It all starts on the first weekend of April, with a reception, several art exhibitions and a show of original Dutch documents. Here are the details:
On Thursday, April 2, a meet-and-greet event will be held at the Holiday Inn in Kingston. Representatives from art and history venues will be on hand to kick off the celebration. Food, music and a display of banners hand-painted by the region's most accomplished artists will give a preview of the cultural treats to be offered up in the upcoming celebration.
On Saturday, April 4, three art exhibitions with a Dutch or Hudson River theme will open. A special show of watercolors by Dutch illustrator Willem Burgert will debut at Donskoj & Co. in Kingston. Burgert, who is the first of 10 artists from Holland participating in the county's Artists in Residence program, painted the watercolors to illustrate a book he wrote especially for the Quadricentennial. It describes the adventures of three young people from northern Holland who immigrate to what is now Kingston in the 1600s. With their fresh execution and accurate details, the watercolors vividly re-create the world of the Netherlands and the Hudson Valley in the 17th century. The book is in both Dutch and English and will be for sale at the exhibition.
A few blocks away, Hendrik Dijk's photographs of World War II concrete bunkers in the Dutch countryside will be on display at the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts. Dijk, who was born in Holland but resides in Ulster County, stumbled upon these forgotten structures during a trip to his native land and is now embarked on a project to photograph all 200 of them.
And over in Woodstock, "The River," a juried exhibition of pieces exploring the culture and the landscape of the Hudson, curated by Niko Vicario, from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, will open at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum.
Three shows of centuries-old documents and artifacts will be on display at the Ulster County Office Building, the Senate House State Historic Site (both located in Kingston) and Historic Huguenot Street, located in New Paltz. The exhibit at the office building, opening April 2, will include documents from the 1600s written in archaic Dutch and be accompanied by an unveiling of the English translations on the county's archives web site.
On April 18, the Senate House show will open, with diaries, photos, newspapers and other documents revealing forgotten narratives.
On April 24, Native American artifacts will go on display at Historic Huguenot Street, which dates back to the 1670s. Some of the projectiles, pottery shards and other items, which were dug up from the six-acre site, are thousands of years old. Huguenot Street will also exhibit Delft tiles in its gallery space.
A show about the Dutch legacy at the Rosendale Library opens April 1. The library will also host a lecture examining the complicated roles played by Hudson, Samuel de Champlain and steamboat inventor Robert Fulton on April 8. A talk about Native Americans at the time of Hudson's arrival is scheduled on April 18 at the Esopus Town Hall.
For more information about the Ulster County celebration, go to www.hudsonriver400.org.The Ulster County Quadricentennial Arts Celebration Committee received funding for its marketing efforts from the Cultural Tourism Initiative, a project of the Arts & Business Council of New York and the New York State Council on the Arts.