Month: August 2014

Weekend in the Catskills – 8/29/14

Labor Day weekend in the Catskills: it’s filled with art!

Tonight at 5 pm Orphic Gallery in Roxbury opens a new show: “Rock Seen,” featuring the musical photography of Bob Gruen, an artist known internationally for his work documenting the Rock and Roll music world. From Orphic Gallery: “Rock Seen contains photographs from all stages of Bob’s extraordinary career from Bob Dylan’s groundbreaking electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival to Green Day in New York City in 2002.  Included in the exhibit are concert photos ranging from Elton John at Carnegie Hall to Sid Vicious at The Longhorn Ballroom, and behind the scenes images of John & Yoko, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Keith Richards and Alice Cooper with Salvador Dali, all in highly candid moments.” The gallery will also have for sale three books by Gruen – John Lennon: The New York YearsNew York Dolls (with a pink spandex cover), and Rock Seen. The artist will be onsite tonight, and will autograph his books. For more information, go to

Longyear Gallery in Margaretville also has an opening reception this weekend: “Storytellers,” a show featuring thirty-eight works of mixed media on panel by artist Ann Lee Fuller. “I am not an abstract painter, so I let the paint tell me where to go, often combining traditional brushwork and paint glazing with unique crumpled paper brushes and paint dripping. The pieces are not as much about the subject as they are studies of color and form, and surprise,” says Fuller. The show opens tomorrow, Saturday, August 30 at 3 pm, and runs through September 22. For more information, go to For more information about Ann Lee Fuller, go to

Every year over the Labor Day weekend, West Kortright Center (WKC), which is located in a Greek Revival church in East Meredith, organizes an art fair that brings together the community: a silent auction, baked goods, and folk music are among the most popular attractions. This year, which marks the fair’s ninth anniversary, music will be provided by Mike + Ruthy, Blues Maneuver, and Tumbleweed Highway. For more information about the fair, go to

Since 1982 the Woodstock – New Paltz Arts & Crafts Fair has been taking place at the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz twice a year: Memorial Day weekend in May, and Labor Day weekend, in late August, early September. This year the Labor Day fair takes place Saturday, August 30, Sunday, August 31, and Monday, September 1 with over 250 participating artists and crafters from all over the country. Catskill Mountain Artisan Guild exhibitors will offer a variety of products: soap, candles, jewelry, pottery, furniture and many others. For more information, go to

Another weekend, another art studio tour in the Catskills / Hudson Valley area. This weekend, the seventh annual Art Studio Views tour takes place in northern Dutchess County – Hyde Park, Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Tivoli and surrounding areas. Nineteen artists in all media – ceramics, sculpture, painting, photography, and mixed media – will open their studios Saturday, August 30, and Sunday, August 31 from 11 am to 5 pm. For information about participating artists, maps, brochures, and a virtual tour visit

And, there is a lot more going on in the Catskills this weekend: The Iroquois Indian Museum in Schoharie County celebrates its 33rd Annual Iroquois Indian Festival this weekend, Belleayre Music Festival presents Brooklyn @ Belleayre show Saturday, August 30 at 6 pm, and the town of Roxbury in Delaware County is having a blast Sunday, August 31 from 4 to 9 pm: fireworks are scheduled at 8:30 pm in Kirkside Park (see info here).

Labor Day 2014


Have a great weekend in the Catskills!


Weekend in the Catskills – 8/22/14

A fine art auction, and an open studio tour in Woodstock, opera at the Festival of the Arts in Kingston, a children’s pastiche opera at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, as well as the 40th anniversary of Fairview Library in Margaretville offer plenty of entertainment opportunities for art, book and music lovers this weekend in the Catskills.

Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, located on Tinker Street, will have its 12th Annual Fine Art Auction next Sunday, August 31 at 1 pm. This Friday, August 22 from 6 to 8 pm there will be an Auction Preview Party, when bidders will have access to printed catalogues. Meanwhile, an online auction catalogue can be seen here. Art from private collections and historic estates will be available for sale. For more information go to      

Still in Woodstock, there will be an open studio tour this weekend at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild. Friday, August 22 at 5:30 pm seven visual artists, two ceramicists, five writers and one composer will share their work with the public. The event will take place at the Villetta Inn on Upper Byrdcliffe Way. The tour will continue Saturday, August 23 from 4 to 9 pm with an open studio tour featuring three artists – the tour will be followed by an elegant private dinner. For more information go to

