Woodstock Library plans ‘organic pathway’ of its history

library HZT“Thank you voters! The Library budget passed 240 to 41,” reads the home page for woodstock.org, the own library’s busy website.

Brief and to the point, the reelection of incumbent library trustees Elaine Hammond and Kathleen Lee to new five year terms are further noted…along with an ambitious new art project starting with a series of kids’ and adult art workshops this week, running through the coming months.

The idea behind the project, Journey Through Time, is to create a new community-minded work for not only the library and its users, but the entire town and area it serves. And it’s already drawing donations from two of Woodstock’s banks, along with interest from a growing number of would-be participants.


Combined with the library’s Annex project, set to shift towards its design completion and fundraising stages in the coming months, it all augers an upbeat time.

A Journey Through Time stems from a proposal brought to library director Amy Raff by local artist Susan Togut, known for her Healing Arbor, built for and by breast cancer victims along the Rondout in Kingston and now located at the former Benedictine Hospital.

“Constructed as an organic pathway around age old trees on the library’s grounds, this outdoor environment will be composed of many simulated stained glass and wood art components created by intergenerational community members,” reads Togut’s proposal. “The environment will chronologically highlight key events, the individuals who worked tirelessly to make them possible, noted books, sections of library shelves, and piled books from the library’s earliest days to the present. Additionally, the environment will highlight the library’s future, including its upcoming annex. The whole process of creating this environment is viewed as history in the making.”

Raff said that the project is being organized in two phases, with the first to start right away, creating the components that will be used for completion of the environment — to be sited on the library lawn, if all goes as planned — next year. It will include additional fundraising, possibly through the sale of some of the pieces being made in the coming weeks.

Children and teen workshops will be conducted by Togut at the library on Monday afternoons, starting September 16 and continuing on September 23, 30 and October 7.  The children’s session will be from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with teens participating from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Adult art-making workshops will be held at the library on Sunday afternoons, September 15, 22, 29 and October 6th, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to her Healing Arbor, Togut has taught art at the Northeast Center for Special Care in Kingston, worked with similar community projects throughout the Hudson Valley, had solo shows at several key Hudson Valley galleries, and built “outdoor environments” in sculpture exhibitions at White Pines in Byrdcliffe and Unison Arts Center in New Paltz.

“She came to me after coming up with this project,” said Raff this week. “It will have its own funding and already Ulster Savings has donated $2500 for it, alongside another $500 from Rondout Savings.”


Magic is back

As for the election last week, Raff was ecstatic…and as upbeat as usual, noting how the recent. Library Fair made more than $12,000 and was noted by many as “having its old magic back.”

“We are all very happy with the results. This shows we are very stable just now,” she said. “Everything looks great for the library. The present looks great and the future looks very bright.”


For more on the Woodstock Library and A Journey Through Time workshops (and eventual exhibition), call 679-2213 or visit ulsterpub.staging.wpengine.org.

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