A Postcard From Lily Dale

This fifty-five minute documentary is the story of an artist, Marshall Arisman, whose creative life was highly influenced by his grandmother—a noted and gifted medium who lived in a Spiritualist community called Lily Dale in upstate New York.  As a Spiritualist minister who was herself a talented artist, Louise Arisman presented her young grandson with the possibility that life everlasting was not simply a religious hope, but one she could prove through her work as a medium every day as she communicated with those who had “passed over” bringing messages back to the living. The fascination with that possibility has shaped his work as an artist.


      The film follows Marshall as he returns to the village of Lily Dale, New York, his grandmother’s home and community for over 50 years and the site of the church she founded.  Using archival footage and outtakes from a documentary on his work and process (Facing The Audience: The Art of Marshall Arisman, 2003) along with photographs, interviews with current Lily Dale psychics and new footage shot for the film we explore the personal link between his own creative output and the impact that his early immersion into psychic phenomenon is realized in his thinking and his work.  Along the way we discover some of the history of Spiritualism, and how it influenced the work of writers and artists of the early Twentieth Century—William Yeats, Aldous Huxley, and prominent artists such as Kupka and Kandinsky. We learn of Louise Arisman’s psychic reading for Lucille Ball who was born in Jamestown, New York, not far from Lily Dale.  Her museum and library are located there and once a year during Lucy Week, she is honored for a celebrated career predicted by Louise.  

About The Film

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