The hotbed of American art since the time of Thomas Cole and Frederick Church, the Hudson Valley has managed to nurture a thriving art scene—from Dia:Beacon to the slew of Main Street galleries exhibiting local artists. Organize a day trip and see some art while you get to know a local town—when the cold sets in, you’ll be grateful for these cozy indoor culture havens.
In 2003, Dia:Beacon opened in an old Nabisco box factory on the Hudson River banks. It helped transform the city of Beacon and is now a must-see attraction in the area. The industrial building houses contemporary titans, like Richard Serra and Louise Bourgeois, as well as a small bookshop and cafe. The current display includes large-scale works by Dorothea Rockburne, Blinky Palermo, and Dan Flavin.
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center was originally founded as the Vassar College Art Gallery in the 19th century. Its regal, intricate exterior invites you into the spacious, 36,000-square foot gallery, with its permanent collection of over 21,000 pieces. This fall, check out “Past Time: Geology in European and American Art,” featuring watercolors, drawings, and oil sketches of the natural world, up through December 9.
Another college gallery, on a much smaller but no less impressive scale, is the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. With over 9,000 square feet of exhibition space, it’s one of the largest museums in the SUNY system. There is always a diversity of work on display across its six galleries. Through December 9, “The Trans List” showcases renowned photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ portraits of transgender celebrities and activists.
Burnette Gallery is a newcomer to the Woodstock art scene. The quaint, house-turned-exhibition space opened in July with a mission to showcase contemporary artists, both local and global. Rotating curators will select the works. Don’t miss the latest exhibition “Fire in the Belly,” which explores the female experience and features 26 local artists.
Newburgh is seeing a cultural resurgence, and The Holland Tunnel Gallery is the most recent contribution to this new breath of artistic life. Established in 1997 in Williamsburg, the gallery group opened its fourth location in May in an 1860s brick warehouse in downtown Newburgh. Since opening, the venue has hosted exhibitions, performances, concerts, and movie screenings.
On the second Saturday of every month, Beacon sings the glory of its thriving arts scene. Second Saturday is a festive celebration of the city’s artistic minds, during which galleries and shops stay open until 9pm and special pop-up events take over the town, ranging from art receptions to culinary tastings to musical performances.