Tuesday, March 31, 2009

1909, revisited

The opening reception for 1909, Wilderstein Historic Site's special exhibition in celebration of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, takes place at 4:30 p.m. April 25. Admission is $25 and reservations are required. Call 845-876-4818 for information and reservations.

Here is more information about 1909 from the Wilderstein Web site:

The Suckley family, who resided at Wilderstein in Rhinebeck as well as in New York City, were enthusiastic observers of the 1909 Tercentennial. Located on a bluff high above the Hudson, Wilderstein was a great vantage point to watch the ships and other activities that took place on the river. There are many photographs, postcards, and other memorabilia in the site’s collections from this period saved by various family members capturing the energy and excitement of that important year.

What would it have been like to participate in the 1909 Tercentennial celebration? Wilderstein Historic Site has dedicated its 2009 special exhibition to answering just that question. This exhibit will allow visitors to step back in time and experience life in the Hudson Valley during that jubilant year. They will see photos and mementos, and learn more about the clothing, decorative arts, books, magazines, household gadgets, and overall lifestyle that connected the residents of Wilderstein to the Hudson River 100 years ago. Many of the featured pieces will be on public display for the first time ever.

1909 opens on May 1 and runs until the end of October, Thursdays through Sundays, from noon to 4 PM. For additional information, call 845-876-4818.

Wilderstein is located at 330 Morton Road in Rhinebeck.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ulster celebration "sets sail" this week

Ulster County’s Quadricentennial kick off takes place from 5-7 p.m. Thursday (April 2) at the Holiday Inn in Kingston with a display of large artist-designed banners in the hotel’s atrium. Organized and promoted by the Ulster County Quadricentennial Arts Committee, the “Set Sail” project is one of dozens of events celebrating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage. A complete listing of county events and other details about the celebration can be found on the Web site, www.hudsonriver400.org. The banners will be displayed in the atrium of the Holiday Inn until July 1, when they will be hung from the lamp posts on lower Broadway, in Kingston’s Rondout section, through September. Everyone is invited to the kick-off Thursday.

In one banner, Kingston resident Henk Dijk has depicted a dramatic figurehead, representing Holland’s Seven Provinces, of a 17th-century ship that is being painstakingly reconstructed in the Netherlands using the original blueprints. The painting is shown above.

Here is more about the background of the project from the press release:

Each strip of canvas measures approximately 2-1/2 x 5 feet, and just getting the 13 pieces of cloth cut, sewn and gessoed was a labor of love—courtesy of Sister Hildegard Magdalen Pleva, OssR, a member of the Redemptoristine Nuns at Mother of Perpetual Help Monastery, located at Mt. St. Alphonsus in Esopus.

The monastery is amply equipped with sewing materials and equipment, since the sisters make a living by sewing ceremonial capes for a Catholic lay organization. Sister Hildegard notes that cutting out the banners to the precise size, sewing the thick fabric, and allowing for the shrinkage that occurred when the canvas was gessoed were all challenging. She says her contribution is a way of expressing gratitude for the lovely Hudson River landscape. “The picture windows of our monastery look out on the river and remind us every day of the wonders and beauty of all creation, [which] for us [is] a reminder of the constancy of God,” she says.

The banners are being painted in a variety of styles and images, including fanciful depictions of Henry Hudson and river landscapes. Jane Bloodgood-Abrams, of Kingston, is painting a luminous landscape in the traditional Hudson River School style that has given her a noteworthy following, while Jacquie Roland, a resident of Saugerties, is working on two night scenes—Henry Hudson standing of the deck of his ship on an icy evening and his namesake river at twilight.

In researching Henry Hudson, Iya Battle, who lives in West Shokan and describes herself as “a painter of myths, archetypes and invisible energy,” became fascinated by the Native Americans. So one side of her banner will honor the Lenni Lenape, while the other will depict Hudson being swept down into the ocean into the arms of a couple of mermaids. (On his third voyage, Hudson was put out to sea in a small boat, after his men mutinied, and never seen again; the mermaids refer to a log entry in which the navigator described an encounter with a mermaid in Antarctica.)

Matthew Pleva (Sister Hildegarde’s son) is planning a landscape scene done in pen and ink. Known for his small-scale graphite pencil drawings, he admits he is “a little overwhelmed. Right now I’m struggling to get something 5 x 10 inches to be 2.5 x 5 feet.”

