Month: May 2015

Weekend in the Catskills – 5/29/2015

A fabulous weekend in the Catskills: Headwaters History Days celebrating the history of the Central Catskills are taking place in Roxbury, Andes, Pine Hill, Phoenicia and other places. Award-winning author Jenny Milchman is teaching a memoir workshop at the Phoenicia Library. Friends of Historic Kingston gallery is hosting a James McEntee exhibit – McEntee was a landscape painter of the 19th century affiliated with the Hudson River School, and a good friend of Frederic Church. A ballet performance with music by Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein is taking place at the Bardavon Theater. And the Woodstock Playhouse is presenting the musical Oliver! based on Charles Dickens’ novel of the same name.

Read full article at

Jay Gould Memorial Church in Roxbury, NY. © Simona David

Featured Destination: The Center for Photography at Woodstock

photographyThe Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) was founded in 1977 to exhibit and support photographic art. It was only in the 1970s that the photographic imagery was accepted in the mainstream media as conceptual art, and was included in museum and gallery exhibitions. Since the 1970s, CPW has been presenting exhibitions, and offering workshops and residencies to artists interested in photography. The center organizes a monthly salon for photographers held on the second Tuesday of the month. Since 1980 CPW has maintained an extensive print collection, currently on loan to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz.

I spoke with Ariel Shanberg, the executive director of CPW.

Simona David: Please, tell us a little bit about your job at the center.

Ariel Shanberg: I am the executive director, and help oversee the CPW’s kaleidoscopic mix of programs, and services that are provided through this artist’s center not-for-profit.

SD: For how many years have you been holding this position?

AS: I’ve been director since 2003, so just about 12 years. I’ve been at CPW since 1999, when I started as an intern.

SD: The center was founded in 1977 by Howard Greenberg and Michael Feinberg. Let’s talk a little bit about the founders, and what motivated them to open this center in the late 1970s.

AS: CPW was then established as the Catskill Center for Photography, located in Woodstock, a community well-known for its legacy of art making, dating back to the early days of the 20th century, when the Byrdcliffe art colony was founded. A group of photographers led by the likes of Howard Greenberg and Michael Feinberg and others felt that there wasn’t a place for photographers to be given this sort of respect, and have their needs met as creative practitioners. Photography at that time was still seen as a utilitarian form, as a technical practice, and not necessarily as an art practice. Their response was to create a space – an artistic home for photographers. This is something that was really happening across the country in major cities like San Francisco, Houston, Charlotte, North Carolina, throughout the 1970s in line with the Civil Rights and the women’s rights movement; you had artist-run spaces emerging – this kind of we’ll do it for ourselves, and can do attitude.

SD: How has this space grown over the years? I know you have a traditional black and white dark room, but also a digital photo lab, a library, as well as the exhibition space.

AS: CPW has definitely grown over its nearly four decades. I’m happy to say that the black and white dark room that was one of the first services we provided is still very much used today. We have someone traveling from the Albany area to work in our dark room for a few hours this afternoon. Our programs have grown to meet the needs of those who aren’t served. In 2009 CPW established a Photographers’ Fellowship Fund, which is a regional grant that supports photographers and artists working in photography who live in upstate New York. To date it has given over 76,000 dollars to over 85 photographers. It’s a 2,500 dollars fellowship award which the recipient can use to pursue their creative practice however he or she may deem fit. It can be used to buy new equipment, to travel to a place where they want to take photographs, to pay for building expenses, etc.

SD: Let’s talk a little bit about the submission process.

AS: The deadline is in mid-September every year. We will be announcing the guidelines and who the juror is this July. Every year we invite one juror to look at the submissions. This is the only CPW opportunity when we welcome photographers to submit original artworks. Normally our submission policy is to present digital submissions on a thumb drive, DVD or a CD. But for this opportunity we really want to encourage applicants to submit original works.

SD: Is this fellowship open to established photographers only?

AS: You don’t have to be a professional photographer. One of the unique things about CPW is that we’re really dedicated to nurturing and supporting emerging photographers. We want to be there at the beginning of people’s career. For many recipients this is the first public recognition of their work.

SD: CPW also has an internship program. Let’s talk about it.

AS: Our internship program is something very near and dear to my heart. I first joined CPW, as I said, as an intern in the arts administration program. We have interns in high school age, college age, graduate school age, and adult learners who continue to grow their passion. Our interns work with us three days a week for a period of a few months, and they get to have an incredible hands-on experience with our classes and lectures, exhibitions, collection management, and digital lab. We have an extensive print collection partially stored and kept at the Dorsky Museum in New Paltz.

SD: This is a great opportunity for future gallerists and curators, I imagine.