In Kingston, the Festival of the Arts kicks off tonight at 7:30 pm with “A Night at the Opera” presented by Opera Theater of Kingston. “The Other Mozart” featuring music by Nannerl Mozart – Mozart’s talented but less known sister – will be performed Friday , August 22 at 8 pm, Saturday, August 23 at 3 pm, and Sunday, August 24 at 6 pm. Kingston Festival of the Arts will run through August 31. For more information about events, visit

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts presents this Saturday, August 23 at 11 am a youth pastiche opera called “Rumpelstiltskin.” “Rumpelstiltskin” is a 40-minute production with music based on traditional Opera and Operetta standards. It is produced for children, grades 2 – 10. For more information, go to

Fairview Public Library in Margaretville will celebrate its 40th anniversary this Saturday, August 23 at 1 pm with an Ice Cream social event that will include storytelling, Native American music, balloon sculptures, and many more. For more information, visit the library’s Facebook page:

This looks like yet another busy weekend for arts in the Catskills.

Weekend in the Catskills – 8/15/14

This weekend in the Catskills brings fabulous events for writers, classical and opera music lovers, and design aficionados.

exposed posterWriters in the Mountains presents its annual summer reading event this Sunday, August 17, from 1 to 3 pm at the Erpf Center in Arkville. From the event’s description, “On Sunday August 17th, come hear what your neighbors have been thinking and writing about. Be prepared to experience the exhilaration of returned affection, the heart wrenching pathos of ordinary life, and triumph over emotional fears. See and hear writers lay bare their innermost thoughts, indulge fantasies, and lash out at a world gone haywire. Come and meet people who, “Dare to Write”. Open mic to follow fearless readers.” For more information, visit

Great weekend for opera lovers in Cooperstown, Otsego County! This weekend’s performances at Glimmerglass Opera Festival include Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, written in 1903, to be performed tonight, August 15 at 7:30 pm; the musical Carousel by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, written in 1945, will be performed tomorrow August 16 at 1:30 pm; also, An American Tragedy written in 2005 by Tobias Picker, based on Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 novel of the same name, will be performed Saturday evening at 8 pm. In addition, Ariadne in Naxos, an opera by Richard Strauss, written in 1912, will be performed Sunday, August 17 at 1:30 pm. This summer, the festival, which began on July 11, runs through August 24. For more information, visit

Maverick Concert Hall, which celebrates its 99th season this summer, is the oldest continuous chamber music hall in the country. The program this weekend includes a “Trio Solisti” concert Sunday, August 17 at 4 pm: Maria Bachmann, violin, Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello, and Adam Neiman, piano, will perform classical and romantic compositions by Beethoven and Brahms, but also contemporary pieces like Lowell Liebermann’s Piano Trio No. 3, Op. 122, written in 2012. For more information, visit

Music at the Olana State Historic Site in Hudson: Frederic Edwin Church’s 1872 estate will host “Music from the High Peaks to Olana’s Orchard” tonight at 6 pm: chamber music by Vivaldi, Gershwin and others will be performed in the orchard – an exhilarating experience. For more information, visit

Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild presents “Art House,” a documentary by Don Freeman about twelve artists designing their own homes, including painter Frederic Edwin Church’s Olana mansion built in 1872, and the Arts and Crafts Byrdcliffe colony, built in 1903. The film will be shown Saturday, August 16 at 2 pm at the Upstate Films in Woodstock. For more information, go to

Have a great weekend in the Catskills!

Weekend in the Catskills – 8/8/14

This weekend in the Catskills: jazz, Schubert, Shakespeare, family day at Byrdcliffe Guild in Woodstock, and an art studio tour in Saugerties.

The Joy of Jazz week, a program of the Catskill Jazz Factory, will conclude with performances in Tannersville this Friday and Saturday: Late Night Jam Sessions starting at 10 pm at the Last Chance Tavern on Rt. 23A on both evenings, and The Spirit of Louis Concert on Saturday night at the Orpheum Theater, starting at 7:30 pm – legendary jazz pianist Marcus Roberts will be on stage that evening. For more information, visit

This year, Bard Music Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with two weeks of exceptional programming dedicated to the Austrian romantic composer Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828). Schubert was a prolific composer of the early 19th century who wrote over 600 lieder, nine symphonies, as well as operas and chamber music. Bard Music Festival will present from August 8 to 17 an extraordinary body of work by Schubert, including some of his lieder, as well as fantasies and sonatas, his symphonies No. 3 and No. 8, and his opera Fierrabras. The festival this year will also include compositions by Mozart, Beethoven, Schuman, Mendelssohn, Liszt and other composers. For more information, visit

