Len Tantillo Exhibit at Albany Institute of History & Art Includes “Keeping a Tradition Alive” from Excelsior College

Albany, NY — In 2011, Excelsior College’s then president, John Ebersole, commissioned Len Tantillo to create a historical work in honor of the College’s 40th anniversary. Now, 10 years later, Excelsior is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the painting is on loan to Albany Institute of History & Art as part of the “A Sense of Time: The Historical Art of L.F. Tantillo” exhibition.

Tantillo’s painting, “Keeping a Tradition Alive,” links Excelsior’s modern-day, remote learning style to the educational endeavors of the American lyceum of the 19th century. This early form of adult education is portrayed in the painting, and the lanterns in the scene symbolize the light of knowledge. The characters in the painting symbolize predecessors of Excelsior students. Adults of all ages and backgrounds came to learn from the prominent teachers of the lyceum movement just as students of all backgrounds find light and education at Excelsior College.

“The refrain of a college without walls kept echoing in my head. Education that was not tied to a specific place was my inspiration for the painting,” said artist Len Tantillo.

In the mid- to late 19th century, lacking campuses and classrooms, lyceums took place in any available outdoor or indoor location. They were all about learning. The painting “Keeping a Tradition Alive” celebrates the dedication of highly motivated teachers and the indomitable spirit of adult students willing to give up their free time in pursuit of knowledge.

“Excelsior College is proud to have this Tantillo painting as part of its history, especially now as the College celebrates its 50th anniversary,” said David Schejbal, president of Excelsior College. “Albany Institute of History & Art curated a prolific exhibit of Tantillo’s work, and Excelsior is pleased to share this painting with the museum and the public.”

“A Sense of Time: The Historical Art of L.F. Tantillo” is on display at the Albany Institute of History & Art through July 25.

“The Albany Institute of History & Art is thrilled to host this 40-year retrospective of Len’s work,” says Albany Institute of History & Art’s Executive Director Tammis Groft. “Len Tantillo is one of the most notable painters of historical subjects and marine views of our time. He’s recognized for his ability to capture specific moments and visualize places of the past through his paintings, and visitors have been awestruck by the scope and scale of his work.”

Watch Len Tantillo talk more about his work.


Media Contact Excelsior College:

Erin Coufal, ecoufal@excelsior.edu, 518-608-8498


Excelsior College is an accredited, not-for-profit online college focused on helping adults complete their degrees and advance their careers. The college contributes to the development of a diverse, educated, and career-ready society by valuing lifelong learning with an emphasis on serving individuals historically underrepresented in higher education. Founded in 1971, Excelsior meets students where they are — academically and geographically — removing obstacles to the educational goals of adults pursuing continuing education and degree completion. Our pillars include innovation, flexibility, academic excellence, and integrity.