The other artists contributing banners are Steve Ladin, Cynthia Winiker, Robert Sweeney, Yourij Donskoj, Dennis Connors, Sue Ross, Cristina Brusca in collaboration with Erik Richards and Lynn Woods.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First woman steamboat captain

It's interesting to see how the Quadricentennial is being celebrated elsewhere. Linking the Quad celebrations and Women's History Month, Vermont Public Radio is airing a commentary series about five women who contributed to the history and culture of the Champlain Valley. Here is a report about the first woman Steamboat Captain on Lake Champlain, and in the nation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tulip watch

Last year we had a flurry of tulip bulb planting in anticipation of this year’s Quad celebration. (Tulips have long been associated with Holland, which founded the New Netherland colony soon after Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage up the river that was to later bear his name.)

Ulster County gave out thousands of tulip bulbs for its residents to enhance their yards and celebrate the area’s Dutch heritage. Volunteers from Cub Scout Pack 10 and the South Avenue Neighborhood Association, along with city of Poughkeepsie workers, planted bulbs in several city parks. And other volunteers planted 1,000 tulip bulbs in several spots around Historic Huguenot Street's six-acre New Paltz site.

It's almost time for the tulips to bloom. I’m counting on this blog’s readers to help me announce just when the flowers reach their peak for viewing. Just post a comment about it at the Quad blog, share photos if you can -- and let’s begin the countdown!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Trails & economic benefits workshop

Lydia Higginson, deputy director of Dutchess County Tourism, sent the following message for the Quad blog:


Walkway Over the Hudson and Dutchess County Tourism present Hudson Valley Trails and Economic Benefits Workshop on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 from 8:30am to 11:45am at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. The cost to attend event is $25 per person, and includes a continental breakfast and coffee.

Trails have become more popular than ever, and this workshop offers practical ideas for marketing businesses and organizations near Dutchess County's trails to draw visitors to this region. This dynamic workshop informs and educates participants about the economic benefits of our area’s many rail trails, including Walkway Over the Hudson, Harlem Valley Rail Trail, Dutchess County Rail Trail, and Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. The October opening of Walkway Over the Hudson, the longest pedestrian walkway in the world, offers an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to promote hotels, organizations, and/or historic sites around the Hudson Valley and Dutchess County. Make the most of this occasion and learn how you can partner with this extraordinary attraction. Please RSVP by Thursday, March 19, 2009 to reserve your spot at this seminar!

The featured speakers at this event are David Lindahl from Morton Trails in Vermont and Rob Camoin from Camoin Associates. The panel is moderated by Amy Husten from Walkway Over the Hudson, Karl Beard from the National Park Service, and Jayne McLaughlin with New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Additional invited panel members include Congressman Maurice Hinchey, Senator Charles E. Schumer, and a representative from the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont.

Along with Walkway Over the Hudson and Dutchess County Tourism, the Journey Inn Bed and Breakfast in Hyde Park and Ulster County Tourism are also sponsors of this workshop. For information, contact Lydia Higginson at Lydia@dutchesstourism.com or 845-463-4000.

Dutchess County Tourism (DCT) is an agency of Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation and is funded by the County of Dutchess.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hudson River Panorama

Albany Institute of History & Art's new exhibit, Hudson River Panorama: 400 Years of History, Art, and Culture, features hundreds of pieces of artwork, artifacts, interactive displays, and rare archival documents. The exhibit encompasses five major themes relating the many agricultural, industrial, and cultural influences of this historic waterway: community and settlement; natural history and environment; transportation; trade, commerce, and industry; and culture and symbol.

Here is more from the press release:
Hudson River Panorama explores and narrates the influential force that the Hudson has had on our region, including settlement, agricultural cultivation, industrial growth, tourism, and the cultural prominence of the region's talented and creative artists, writers, architects, and landscape gardeners. For more than three years, the Albany Institute has been researching topics related to the Hudson River in preparation for the exhibition and accompanying educational programs.

Visitors will rediscover the flora and fauna of the Hudson River Valley and compare historic and contemporary images that reveal how the human presence has shaped and changed the appearance of the river over the last 200 years. The exhibition is also designed to reveal interconnections among the various topics, with occasional surprises and unexpected associations.

