“We’re the visionaries because we have looked at exactly what is in front of us that other people have not seen.”
– sculptor Mark di Suvero on the role of the artist in the community
Storm King Art Center to offer free entry day
When I announced to our family that we were going to visit Storm King Art Center, our daughter got excited about it as soon as she heard the word art in the sentence. Our son was more ambivalent. As soon as we arrived, our daughter took in everything she could, learning the names of each piece. Our son was still on the fence about the whole thing. Then we reached Beethoven’s Quartet, the sculpture by Mark di Suvero that you are actually encouraged to hit with the accompanying rubber mallet! That was all it took: The dude banged away, appreciating the variety of sounds, and is now sold on modern art.
My favorite piece is Suspended by Menashe Kadishman. To me, it represents possibility. Everything about it feels off: The large base that we typically think of as a solid foundation for holding a hinged appendage is perched on its corner. The dangling cube seems to hang from a precarious edge, yet its vertical lines convey only a solid presence.
Our daughter championed several opportunities to view Sea Change by George Cutts. The slender, rotating forms are absolutely mesmerizing, and we revisited this piece a lot during our visit.
I hadn’t been to Storm King in years, and between the sheer scale of the outdoor works that we were viewing, the peaceful ride around the center on the free tram and the pleasant picnic areas, my kids can’t wait to go back. What prompted our visit? Storm King’s generous summer free admission days. There’s one more this year: On Thursday, August 29, you can enjoy Storm King for free all day. No special arrangements are necessary; just pull in at the entrance kiosk and away you go.
In addition to magnificent art, Storm King has a café, as well as rental bikes available (only rental bikes are permitted to ride on the property). On Sundays, Storm King offers family programs, free with admission. My kids also got a kick out of the elevator to access the tram, seeing the ground suddenly appear through the glass walls.
Before heading out with the kids, I suggest watching the PBS video about Storm King on the About page on the Storm King website. Our family had a better idea of what we would see, and it was a nice overview of the history. And remember: You don’t want to be like that guy who broke the pinkie finger off that 600-year-old statue in Italy, so no touching or climbing on the sculptures except for these: Momo Taro by Isamu Noguchi, the peachlike bowl that you can sit in; Sit Down, a series of benches by Daniel Buren; Gazebo for Two Anarchists by Siah Armajani; and Beethoven’s Quartet, which you can strike with the mallet.
Storm King is located at One Museum Road in New Windsor. For more information, call (845) 534-3115 or visit www.stormking.org.
Saturday Arts Lab at SUNY-New Paltz
Speaking of the arts, have you heard about SUNY-New Paltz’s new Saturday Arts Lab for young people? This series of classes in visual arts, theater and music begins in September at the SUNY-New Paltz campus, but registration is open now.
I asked Dr. Jessica Poser, assistant professor of Art Education, about this dynamic new offering: “We are so excited to be able to offer innovative arts programming for K through 12 students right here in Ulster County. Our curriculum is process-oriented, exploratory and playful. Come explore with us! Scholarships are available.”
Registration is open through September 13, and the eight-week session begins on Saturday, September 21. SUNY-New Paltz is located at One Hawk Drive in New Paltz. For more information or to register, call (845) 257-7869 or visit www.newpaltz.edu/sal.