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Skidmore College

Leslie Snow Féron ’48 leaves millions—and lasting impact

May 15, 2018
Leslie Snow Féron
Leslie Snow Féron

Leslie Snow Féron '48—artist, Broadway dancer, international teacher, poet and now, philanthropist—recently revealed the depth of her devotion to the Skidmore community with the gift of a $2.4 million unrestricted bequest.

Leslie graduated from Skidmore with a degree in art in 1948. She went on to a career as a dancer, performing on and off Broadway, including with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She taught dance at the Bath Academy of Art in Wiltshire, England, and the American School in London.

In 1962 she married Louis Féron (1901–98), a renowned goldsmith, sculptor and jeweler. Louis worked and taught in France and Costa Rica before moving to the United States, where he spent the rest of his life designing and creating sacred vessels, jewelry and sculpture. His work has been exhibited in the Louvre in Paris and admitted to the permanent collections of several museums, including Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Installation view, Rose Ocean: Living with Duchamp, on view at the Frances Young Tang '61 Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, February 17 through May 20, 2018. Photograph by Art Evans.
Installation view, Rose Ocean: Living with Duchamp, at the 
Frances Young Tang '61 Teaching Museum and Art Gallery,
February 17–May 20, 2018. Photograph by Art Evans.

Leslie and Louis lived out their later years in her native Snowville, New Hampshire, where they both continued to sculpt, paint and write in a cozy post-and-beam studio. In 2013, Leslie published a memoir of their life together, titled A Voyage Remembered.

Leslie, who had no children, left the entirety of her and Louis's estate to just two charities: the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, keeper of Louis' legacy, and Skidmore. Her decision to support two organizations dedicated to the arts and education is a testament to the people and places that enriched her own life. Her generosity will leave a lasting impact on future generations.

In addition to Leslie's tremendous monetary bequest, Skidmore was also able to select a delightful array of Louis's work for the permanent collection at the Frances Young Tang '61 Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, as well as a selection of his personal sculpting tools. A plaster bust by Louis of famous French-American artist Marcel Duchamp and previously undiscovered photographs of the two artists together during Duchamp's modeling for the bust have already sparked intense interest in the art world. Both were displayed as part of a Tang exhibition Rose Ocean: Living with Duchamp.

Leslie's gift will be used to support the single largest academic initiative in Skidmore's history, the Center for Integrated Sciences. The center will be a hub that fosters unique interdisciplinary connections between and among the sciences, humanities, social sciences and the arts.

Creating Our Future: The Campaign for Skidmore is dedicated to the principles Skidmore holds dear: creativity, collaboration and community. Visit the website to learn more about the Campaign.

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