The exhibit will run until Jan. 3, 2010. The Albany Institute of History & Art is located at 125 Washington Avenue in downtown Albany, one block from the New York State Capitol. www.albanyinstitute.org or 518-463-4478

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quad flag drop

From Nancy Lutz at Dutchess County Tourism:

Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial 400th Flag Drop

Did you happen to see a New York State van marked as the official "400th Flag Delivery Van" on Market Street this Wednesday? The white van carried four members of the State's Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Committee, including Executive Director Tara Sullivan, plus hundreds of new Quadricentennial flags. The "Quad Squad" is on a road trip from New York City to Albany, stopping in every county along the way. They came to Dutchess County to hand deliver 200 Quadricentennial flags, one for each Dutchess County municipality, school and library, so they may be raised with pride this spring.

Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus accepted the bright blue and yellow flags outside the Dutchess County office building in Poughkeepsie, along with Dutchess County Tourism Director Mary Kay Vrba, who also chairs the Dutchess County Quadricentennial Committee. The number 400 forms the sail of a ship.

Mr. Steinhaus observed, "2009 is an exciting year for all of us, as we celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the Hudson River. This celebration is a special opportunity to spotlight Dutchess County to visitors from all over the world as they join us for this historical occasion."

The Flag-Drop served to raise awareness for a great summer and fall chock full of Quadricentennial events. These include June's River Day, a flotilla of tall ships traveling from New York City to Albany; Joseph Bertolozzi's Bridge Music premier; visits from historic ships; a September college regatta; many festivals; and several conferences, all culminating in the opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson in early October.

Twenty-five area government officials, as well as representatives from local schools and libraries were on hand to receive the flags from Tara Sullivan, Barbara Fratianni, Carol Bisetta and Nicole Sama, all representing Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, Department of Environmental Conservation.

"Let's make our 400th an extraordinary moment in our state's history and lifetime!," said Tara Sullivan. "We are looking forward to seeing these flags flying brightly throughout the entire Hudson Valley."

All Dutchess County municipalities, schools and libraries can receive a 400th flag free of charge to fly outside their building to mark the Quadricentennial.

"If you are from a town, village, city, school or library in Dutchess County, we have a 400th flag set aside especially for you!" said Mary Kay Vrba. "Please call Dutchess County Tourism at 845-463-4000 to make arrangements."

The Flag Drop also marked the launch of www.Dutchess400.com, Dutchess County Tourism's website for all area Quadricentennial activities.

"We anticipate the Quadricentennial to have an enormous regional impact, with exposure from national and international media. We look forward to all of the visitors who are expected to provide a major economic boost to Dutchess County," continued Mr. Steinhaus.

This celebration is an unique opportunity to display our county’s wonderful assets, our rich history and scenic beauty to visitors from all over the world.

Dutchess County Tourism is a division of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation and is funded by the County of Dutchess.

In the photo, Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus (left center) hands off some new flags he has just recieved from the "Quad Squad" to members of local government and schools, assisted by Mary Kay Vrba, director of Dutchess County Tourism (far left).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Calling all local artists!

Walkway Over the Hudson and the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration committee are looking for 50 professional artists, educators and crafts people to create new "town emblems" for each village, town, and city in Dutchess and Ulster counties. The emblems will be displayed during the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge's grand opening on Oct. 3 as a pedestrian park. The celebration, "Walking On Air," will serve as the Mid-Hudson Valley's signature event for this year's statewide Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration.

Here are the details from today's press announcement:

"We are particularly interested in those artists who show a passion for the history and culture of their locales and the Hudson Valley in general. Artists should be versatile and open to working with a range of cheap and unorthodox materials, under tight budget constraints," said celebration artist Jeanne Fleming, who is organizing the grand opening celebration for Walkway Over the Hudson.

Selected artists will be commissioned to create a unique Town Emblem to be carried in the Walking on Air Parade and Opening Ceremony. Each emblem will function as a "coat of arms" for its town, reflecting the particular connections that tie local communities to the broader history, culture, or ecology of the Hudson River. Artists are encouraged to work collaboratively and seek the perspectives of town officials, local historians, and other community members.

Hudson Valley artists interested in being selected for this opportunity must apply prior to an April 6 deadline by submitting five work samples and a one-page written statement that details past experience working on a community-level project. Each of the 50 artists chosen will receive a $500 stipend. Artists will be expected to display their Emblems before the public at the head of their town's delegation during the Opening Ceremony and Parade scheduled for October 3.

Artists will also be asked to organize and lead a community art workshop to create 25 flags that will adorn a ceremonial rope. Each artist may draw participants from any group or groups within their community-schoolchildren, elders, social organizations, etc. Artists will be asked to attend one of several orientation workshops with processional artists Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles, designers of the Walking on Air Parade. These informal, hands-on workshops will discuss the Emblem and Flag projects in greater detail, introduce techniques for using lightweight and inexpensive materials, and provide a forum for artists to ask questions and exchange ideas with one another.