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF), organized in Garrison, Putnam County, since 1987, produces three plays per season, bringing a fresh, new perspective on the material presented. This season, which runs from June 10 to August 31, includes Othello, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Liar. Performances are held in a tent on the grounds of Boscobel, an early 1800s Federal mansion situated on the banks of the Hudson River. In addition to performances, the festival includes lectures and panel discussions with actors and scholars. HVSF offers educational programs year round, including an apprenticeship program for actors, a training program for teachers, and a summer camp for children. This year marks the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birthday. For more information, visit

The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild has a family day event this Saturday, August 9 at 4:30 pm – music, food and other fun activities are scheduled. Founded in 1902, the guild offers a variety of programs year round: workshops, exhibitions, performances, and summer residencies for artists. For more information, visit

Launched in 2003, Saugerties Art Tour celebrates its 12th anniversary this weekend with over thirty participating artists. The event kicks off tonight at 5 pm at the Opus 40 Gallery in Saugerties with an annual opening reception. Then Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10 from 10 am to 6 pm artists in all media will open their spaces to the public: painters, sculptors, printmakers, ceramicists, photographers, collage artists, and others will show and talk about their work. For more information, visit

All in all, yet another busy weekend in the Catskills!

Featured Artist: Margaret Leveson

Artist Margaret Leveson in her studio in the Catskills
Artist Margaret Leveson in her studio in the Catskills. © Simona David

Founding member of Blue Mountain Gallery in Manhattan and Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, NY, Margaret Leveson is primarily a plein air painter, captivated by the Catskill Mountains scenery. Margaret studied at the NYU Institute of Fine Arts, and later on earned an MFA from Brooklyn College. She’s lived in the Catskills since 1977, when she and her husband David purchased J. Francis Murphy’s house in Middletown – Murphy was a famous 19th century landscape painter, whose works are displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and other places.

I visited Margaret during the open studios tour on July 27 – she graciously opened her space to the public – a magnificent property with several different studios, and the main residence surrounded by a lavish garden.

I asked Margaret what’s her favorite artistic manifestation these days. She likes to paint plein air, mainly oil on canvas: “I love oils because you can change them so easily. I also love to work in pastels. The problem with pastels is in framing and storage of the finished product. For me watercolor doesn’t have the same flexibility as either oils or pastels,” she says. Among her artists of reference is Wolf Kahn, known for his terrific color compositions. Next to Kahn, on Margaret’s desk I see art books featuring Matisse’s fauvism, and David Hockney’s and Tom Thomson’s works.

The artist's studio in the country
The artist’s studio in the country

Margaret’s plein airs have an impressionistic feel to them – the artist likes to apply color in oil sticks over the canvas or linen that is available. A new project is completed within hours, although sometimes it takes months to complete a more complex artwork. Photographs taken on site help the artist finish the project in the studio, but for the most part Margaret works from nature not from photographs – she thinks that photography doesn’t convey the light in a manner that does justice to the natural beauty.

On the opposite wall there is a series of interiors painted with oil on linen – these were part of the Reflections art show hosted by Blue Mountain Gallery in Chelsea in 2013. They are done in a realistic, detailed manner – Margaret says that some of her paintings are more detailed than others depending on the mood and the feeling she wants to convey. Beautiful shades of purple and yellow draw the viewer in, when looking at paintings like “Night Light” or “Porch with Plants,” my personal favorite.

For more information about Margaret Leveson, visit the artist’s website at

© 2014 Simona David

Weekend in the Catskills – 8/1/14

Weekend in the Catskills – and, what a weekend!

This evening at 8 pm the Bolshoi Ballet and Orchestra will perform Don Quixote at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs – for tickets and more information go to

The Phoenicia Festival of the Voice
The Phoenicia Festival of the Voice. © Simona David

The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice kicked off its fifth season Wednesday night with flamenco and popular Spanish songs. The highlight of the season – opera Barber of Seville by Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, based on the French comedy Le Barbier de Séville, written by Pierre de Beaumarchais – will take place this Saturday, August 2 at 8 pm at the Parish Field. For more information, go to

The Belleayre Music Festival presents the Catskill Mountain Jazz Series with a Django Reinhardt Festival All-Stars performance tonight, August 1 at 8 pm. For tickets and more information, visit

Yesterday, July 31 the Woodstock Playhouse opened its West Side Story summer production (music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) – West Side Story can be seen in Woodstock through August 10. For tickets and more information, visit

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair which took place in August 1969 at Yasgur’s farm in Bethel Woods. Remembering Woodstock: A Timeline of Reunions exhibit opens at the Bethel Woods Museum this Saturday, August 2, and runs through Tuesday, August 5. For more information, go to

Bolshoi ballet, Italian opera, Django Reinhardt jazz, West Side Story, and Woodstock memorabilia – an outstanding program of arts in the Catskills!