Friday, October 31, 2008

Time's running out!

Today is the deadline for the first contest in the Poughkeepsie Journal's year-long Hudson River photo competition, held in conjunction with the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial celebrations and the planned opening of the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge pedestrian walkway project.

The contest began on October 5 and ends on Sept. 30, 2009. A winner and runner up will be selected monthly, with one grand prize winner chosen from the monthly winners when the contest wraps up in the fall of 2009. For more information on the contest, and to see the photos already entered in the contest, visit There are some impressive entries so far.

Quad kickoff at boat show

According to the BYM News online, the 2008 New York National Boat Show, which takes place from December 13-21 in Manhattan, is a BIG day for the Quad. (BYM reports on international boating, marine & maritime news.)

Here is some of what they report:

The official kick-off celebration of the 400th birthday of the Hudson River -- the Hudson River Quadricentennial -- takes place Saturday, December 13, in conjunction with opening day of the show. The Quadricentennial (is) a year-long celebration that will include many local boating events and takes a rich look at the history of the Hudson River, a waterway essential to the history and present enjoyment of recreational boating throughout all of New York.

So if you like to float on the Hudson River, this is a date you might want to mark in your calendar.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The vision of its artists

UPDATE: Save the Date! The Fine Art Auction at Locust Grove has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 26, 2009.

“As we move toward the Quadricentennial celebration in 2009, there is no better way to celebrate our valley than through the vision of its artists,” Locust Grove Executive Director Kenneth F. Snodgrass says.

Four studies that had been made for the historic Poughkeepsie Post Office mural are among the works that will be sold during Locust Grove’s first-ever Invitational Fine Art Auction. Originally scheduled for early next month (see update), the auction will also include work by contemporary painters, graphic artists, sculptors and photographers of the Hudson Valley. Visit or call 845-454-4500 ext. 17 for more information.

“Locust Grove and fine art are a natural pairing,” Snodgrass said in a press release. It was the 19th century country estate of Samuel Morse, who founded the American Academy of Design and was a celebrated artist before gaining even more fame for patenting the telegraph and inventing Morse code. The Young family, subsequent owners and founders of the museum, collected art in Europe as well as from the Hudson River School and this collection can be seen in the Poughkeepsie mansion today.

Locust Grove will team with gallery owner James Cox, a regional art expert and the force behind the annual fine art auction at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM), to present the auction, online catalog, pre-sale exhibition and preview gala. A portion of every auction sale will benefit Locust Grove, supporting free public access to its gardens and hiking trails, educational programs for school children and preservation of the 40-room Italianate mansion.

The mural studies that will be sold were created by Charles Rosen, who was chosen to participate in a New Deal program administered by the US Treasury Department. Rosen died in 1950, and the studies were only recently discovered by his estate. There is an interesting article here on the Poughkeepsie Journal Web site about the Poughkeepsie Post Office and its historic mural.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Other Side of History

Here's an interesting story planned for noon today from Vermont Public Radio about Abenaki scholar Fred Wiseman and his new film, "1609: The Other Side of History," about the European discovery of Lake Champlain from a Native American perspective.

(The Quad is marking the European discovery of both the Hudson River and Lake Champlain.)

UPDATE 3:42 p.m. -- If you go to the Web site, you can listen to an archived version of the show.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Traditional American music

This could be an excellent opportunity to get into the "Quad state of mind" with music, as we prepare for the 2009 commemoration of Henry Hudson's journey up the river that now bears his name. The beautiful Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass. (just over the Columbia County border) is an easy (and enjoyable) drive from most parts of the Hudson Valley.

Close Encounters With Music will present American Holiday Tapestry, a performance in which the 12-member Rose Ensemble "reincarnates itself in the 17th through 19th centuries on American shores. Traditional Acadian and Scottish dance music, Shaker melodies, spirituals, wassail songs, and colonial Jewish synagogue hymns are featured. The remarkably broad selection also includes Mexican Baroque and Hawaiian selections with mandolin and vihujela de mano accompaniment, as well as guitar, Native American flute, and foot stomping!" Sounds like there will be something for everyone!

Show starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 6. Tickets are $35 for adults and $10 for students, and are available through the Mahaiwe Box Office at 413-528-0100 or at More info is available at Close Encounters With Music .

Here is more info about the group:
Based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Jordan Sramek, The Rose Ensemble creates imaginative performances of vocal music, connecting each individual to past worlds with stories of spirituality and humanity. Each presentation brings research from the world’s manuscript libraries to new audiences, illuminating centuries of rarely performed repertoire. Called “first class” (Neuss-Grevenbroicher Zeitung), “Engaging…satisfying” (Gramophone), with programs that are “flawlessly performed and smoothly structured” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), The Rose Ensemble is the recipient of the 2005 Chorus America Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, and first-place winner in the sacred music category at the 2007 Tolosa International Choral Competition (Spain). With seven critically acclaimed recordings and a diverse selection of concert programs, the group has thrilled audiences across the US and Europe with repertoire spanning 1,000 years and over 25 languages, including new research in Hawaiian, Swedish, Mexican, and American vocal traditions.
This is Close Encounters With Music's 17th season in the Berkshires, offering programs of chamber music. The audience is invited to a reception to meet the artists immediately following The Rose Ensemble performance at the Mahaiwe Theatre.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quad mini-grants available

The New York Council for the Humanities is offering mini-grants of up to $2,500 to not-for-profit groups planning public programs related to the upcoming Quad.