A complete description of the program and an online application can be found by visiting www.walkway.org. For additional questions, contact Michael Asbill by email: michaelasbill @ yahoo.com

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Hudson River Quadricentennial Concert

UPDATED on March 12: Another performance is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday March 14 at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill. Read about it here.

If you're in the New York City area next week, this promises to be a fabulous Quad event at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center -- with several local connections.

In celebration of the Hudson River Quadricentennial, three of New York’s finest and most diverse contemporary composer/musicians have created an evening of new music to honor the beauty of the Hudson River Valley and celebrate its rich cultural history. The multimedia Hudson River Quadricentennial Concert will also include video projections and spoken word interludes. The program includes violinist Mark O’Connor; Woodstock clarinetist Don Byron; violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain; poet and storyteller David Gonzalez; films by The Old School, Ltd., Ben Long and Bill Morrison; and paintings by Rhinebeck author/illustrator James Gurney, Ellen Perantoni and Jamie Williams Grossman.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. March 13 (a Friday). Tickets are $35 orchestra and $25 mezzanine. Students and seniors save $10 and BMCC Alumni save $15.

The work premiered last year at The Egg in Albany and was commissioned by The Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center, with support provided by The New York State Music Fund established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Here is more info from the All About Jazz blog:

Violinist Mark O’Connor, whose work is inspired by American folk music traditions reflects on the natural beauty of the river, its discovery by Henry Hudson, and the early European settlement with a string quartet titled “Old Time.”

Clarinetist Don Byron, whose work fuses jazz, classical and soul music will focus on the Industrial Revolution and its effect on the River, the beauty and historical importance of Hyde Park and his own home in the Hudson River Valley with a work for strings, piano and clarinet in a suite called “Tide,” accompanied by a film by Ben Long.

You can read more about it here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hudson River stations inspire artist

For a modern take on the Hudson River as artistic inspiration, there is "A Journey Along the Hudson River Line” -- Frédéric Lére's oil paintings of the 31 train stations along the MTA and Amtrak Hudson River lines. The exhibit will be on display at RiverWinds Gallery at 172 Main Street in Beacon from March 14 though April 6. The artist’s reception will be held during Beacon’s Second Saturday, March 14, from 5-8 p.m.

Here is more about it from the gallery:

Frédéric’s oil paintings are an artistic catalog of the 31 train stations along the MTA and Amtrak Hudson River lines. Each stop on the MTA and Amtrak Hudson River lines is painted, keeping train station and river in sight if possible. Each one is framed in wood, pasted with a collage of train schedules revealing the name of each station in white highlights.

At the beginning of the 19th Century, the first school of American landscape painters explored the dramatic wilderness of the Hudson River. In their footsteps, New York City-based artist Frédéric Lère boarded the train in the summer of 2007 and 2008 to rediscover the Hudson Valley with easel, canvas and oil paint.

Always keeping train stations and river in sight, he found wilderness very close to the city, in places such as Breakneck Ridge or Manitou, as students and science teachers were foraging ponds next to his easel to find rare species of mud minnows. In many stations he also faced the discouraging development of suburbia with its sprawling acres of parking lots. But many treasures could also be found: a church in Cold Spring filled with live music and passionate people, a boat launch in Beacon, or a farmer’s market. In every station, Frédéric met humanity, curiosity and sometimes camaraderie of fellow painters.

Train stations along the Hudson lines played a pivotal role in the development of townships in the valley; they were the pride of the community and built to last, just like banks or churches. A few did not survive the modernization trend of the Seventies. Today, they are rediscovered, protected, and restored, -- although not always as train stations, -- as is the Hudson Valley itself.

Frédéric Lére, after Beaux-Arts studies as well as studies in stone carving and comics in France, arrived in New York in 1984 to specialize in mural painting. He met painter Mark Beard and worked with him on theater sets and decorative painting jobs in New York, as well as in Europe. His friendship with Mark continues today. They are working on murals in New York, Los Angeles, London and Tokyo. In Miami, he met another work partner, Pierre Marcel. Together, they have realized murals in Florida, Russia, France, even cruise-ships.

Gallery hours are Wednesdays through Mondays, noon to 6 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Second Saturdays. Direction at the Web site or by calling 845-838-2880.