Mixed Media | April 2021 | General Arts & Culture | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
COVID vaccinations are finally on the rise, and with them? Why, spring! April's Mixed Media arts-related news roundup is heavy on happy Hudson Valley happenings involving independent movie theaters and arts venues, as well as increased funding for area creative organizations. As area residents line up to get their shot in the arm, it's great to see these vital arts outlets getting their own as well.

Moviehouse to Relaunch Under New Owners

We're delighted to say that despite doomy forecasts the curtain hasn't yet closed on brick-and-mortar cinemas, at least not in our region. With Hollywood's recent move toward releasing films direct to TV, it was highly surprising that that there were a whopping 11 bids on the property when long-running Millerton indie/repertory cinema the Moviehouse recently went up for sale. The new owners are David Maltby and Chelsea Altman, an energized young New York couple with ties to the Millerton area. The pair are renovating the space, which currently has a cafe and four screening rooms, putting in an elevator and turning one of the screening rooms into a lounge area that will serve beer and wine and perhaps liquors and cocktails. Altman, who owns several Brooklyn bars, and Maltby hope to open the revamped theater by Memorial Day weekend. Presently, the Moviehouse is offering virtual screenings of several films.

Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice Gets New Home

Thanks to a generous grant from New York State facilitated by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, the phenomenal Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, which in 2021 marks its 12th year of celebrating the human voice via myriad music, now has a permanent space in its namesake Ulster County hometown. The festival organization has acquired the historic former Phoenicia Wesleyan Church and parsonage on Main Street, which it plans to renovate into a year-round multiuse site that will host live, festival-affiliated concerts and perhaps serve as a studio for livestream performances. "We hope to see, as soon as possible, multiple events in the church, and we hope to transform the parsonage into our offices," says Maria Todaro, the fest's founder and director. "The basement of the church is bright and huge and has bathrooms and a kitchen. It would be ideal for an art gallery, a professional office, [or] a 'speakeasy.'" The festival group made Hudson Valley headlines in 2020 with its response to COVID-19: a drive-in performance of Puccini's "Tosca" at the Tech City complex in Kingston. Todaro adds that the 2021 Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, which has taken place at multiple spots in the Phoenicia area since 2009, is currently in the planning stages and looking to return this August.

Woodstock Film Festival Announces Filmmakers Residency

The Woodstock Film Festival, in collaboration with White Feather Farm Foundation, brings news of the implementation of the festival's inaugural filmmakers residency and incubator program. The residency will be held throughout May at White Feather Farm's new residential property in Woodstock, minutes away from the farm's organic agricultural operation. The mentored program will host four filmmakers from diverse, underrepresented backgrounds who are each working on full-length documentaries that focus on social-justice themes (e.g., racism, climate change, food insecurity, and immigration). "This initiative has been a long time coming given the Woodstock Film Festival's history of championing visionary storytellers who strive to make our world a better place," says the Woodstock Film Festival's cofounder and executive director, Meira Blaustein. "We are thankful for the opportunity to bring the fellows, mentors, staff and community at large together, and look forward to seeing these promising filmmakers hone their creative voices." The 22nd Woodstock Film Festival itself will take place from September 29 through October 3.

Rhinebeck Writers Retreat Gets Sizeable NEA Grant

Concurrent with its 10th anniversary, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat recently received quite a nice birthday present. The center's executive director, Kathy Evans, recently announced that the retreat has been approved for a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts, to support its musical theater writer summer residencies and Triple R reading and residency program. Founded in 2011, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat offers a sanctuary in the heart of the Hudson Valley for musical theater writers to develop their new works. "The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this project from Rhinebeck Writers Retreat," says Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. "Rhinebeck Writers Retreat is among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence and resilience during this very challenging year."

About The Author

Peter Aaron

Peter Aaron is the arts editor for Chronogram.
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