And to help those groups plan their programming, the council also has a list of humanities speakers who are available to lecture about Quad-related topics (for a nominal fee for organizations and for free to any New York state high school). The council also has info on its Reading Between the Lines reading and discussion series focused on Quad-related themes.

More details are at the New York Council for the Humanities Web site

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quad activity in New Paltz

Lots of Quad-related activity going on this week at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, as the organization prepares to mark the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the river that bears his name.

According to a press release from the group, a crew is on site today, filming scenes for a Quad-related video for its local Quadricentennial committee. Filming will start early this afternoon, with scenes that feature the importance of archival collections. They will also be filming scenes that show the discovery of prehistoric Native American artifacts on site, and the story of Sara Freer, whose brother apprenticed her out as a seamstress in the early 1700s.

On Saturday, volunteers will finish planting 1,000 tulip bulbs in several spots around the six-acre site, as part of a larger effort by Ulster County Tourism. Tulips have long been associated with Holland, which found the New Netherland colony soon after Hudson’s voyage in 1609. Volunteers are still needed to assist with planting. Call 845-255-1660, ext. 108 or email for information.

Historic Huguenot Street features seven original stone houses dating to 1705, a burying ground and a reconstructed 1717 stone church, provides charming green space and public programming to the local community and visitors from around the world.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The money is in

The state Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Office says in a news release that more than 250 schools, grassroots organizations and local governments in the Hudson and Champlain valleys have been awarded "mini grants" to help with Quad preparation and planning. Each award of approximately $1,000 is funded through a combination of state funds and a donation from the Dyson Foundation.

A sampling of recipients include the Dutchess Arts Council (Hyde Park Visual History Project - Establish a community history through donated images, home movies and video, all of which will be projected on the screen of the historic Hyde Park Drive-In Theater.) Beacon Arts Community (To fund the fifth annual Beacon Hat Parade and workshop- 400 Years of Hats). Rhinebeck Chamber of Commerce (Rhinebeck's Old Dutch Tradition. Kick off Rhinebeck Quad. Celebration, Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) will arrive on a Boat on the Hudson. Children will perform Dutch songs and dances.) City of Poughkeepsie (Printing and design of brochure for self guided tour of stain glass window tour in the city of Poughkeepsie's religious and business district, "Divine Inspiration” with Dutch education and industrial revolution innovations. And The city's legacy will be the dedication of the Revolutionary shipyards, a full day military pageantry.)

The full list is here as a download.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

River photo contest begins!

Have a passion for photography? The Poughkeepsie Journal has launched a year-long photo contest to coincide with the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial celebrations and the planned opening of the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge pedestrian walkway project.

The contest is open to residents of Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, Putnam, Columbia and Greene counties. It began earlier this week and ends on Sept. 30, 2009. A winner and runner up will be announced for each month, with one grand prize winner chosen from the monthly winners when the contest wraps up in the fall of 2009. The winners will be announced at the newspaper's Hudson Happenings Web site each month. Full rules are at the Hudson Happenings Web site.

Photo entries must show the Hudson River or an identifiable location along the river. Of course, the photos have to be your own and cannot be digitally altered. Photos must be uploaded using the form on the Hudson Happenings Web site as jpg files (see full rules for sizing), no photo prints will be accepted. You can enter as many times as you like (though you can only win once).

The contest will be judged by the Poughkeepsie Journal's photographers. (Some of their amazing river shots are archived at the Hudson Happenings Web site.) Here's more about it:

“During the past 200 years, the river has been a beacon for both artists, who developed the Hudson River School of painting, and photographers, who have passionately camped out along the shore at sunrise and sunset to take a beautiful, one-of-a-kind picture,” said Spencer Ainsley, multimedia director for photography and videography at the Poughkeepsie Journal. "We know there are many photographers in the region who are passionate about taking beautiful pictures of Hudson River scenes.

“This is a great opportunity and we encourage anyone with a camera to enter the contest."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quad commission to meet

The state Hudson Fulton Champlain Quadricentennial Commission will meet on Oct. 20 (a Monday) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the state Department of Transportation (DOT) Building ( Conference Rooms A & B), 50 Wolf Road, Pod 53, in Albany.

The meeting will also be web-cast through the NYS Department of Transportation Web site, according to the commission's Web site.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Huguenot history

The story of the Huguenots is an important part of our region's early history. Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz is a good introduction to that story, which began in 1678 when 12 French-speaking Huguenots settled on the banks of the Wallkill River. Today, Historic Huguenot Street has seven original stone houses dating to 1705, a burying ground and a reconstructed 1717 stone church which offer green space and public programs.

A concert by composer and concert pianist Clifford Smith celebrating the Huguenot influence in America is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 17 at the Reformed Church on Huguenot Street in New Paltz, and will benefit the Historic Huguenot Street and the church. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students and are available from the Reformed Church, which can be reached at 845-255-6340, or at Historic Huguenot Street, 845-255-1660. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.