a performance by Rome Free Academy’s show choir Rhapsody.

Refreshments will be served following the induction ceremony, officials added.

A full list of all 95 members of the Rome Arts Hall of Fame is available at the website


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here