NEWPORT — The Winter Speaker Series will return for a 91st season at the Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Ave., starting on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. with political commentator Darrell West of the Brookings Institution.

West will kick off the series with his talk, “Putting Together the Pieces in the U.S. Politics Today.” His position at the Brookings Institution affords him access to the national political scene from the inside.

What can we expect in the aftermath of the 2018 mid-term elections, and what might the outlook be for 2019 and 2020? How is President Donald Trump’s job performance, and what is in store for Congress and public policy? West will suggest what people should watch for in the coming months, as well as how current political and economic developments may shape America’s future and impact the world.

The speaker series continues for six weeks, with each session on Saturday at 2 p.m. Future sessions include:

• Ben Davis, national contemporary art critic for Artnet News, “The Character of the Artist & the Artist as a Character” on Jan. 26. Davis looks at the kinds of stories society has cultivated about artists on film in the last century, and what those stories tell us about the changing place of art in the contemporary imagination.

• Vincent Cannato, associate professor of history at University of Massachusetts-Boston, “The Ellis Island Effect: Attitudes Towards Immigration, Then and Now” on Feb. 2. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the heyday of America’s last great wave of immigration, the public and its politicians debated which immigrants were fit for entry and which were considered “undesirable.” Today, Ellis Island’s story provides an important historical precedent regarding how Americans approached the question of immigration a century ago, and perhaps can provide timely lessons to consider now.

• Richard Dowling, acclaimed concert pianist and lecturer, “Great Scott! A Joplin Celebration” on Feb. 9. The first pianist in the world to perform all of Scott Joplin’s piano works in public, Dowling has performed at Carnegie Hall and has been nominated for a Grammy Award. He will also provide commentary on the performed pieces.

• Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art, “Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables” on Feb. 16. Wood sought pictorially to fashion a world of harmony and prosperity, but underneath its bucolic exterior, his art reflects the anxiety of being an artist and a deeply repressed homosexual in the Midwest in the 1930s. Humphreville will discuss Wood's work and its place in culture.

• David Cooper, the James V. Forrestal professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College, “Who’s Afraid of the ‘Deep State?’ The Influence of Bureaucracy on National Security” on Feb. 23. Does America really have a national security “deep state?” If by this loaded term we mean a sprawling bureaucracy filled mostly by a permanent cadre of lower-level officials, then the answer is yes. But Cooper explains how much influence this so-called “deep state” really exerts, and more importantly, to what ends?

Individual tickets to a session cost $20, $15 for members. A series subscription is available for $100, $75 for members. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit NewportArtMuseum.org.