It’s only fitting that Frederic Church’s famed Olana State Historic Site, the 250-acre home and landscape that he designed on a bluff overlooking the Hudson Valley, should be the location of a partnership between New York State and the Columbia County Council on the Arts (CCCA) to promote programs for county residents and visitors. The CCCA’s mission is to advance the arts and engage people and cultural organizations in services, like exhibitions, workshops and events that highlight and celebrate artistic endeavors. So yes, it’s right that the Olana Partnership and CCCA cap off their fourth annual En Plein Air Painting Event with an art exhibition, reception and auction.
The multi-day event is happening this coming weekend, July 9 through 12 with the participation of 30 artists from across the country: Scott Thomas Balfe, Patricia Bellerose, Arlene Boehm, Matt Chinian, James Cramer, Carol Douglas, Olive Farrell, Tarryl Gabel, Jamie Williams Grossman, Robin Guthridge, Frank Hanley, Rosemary Hanson, Sandra Hildreth, Janet Howard-Fatta, Danielle Kelling, Gretchen Kelly, Maria Kolodziej-Zincio, Richard Lisle, Jeffrey Markowsky, Robert Masla, Patrick McPhee, Dominique Medici, