Hudson Valley Art Scene

Arts & Culture

Arts and culture are what define the Hudson Valley.
The communities along the river are cultural wellsprings, with an abundance of performances, like music and dance, and creative communities for artists and writers. The region also boasts world-class theaters and museums, like Dia:Beacon, Bard’s Fisher Center, and the Bardavon. The region’s vibrant culture can only be matched by the Hudson Valley’s history, still evident in the form of its historic buildings, streets, and landmarks.


Follow that Spark: Brooklyn Designer Turns Farm Visit into Book that Gives Back

When Michelle Layne Lawson saw the headline, she immediately felt it was speaking straight to her. “It said ‘Attention Bleeding Hearts,'” she recalls, “I just had to open it.” In August, Lawson, a digital designer who lives in Brooklyn, found herself reading this story from Chronogram's Eat. Stay. Play. newsletter about Hudson resident Michael Bucci and his farm full of rescue animals, which was desperately seeking financial support. “My heart just went straight out,” she says. “I’d done a year-long series on rescue dogs that got bigger than I expected; other than that, I’d been in a rut. I hadn’t felt inspired in a long time.” She couldn’t find an email or a website for Bucci. Some might have stopped there, but Lawson was too intrigued by the description of his rescue work and welcoming of special needs children and young adults into the circle of love. “I called and asked if I could visit and he said ‘you’d make my day,’” she says. “He was just so incredibly sweet.” So she headed up to Hudson on a Saturday morning a few days later and was delighted to find the farm and its inhabitants just as described. “There were people around—sometimes there’s no one—but it was a busy weekend,” she says. “I was immediately welcomed by a group of chickens coming to check me out, like ‘Who are you? Welcome!’ and I was just overwhelmed by the good energy.” Taking the tour, her amazement only grew. “Michael showed me around and I kept wishing I had a recorder or a notebook, because he’s just so full of wisdom, and he frames what he’s doing so eloquently,” she says. From the Chronogram story, she knew that Bucci was engaged in a constant struggle to keep donations and volunteers coming. And something he said when she began casually snapping photos struck a spark. “I was thinking, some of these are pretty good, maybe I’ll put them on Instagram,” she says. “Then Michael said, ‘People take all kinds of pictures, but we never get to see them,’ and I said, ‘What if I made a book? You’d see that and maybe I could sell it and the proceeds could go to the farm.” Even part way through that first tour, Lawton knew that Bucci deserved a wider audience. “He’s not at all digital, but he’s awe-inspiring,” she says. “He’s selfless—he’s constantly putting the animals first, sometimes to his own detriment, but you can see how vibrantly healthy they are. They follow him around, he gives them everything—I felt that the fact that he isn’t digitally connected was the only thing keeping him from a wider audience.” Despite the fact that it had been a decade since she’d done print work, Lawton found that the book came together smoothly. “There was a feeling of great ease, of being on a clear path,” she says. “I got great help from Michael’s neighbor, Sarah Berney, who helped me put the launch together, and the whole process of getting it laid out and sent to the printer took 7 days—after which I found out the printer was giving me a nonprofit discount. The whole process just flowed.” The result is Tomorrow, Tomorrow: 150 Acres of Hope and Healing, a journey recounted in evocative shots in which the animals seem to be engaging deeply with the lens and the woman behind it, and a portrait of a gentleman farmer truly worthy of the name. It’s being marketed through a dedicated website that also tells the story of the farm, giving Bucci the digital presence he deserves—and 100 percent of the $29 cost goes to supporting the rescue mission. And meanwhile, Lawton’s got her groove back. “Putting together and designing this book has felt like the biggest gift ever,” she says. “I feel like it’s brought me back to life, to the realization that we are all helping each other. Raising awareness through photography just feels like the right road to go down right now. I’m thinking of putting together a photo book with shots from some of the marches and demonstrations I’ve been attending.” A book signing and launch party for Tomorrow, Tomorrow will be held at de Marchin in Hudson on Saturday, December 7 fro 6-8pm. You can also support the farm directly, in any amount, by contributing to Bucci’s Gofundme page. ...

Tags: Books & Authors

Marinella Senatore Leads Cold Spring in an Interactive Day of Dance 11/16

On Saturday, November 16 the streets of Cold Spring, NY will be flooded with an influx of performers and audience-participants as Marinella Senatore and The School of Narrative Dance lead local musicians, artists, and athletes and dancers in a day of creative expression and community celebration, curated by Ylinka Barotto.

Tags: Dance

Malcolm Nance Gets Ready to Drop The Plot to Betray America

On November 12, counterterrorist and intelligence specialist Malcolm Nance will release his latest book, The Plot to Betray America, detailing evidence he's gathered on the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia. Ahead of the release, he speaks at Helsinki Hudson on 11/10.

Tags: Books & Authors

5 November Events in the Hudson Valley

November’s Hudson Valley cornucopia brings jazz, film, maritime model making, a celebrated explorer and TV host, and—despite Halloween being last week—more zombies!

Tags: General Arts & Culture

Pete Souza Presents at Bardavon

A Q&A with the Presidential Photographer and Author of Shade
Former President Barack Obama in Luang Prabang, Laos, 2016. Image by Pete Souza.

Tags: Visual Art

Remembering Poet-Scholar Pauline Uchmanowicz (1957-2019)

Remembering Pauline Uchmanowicz, an accomplished scholar and poet and frequent contributing writer for numerous Chronogram pieces.

Tags: General Arts & Culture

Un/Natural Selection: The Off-Kilter Animal Underworld of Illustrator Chris Buzelli

Chronogram's November 2019 Portfolio Artist
Like dreams dripping with cryptic symbolism, Chris Buzelli’s distorted biomorphic illustrations blend the innocuous and the bizarre in order to scrutinize ourassumptions.

Tags: Visual Art

Mirna Bamieh's Palestine Hosting Society Reclaims Cuisine—And Cultural Identity

The Palestinian Hosting Society, which began as a way to share Palestinian cultural identity, has developed into a way to return agency to a displaced people.

Tags: General Arts & Culture

Hudson Vally Bookstore Owners Pick 6 Books for November Reading

Six local literary picks for your November reading from the experts at Chatham Bookstore, Postmark Books, Rough Draft, Spotty Dog, Golden Notebook, and Oblong Books.

Tags: Books & Authors

Album Review: Blueberry | Tempest in a Teacup

Album review of Tempest in a Teacup by Blueberry.

Tags: Music

Album Review: Jay Anderson | Deepscape

Album review of Deepscape by Jay Anderson.

Tags: Music

Album Review: Patrick Higgins | Dossier

Album review of Dossier by Patrick Higgins.

Tags: Music

Album Review: The Acquaintances | Pleased to Meetcha!

Album review of Pleased to Meetcha! by The Acquaintances.

Tags: Music

Doug Motel Reveals Multifaceted Talent in "Shiva Arms" at Denizen Theatre

In his one-man show “Shiva Arms,” actor/writer Doug Motel pirouettes through 11 roles and a sine graph of grief and hilarity.

Tags: Theater

Ruby Silvious Exhibits Her Viral Teabag Art and Other Tiny Wonders in Woodstock

Teabag-painting, Insta-famous artist Ruby Silvious is renowned for embracing unorthodox found materials in her small-scale work.

Tags: Visual Art

When Time Disappears: "JAMOT" A Whimsical Musical at Bridge Street Theatre

With a goose for mayor and a wily Rhymester, the whimsical new musical “JAMOT” playfully explores the nature of time.

Tags: Theater

9 Things to Do this November in the Hudson Valley

A list of 10 happenings this November in the Hudson Valley.

Tags: General Arts & Culture

A Q&A with Susannah Cahalan, Author of The Great Pretender

Bestselling author Suzannah Cahalan dives into mental illness in her new book The Great Pretender.

Tags: Books & Authors

10 November Exhibitions for the Hudson Valley Art Lover

A Hudson Valley gallery guide for November.

Tags: Visual Art

Grandmaster (News) Flash: 6 Live Music Shows to Catch this Month

Six live music shows to pencil in from Grandmaster Flash to Patty Griffin.

Tags: Music

Red Regatta: Melissa McGill's Environmental Art in Venice, Italy

Melissa McGill’s Red Regatta project dotted the Venice lagoon with red-sailed boats.

Tags: Visual Art

A Haunting Handful of Hudson Valley Happenings

Boo! Along with some other fun picks, here’s a couple of spooky happenings with which to haunt your week here in the Hudson Valley. Happy Halloween!

Tags: General Arts & Culture

Laugh into 2020 with These Six Hudson Valley Comedy Shows

Laughter may not heal wounds or cure cancer, but it sure is a nice balm to whatever troubles you. Whether you had a good, bad, or aggressively mediocre year, these six upcoming comedy shows in the Hudson Valley will help you cross the 2019 finish line in stitches.

Tags: Comedy

Jebah Baum's "The Tragic Plot" at Beacon Artists Union

Artist Jebah Baum articulates that the theme of “The Tragic Plot,” his upcoming exhibition at the Beacon Artists Union (BAU), comes from the classical Greek idea of “anagnorisis."

Tags: Visual Art

Five Fall Festivities in the Hudson Valley

On the ticket in the coming weeks: modern dance, locally made artisan gifts, surreal puppetry, fine jazz, and one of the area’s longest-running food festivals.

Tags: General Arts & Culture

A Very, Very, Very Fine Haus

New Paltz’s Haus of Peculiar Brings Family, Advocacy, and Art to the Local Drag Scene
Nearly nude bodies and fully beat faces in a wild rumpus finale set to Lady Gaga concludes another group performance at BSP in Kingston—but the heartbeat of Hudson Valley drag lies beyond the stage and back home. For those involved in the scene, drag takes on a unique and personal meaning for each individual. For New Paltz-based troupe Haus of Peculiar, drag is a homecoming: It means artistic expression, a safe space, and a warm dinner cooking on the stove in a place where you're loved, supported, and appreciated by your chosen family. “There’s not a big queer family moment happening in drag houses, at least not as widely as one might think,” 26-year-old performer Venus says, reflecting on what sets the Haus, where a number of queens and performers reside, apart. “Here you kind of get that and the added bonus is—we do drag.” At “Loosey Goosey,” the Haus’ monthly party-show at BSP, Strawberry, 22, dressed in a black evening gown, gives a morose tribute to their long distance spouse, silencing the crowd in suspended captivation. A black screen descends downstage with projected white text that transcribes a narration in French. Strawberry emerges, beginning a passionate opera-noir set to Mitski’s “Your Best American Girl,” choreographed with wistful, romantic gestures. The voice of the narration was Strawberry’s partner (and fellow performer) Mauve, who had to return to their Canadian home shortly after their wedding earlier this year. “What we do, it brings back so much childhood—and there’s the way that we play, the way that we dress up, and the way that we embrace that intense release of energy. I think we found our home doing that and some people found their home watching us,” Strawberry says. “I think we’re all trying to escape the trap of trying to be somebody who we’re not.” Strawberry has been with the Haus since its unofficial founding five or six years ago. Since then, recounting interactions they’ve had with newcomers and audience members in recent years, they say it’s been an “intense, long, and very diverse history that’s led us to the point where people are now coming into our spaces and feeling, in some cases, that they feel more at home than they’ve ever felt in their lives.” One of those newcomers is Showponii, 24, who has been performing with the haus for about eighteen months and is currently their first and only drag king (a performer whose drag persona is male). In that relatively short time, he’s observed and immersed himself in the close-knit and supportive culture of this particular drag home. “We're an actual family that wants to build each other up and see each other succeed—instead of tearing performers down out of jealousy,” he says, as the latter can be all too common in other, more competitive drag communities. “We also try to understand each other as people as much as we can, in order to be a better ally to the marginalized queer people in our haus, along with cultivating spaces where everyone can feel safe.” A number of performers agree that the foundation of support at the Haus of Peculiar gives them the energy and confidence to express themselves onstage. “We all put how we feel on that stage,” says Denime the Queen, 24, another performer. “And having people who help you deal with it while you’re at home and you release that on stage—there’s nothing like it.” Although their missions as performers are varied throughout the Haus, they all agree that there’s no right or wrong way to define or express themselves through drag. Every performance is an opportunity for a performer to tell their story in a new way. For Victoria Precise, drag is another instrument for communicating a heartfelt mission as an advocate and crisis counselor by day. “I carry that over and it informs my drag and how I want to convey a message to somebody onstage,” she says. “So for me drag is advocacy, activism, feeling, and relentless and uninhibited self-expression.” At “Loosey Goosey,” Victoria gave an emotionally-charged rendition of Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” in a modern technicolor cosmic-housewife ensemble—complete with cake ingredient props. Although wild and jubilant, the campy number was “dedicated to finding solace in heartbreak,” according to Victoria, producing a performance as raw as cake batter. Although drag often involves costumes, makeup, and wigs, it’s not a disguise or an evasion of a performer's identity. On the contrary, in a world that requires countless other less-fulfilling performances every day, it’s often a chance to embrace and unveil the most real and the most genuine version of oneself. “Drag seems like you’re putting on a lot, like you’re covering yourself up,” Victoria says. “But, really, it’s a reveal of your true colors and who you are.” Follow @hausofpeculiar on instagram to stay informed on performances and events. ...

Tags: General Arts & Culture

Autumnal Activities in the Hudson Valley

The leaves are turning brilliant hues of orange and red. The kids (and the kids at heart) are contemplating their costumes. And all of us are trying to figure out if we need a sweater under that light jacket. It can only mean one thing: Mid-October is upon us. Here’s some stuff to do.

Tags: General Arts & Culture

Art, Work, and Play: Small Bands of Misbehavior at Studio929canal

Courtenay Williams and Kai Lee have spent more than a decade “creating environments, transforming spaces, strengthening context, and shaping experiences.” As the award-winning duo behind Small Bands of Misbehavior—a production design, art direction, and creative direction studio based out of New York and Los Angeles—they’ve taken their talents in creative problem solving and storytelling to enhance branding for clients ranging from Lululemon and Bank of America to Google and Sesame Street.  This all means, of course, that they work in the realm of multimedia—commercials, photo shoots, graphics, television, and film—but they also leverage their instincts as artists to lend their talents to custom fabrication, experiential marketing, art installations, and live events.  “Our approach is often a combination of conscientious design and artistic abandon. While our clients come to us with particular parameters and a general direction, there is a good deal of creative development,” says Williams. “We put a premium on listening, being open and curious—and, of course, asking questions.”  “We really take it all in, make sure we examine all the possibilities and always try to figure out how we can make it better,” Kai Lee says. “We recognize that it isn’t just a job they are giving us—but, more importantly, trust in our experience and expertise.”  The projects that interest and excite them extend beyond national brands. Last year, the duo were chosen by global ad agency Havas for a project called “BuildOut.” During the project, they collaborated with a 3-D artist to create the base elements for sculptures they later designed and fabricated—capturing the entire process in a short-form web series. “This project demonstrated not only our creative range, but our ability to synthesize complex ideas into practical designs very quickly,” Williams says. And, now, this year, they are bringing their work even closer to home. Funded by a private organization encouraging urban and rural revitalization through the arts, “artwork | an exhibition” at Studio929canal in Middletown allowed them to connect with Hudson Valley artists and makers “who are also employed as blue-collar workers and tradespeople” to highlight the work of artists who still must earn a living while pursuing their craft. After accepting submissions from around the community—sculptor-mechanics, contractor-painters, and more talented working class artists—they’re even more committed to helping to tell the story of artists who live, work, and create in that duality. “We care about our work, each project is important, and a lot of people say this, but we put our blood, sweat and tears into it,” Lee says. “Every project, large or small. Building relationships with our clients is something we’re proud of, and there’s nothing better than having our clients become family.“ Catch “artwork | an exhibition” at 9-29 Canal Street in Middletown from October 25-27. ...