AS: Absolutely. And artists too. There is definitely a professional component to being an artist today: meeting deadlines, being organized, seeing the behind the scene operations at such a venue, is a very empowering experience.

SD: You also have a residency program. How does that work?

AS: Since 1999 CPW has been providing residency opportunities to artists of color who work in photography and related media. We specifically work to support African-Americans, Caribbean Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Americans of Middle Eastern descent to make sure that there is a diversity, and the living legacy of art practice that exists in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley is continuously enriched with the diversity of perspective. We’ve worked with over 104 artists through this program. They come for a period of three to six weeks, and are provided with 24/7 access to the facility, and critical and technical support. They receive an honorarium, and food and travel stipends. And they have the ability to use the equipment and produce new work. We host eight residencies per year.

SD: What are the requirements for becoming a resident artist?

AS: We announce a call for submissions every year in December. The deadline is the last day in February. A selection panel of three professionals, who often include a former artist in residence or two, is formed to help select the incoming artists.

SD: Let’s talk about some of the workshops CPW will be offering this summer.

AS: This is our 30th year of hosting workshops, and we bring in some of the best known names in the field, including Mary Ellen Mark, Brian Ulrich, and Bobbi Lane. We tap into the tremendous resources of artists, photographers, and educators who live in our area, including the likes of Joan Barker, Jill Skupin Burkholder, Dan Burkholder, Carlos Loret de Mola, Craig Barber, Tom Delooza, and others. We have classes for beginners such as Intro to DSLR Photography, and Introductory Photoshop, as well as classes on hands-on processes like Encaustics in Photography, Palladium Printing, and Introductory Wet Plate Printing, among others. We really cover the gamut of photography history from the mid-1800s straight up to how to create GIFs animation files – the very latest and cutting-edge.

SD: You also offer workshops on food styling.

AS: We do. Photography is such an exciting medium, and it has so many different facets: the fine art side, the visual storytelling side, the documentary news making side, as well as abstraction, and beauty. Food photography is probably one of the fastest growing areas, and we’re very fortunate to have Phil Mansfield, who is the staff photographer at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, lead this one day workshop in late September.

SD: We’re talking about photographers who may be working on books, or for magazines, or just making high quality prints.

AS: Absolutely. Our programs cover everything. Another part that is important and makes our workshops unique is the tremendous landscape and environment we’re in. The Catskill region and the Hudson Valley play an important role. We have a number of workshops that take advantage of the landscape and the outdoors, and the historical visual tradition of art making in our area.

SD: CPW is also offering teen camp opportunities every summer. Let’s talk about that.

AS: We have two great opportunities for teens this summer. In July Jeanette Rodriguez-Pineda is leading a class called Teen Camp: DIY, Old School. The teens will learn about cyanotypes, and old prints, and learn how to print on fabric, photosensitized alternative surfaces, like bags and shirts, and skateboards. In August Elizabeth Unterman will lead a workshop on contemporary digital photography. We provide students with Canon DSLR cameras which they use for the week, and then the four-day camp is tapped off with a slide show presentation and a small exhibition by the participants. The programs are designed for teens between 13 and 17.

SD: Let’s talk about CPW’s exhibition space, and what is currently on view.

AS: Our exhibitions focus on emerging artists. We have two galleries. Our main gallery is traditionally used for group exhibitions curated by our staff, or other creatives we invite from across the country. We do an annual juried show called Photography Now. This year’s installment was juried by David Bram, founder and editor of the online publication Fraction Magazine. We received 500 submissions, and ten artists were selected. Each year we bring a different juror, and it’s always fascinating to see their take on photography.

In our smaller gallery we traditionally show solo exhibitions. Photographer Rachel Papo, who is an American-born Israeli photographer currently living in Berlin, spent about two and a half years living in Woodstock, from 2011 to mid-2013. During that time she became enmeshed with and intrigued by the home-schooling community in our area. As a photographer Rachel has always been interested in transformative stages during youth. She’s photographed boy bands, young Russian ballerinas in school in St. Petersburg, and women in the Israeli army, an experience she had herself. Her project Homeschooled focuses on the perspective and the experiences of the young boys and girls who are being educated at home. Everything from their private rooms to the way the kitchen or the garden could become the classroom, and their relationship to the environment and the surroundings provide in-depth views into a world that is both private and highly contested, debated, but not clearly understood. It’s a beautiful series of images. There are eighteen photographs in this show; they’ll remain on view through June 14.

SD: Ariel, May is considered National Photography Month. What are some of the trends that you see in photography today?