Tags: General Arts & Culture

Live, Train, and Learn: the Living Arts Apprenticeship's Upcoming Program for Drummers and Composers

Amir Ziv founded the Living Arts Apprenticeship Program (LAAP) in 2005 at his rural home-studio in the Catskill mountains. The organization offers a range of single art form and interdisciplinary programs that focus on drum-set and harmonic rhythm study, visual arts, music composition, and aikido. LAAP is currently accepting applications for its upcoming Drumming and Music Composition Cross-Disciplinary Apprenticeship, which will take place January 4-10, 2020.

Tags: Music

Inside Cornell Creative Arts Center's Ceramics Studio

Not everyone has access to viewing or creating art; the Cornell Creative Arts Center in Kingston hopes to change that by offering accessible, all-inclusive ceramics lessons.

Tags: Visual Art

Five October Events in the Hudson Valley

An indie rock icon, some innovative abstract sculpture, a 1920s silent horror film, and chances to dig some blues while cruising the Hudson and sample some craft beer at the 1969 Woodstock Festival site. See all of these event picks below—and see our event listings for more fun fall fare.

Tags: General Arts & Culture

To Your Health: 10th O+ Festival Biggest and Best Yet

The 10th Annual O+ Festival is set to turn Uptown Kingston every flavor of exuberant from October 11-13 to continue celebrating their mission of championing accessible, affordable healthcare for artists, creators, and community members.

Tags: Festivals

Five Fabulous October Events in the Hudson Valley

Add these plum picks to your Fun Stuff to Do This Month list: a street festival, live music, a gallery opening, and a whale of a one-man show.

Tags: General Arts & Culture

On the Cover: Returning to Nature with Martin Wittfooth

Artist/illustrator Martin Wittfooth discusses his art and the various influences behind his imagery. Wittfooth’s work will be on display as part of the SUNY Ulster Visiting Artist Series at the Muroff Kotler Visual Arts Gallery until October 18.

Tags: Visual Art

Scarred & Beautiful

The 800 Goddesses of the Grace Project
Isis Charise has photographed over 400 women who’ve had mastectomies for her stunning series The Grace Project.

Tags: Visual Art

International Repercussions

Kyaw Kyaw Naing on Forming the First Burmese Hsaing Waing Ensemble in America
Kyaw Kyaw Naing teams up with SUNY New Paltz’s Alex Peh and Susie Ibarra to form the US’s first traditional Burmese Hsaing Waing percussion orchestra.

Tags: Music

Earmark These 7 Books for October Reading

A review of Holly George-Warren’s new biography, Janis: Her Life and Music, plus a round-up of six October book picks spanning from a family courtroom drama to a citywide treasure hunt.

Tags: Books & Authors

"Underground Railroad Game" at Bard's Fisher Center

Whiplash comedy “Underground Railroad Game” tackles the intersections of slavery, race, and sexism and encourages

Tags: Theater

Healing Arts for Healing Artists at Kingston O+ Festival 2019

O+ returns for its 10th year to Kingston with a stacked line-up of music and art happenings.

Tags: Festivals


Hudson Valley Events

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New Exhibitions: Opening in August @ Woodstock Artists Association and Museum

New Exhibitions: Opening in August

Aug. 17-Dec. 29, 4-6 p.m. — Showing: 1 + 1 + 1 (through December 29, 2019), FOCUS: Illumination,...
The Work Project @ Bridge Street Theatre

The Work Project

Sept. 28-Nov. 30 — Luis Macia and the Coxsackie-Athens Teachers’ Association present “The Work Project”, portraits...

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