AS: One of the interesting things that happened with the digital revolution for about a decade is not just photography shifting from a film based medium to a digital based one, but also an increased awareness and knowledge of traditional photographic processes. We’re at an interesting juncture where photography and all its pursuits, and all its facets, and all its purposes are more present at the same time as they’ve ever been. We all carry cameras, and smart phones, with more photo apps than any other apps, everybody’s making photographs in a way that hasn’t been done since the Brownie was around, and photography was the number one hobby in the United States. Because of the web, images are more important than they ever were. What we noticed here at CPW is a greater attention to the construction of the image, a greater awareness about image manipulation, and the subjectivity of the image, and that makes for an exciting time in photography.

CPW’s gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

59 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498

(845) 679-9957

For more information about CPW, visit

© 2015 Simona David

Memorial Day Weekend in the Catskills

Fenimore Art Museum

Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, Otsego County, is hosting an Iroquois Cultural Festival Saturday, May 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum’s new Lucy B. Hamilton Amphitheater, located near the shores of the Otsego Lake, will celebrate its grand opening this Saturday. Otsego: A Meeting Place Iroquois Sites are located nearby. Native American music, dance and storytelling performances will be held at the amphitheater between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Traditional Iroquois activities such as playing lacrosse and building canoes will take place throughout the day. Native American arts and crafts as well as traditional Iroquois cuisine will be available. For more information, visit

Otsego Lake, Cooperstown, NY © Simona David

Hudson River Maritime Museum

Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, Ulster County, is hosting an exhibition Lighthouses of the Hudson, celebrating the museum’s 35th anniversary. This year also marks the centennial of the Rondout Light, which was built in 1915. Thirteen lighthouses are part of this exhibition, seven of whom are still standing. A fascinating history surrounds this place as for many years Hudson River was the main route connecting New York City and Albany. A photo collage included in this exhibition speaks about the restoration process at the Saugerties, Hudson-Athens, Rondout, and the Esopus-Meadows Lighthouses. The museum is open daily from May to October, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

The Woodstock – New Paltz Arts & Crafts Fair

On May 23 – 25, over two hundred artists and artisans will showcase a variety of works in all media and styles at the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz. Fiber, glass, metal, leather, jewelry, mixed media, fine art and photography, as well as other handcrafted products will be on view over the span of three days. Since 1982 the Woodstock – New Paltz Arts & Crafts Fair has become an attraction for visitors from all over the world. The fair takes place over the Memorial Day weekend in May, as well as Labor Day in late summer. For more information, visit

Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild

The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild is hosting a trail hike Spring Wild Flowers Saturday, May 23 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Hikers will meet at the Byrdcliffe Theater, and will then be accompanied by a hiking guide. The hike, connecting Byrdcliffe with Mt. Guardian Trail, offers a panoramic view of the Woodstock’s backwoods, an unforgettable experience this time of year. For more information, visit

Bearsville Theater

Still in Woodstock, Bearsville Theater is hosting a Bob Dylan Birthday celebratory concert Sunday, May 24 at 8 p.m. The legendary folk musician was born on May 24, 1941 in Minnesota, and lived in Woodstock in the late 1960s – early 1970s. This year a group of Hudson Valley musicians will celebrate Dylan’s birthday at the Bearsville Theater, and will perform some of his best known songs. The event is sponsored by WDST Radio Woodstock. For more information, visit

Thomas Cole National Historic Site & Olana State Historic Site

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, Greene County, in partnership with Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, Columbia County, are co-hosting River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home, a show that will remain on view through November this year. The exhibition, featuring twenty-eight contemporary artists inspired by the works of Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church, is the first major collaboration between the two institutions, and the first event since the 19th century when contemporary artists are invited to present their works in these settings. Artists such as Chuck Close, Martin Puryear, Lynn Davis, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Maya Lin, Stephen Hannock, and Jerry Gretzinger are among those featured in this show. For more information, visit

Hudson Opera House

Hudson Opera House in Hudson, Columbia County, is hosting a classical music concert Saturday, May 23 at 7 p.m. featuring Grammy nominated artists Shmuel Ashkenasi (violin) and Peter Wiley (cello), who will be joined by Helena Baille (violin). The trio will perform Schubert’s B Flat Trio, Mozart’s Adagio and Fugues K. 404, as well as Mozart’s Divertimento K. 563. For more information, visit

Roxbury, NY © Simona David

Roxbury Arts Center

Roxbury Arts Center in Roxbury, Delaware County, is hosting a salsa concert performed by Orquesta SCC, Saturday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. Based in New York City, Orquesta SCC (which stands for Salsa Con Conciencia – Salsa Music with Conscience) is an 11-piece band founded in 2013 by composer Jose Vazquez-Cofresi. A free dance class will be held before the performance at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Longyear Gallery

Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, Delaware County, is hosting an opening reception Saturday, May 23 at 3 p.m. featuring artist Margaret Leveson. Founding member of the Blue Mountain Gallery in Manhattan and the Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, Leveson is primarily a plein air painter, captivated by the Catskill Mountains scenery. Her paintings look a bit impressionistic: the artist likes to apply color in oil sticks over the canvass or linen that is available. A new project is completed within hours, although sometimes it takes months to complete more complex artworks. Leveson studied at the NYU Institute of Fine Arts, and later earned an MFA from Brooklyn College. She’s lived in the Catskills since 1977. For more information, visit

Longyear Gallery.
Longyear Gallery, Margaretville, NY © Simona David


Bethel Woods

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, Sullivan County, is hosting Mysteryland Festival Friday through Monday, May 22 – 25. Mysteryland is the longest running electronic music, culture and arts festival in the world, launched in 1993. Camping options are available on site. For more information, visit

© 2015



Weekend in the Catskills – 5/15/2015

Erpf Center

Erpf Center in Arkville, Delaware County, is hosting an opening reception this Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. discussing works by artists in residence at Platte Clove, a site administered by the Catskill Center in Greene County. Platte Clove, along with Kaaterskill Clove, was an inspiration to early American landscape painters affiliated with the Hudson River School of Painting, a movement initiated by Thomas Cole in 1825. For more information about this event, visit


Slabsides, home of naturalist writer John Burroughs in West Park, Ulster County, is hosting an Open House event “The Journals of John Burroughs,” this Saturday, May 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. At noon Vassar College student Maura Toomey will be talking about her three years of research, transcribing Burroughs’ hand written journals. Toomey transcribed twenty-two volumes, covering the period 1887 – 1901, and thus gaining insights into Burroughs’ understanding of the natural world. For more information, visit

Fisher Center

Fisher Center in Annandale-on-Hudson, Dutchess County, is hosting a classical music performance this Sunday, May 17 at 3 p.m. featuring members of the American Symphony Orchestra, Bard College Conservatory Orchestra, and Bard College Faculty conducted by Leon Botstein. The performance is dedicated to Mahler’s Symphony No. 9. Mahler wrote his last symphony in 1908 – 1909. Leonard Bernstein said about it that “It is terrifying, and paralyzing, as the strands of sound disintegrate … in ceasing, we lose it all. But in letting go, we have gained everything.” For more information about this performance, visit

Albany Symphony Orchestra

American Symphony Orchestra is hosting the American Music Festival: Migrations this Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Migrations is a program dedicated to traditions surrounding American history. Michael Daugherty’s Trail of Tears Concerto for Flute and Orchestra with flutist Amy Porter will be performed, as well as works by Clint Needham and Andrea Reinkemeyer, and Derek Bermel’s Migration Series for Jazz Orchestra. For tickets, and more information visit

Catskill Art Society

Catskill Art Society in Livingston Manor, Sullivan County, is hosting a Garden Day event this Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Conversant speakers will address a variety of garden-related topics from community gardening to planting techniques, tips and more. For more information, visit

Enjoy a gorgeous weekend in the Catskills!

Weekend in the Catskills – 5/8/2015

Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 10: it’s going to be gorgeous weather in the Catskills. Our choices for this weekend are: Lady Day’s centennial concert at Fisher Center, a Balkan Dance Party in Staatsburg, and several art opening receptions in Woodstock, Saugerties and Roxbury.


Fisher Center

The Aaron Diehl Trio is paying tribute to Billie Holiday this Friday, May 8 at the Fisher Center in Annandale-on-Hudson, Dutchess County. Cécile McLorin Salvant, a Grammy-nominated vocalist, will be joining the trio in a performance that will honor Holiday’s legacy, and celebrate her centennial. Billie Holiday, also known as Lady Day, was born in Philadelphia in April 1915. The centennial concert, sponsored by the Catskill Jazz Factory, begins at 8 p.m. tonight. For more information, visit

Wassail Balkan Dance Party

Wassail Balkan Dance Party will celebrate its 19th anniversary this Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. at Breezy Hill Orchard in Staatsburg, Dutchess County. A twelve-piece brass band will perform Macedonian and Bulgarian dance music. Steve Kotansky will also lead a Balkan dance workshop. Balkan cuisine, including lamb roast, will be served, as well as a variety of artisanal products from local farms. Balkan music originated in South-Eastern Europe, and it’s known for the complexity of its rhythms. For more information about this event, visit

Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM)

Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM) is hosting Far and Wide, the seventh annual juried art exhibition this Saturday, May 9 at 4 p.m. featuring the works of over thirty regional artists. The event will take place in the Main Gallery. In the Founders Gallery, there is an exhibit of small works. Also, artist Lynn Herring is featured in the Solo Gallery. For more information about these events, visit

Cross Contemporary Art

Cross Contemporary Art Gallery in Saugerties, Ulster County, is also hosting an opening reception this Saturday, May 9 at 6 p.m. featuring the works of artist Portia Munson. The show called Little Suns, Hollow Bones, speaks about Munson’s interest in environmental issues, and includes works whose subjects range from floral arrangements and blossoms to bones and animal corpses. Munson is an accomplished visual artist whose work has been reviewed in numerous publications including Art in America, The New Yorker and The New York Times. For more information about this show, visit

Roxbury Arts Group

Roxbury Arts Group (RAG) in Roxbury, Delaware County, is hosting an artist talk this Saturday at 2 p.m. Artist Lisbeth Firmin, whose show Working the Light is on view in the Walt Meade Gallery at RAG, will be talking about her work as a painter and printmaker. Firmin is a realist painter whose work explores the relationship between humans and space. Street scenes as well as a more abstract interpretation of light and shadow are visible in her works. For more information, visit  

Also, this Saturday, May 9 Albany will celebrate the 67th anniversary of its immensely popular Tulip Festival, which speaks about the city’s Dutch heritage. For more details about the Tulip Festival, visit

Have a fabulous weekend!

Weekend in the Catskills – 5/1/2015

May Day, Park Day, Independent Bookstore Day, Kentucky Derby, and superb weather this weekend – many reasons to celebrate.

Thomas Cole National Historic Site & Olana State Historic Site

Olana Estate. Contributed Photo.
Olana Estate. Contributed Photo.

Thomas Cole National Historic Site in partnership with Olana State Historic Site are co-hosting River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home, an exhibition that opens this Sunday, May 3 at both sites. The exhibition, featuring twenty-eight contemporary artists inspired by the works of Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church, is the first major collaboration between the two institutions, and the first event since the 19th century when contemporary artists are invited to present their works in these settings. Artists such as Chuck Close, Martin Puryear, Lynn Davis, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Maya Lin, Stephen Hannock, and Jerry Gretzinger are among those featured in this show. For more information, visit

Hudson Opera

Hudson Opera House in Hudson, Columbia County, is hosting a classical music concert this Sunday, May 3 at 3 p.m. Mozart and Friends: Musical Wonderland featuring world class musicians from the Preparatory Division of The Bard College Conservatory of Music: soprano Amy Palomo, clarinetist Nicholas Lewis, and pianist Renana Gutman. Talented young musicians will also perform under the tutelage of these accomplished artists, and will be exposed to performing in a professional setting. This is a free concert for the entire family. For more information, visit

Writers in the Mountains

Writers in the Mountains (WIM) presents Writing Fiction Today – Literary vs. Genre Fiction: Real Distinction or No Difference at All? Sunday, May 3 at 1 p.m. at the Golden Notebook Bookstore in Woodstock, Ulster County. The event is co-sponsored by Glaring Omissions Writing Group, one of the longest-running critique groups in the Hudson Valley. Moderator Jenny Milchman will lead a conversation with panelists Elizabeth Brundage, Alison Gaylin, and Peter Golden as they question the foundation that lies beneath bookstore shelving, library categorization, and the ways we define words on a page. For more information, visit


Bardavon Theatre

Bardavon Theatre in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, is hosting a classical music concert this Saturday, May 2 at 8 p.m. featuring the Hudson Valley Philharmonic conducted by Randall Craig Fleischer. The orchestra will perform Brahms’ Requiem and Haydn’s Symphony No. 44. Over one hundred and fifty instrumentalists and singers will perform, including the Vassar Choir and Cappella Festiva directed by Christine Howlett. Fleischer will deliver a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. For more information, visit

Bannerman Castle

Bannerman Castle, located on Pollepel Island, in the proximity of Fishkill, Dutchess County, is an architectural gem built in 1901 by businessman Francis Bannerman. Bannerman designed the building himself. While the castle is currently under renovation, the island is open to the public by guided tours only. To embark on a tour, visitors meet at the Beacon Institute Dock. The first tour of the season will take place this Saturday, May 2 at 11 a.m. The tour is two and a half hour long. For more information, visit

Also, Vassar College is open for campus tours this Saturday, May 2 at 1 p.m. Lyle Lovett will perform at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston Sunday, May 3 at 7 p.m. Bard College Conservatory Orchestra is having the last concert of the season Saturday, May 2 at 8 p.m.

© 2015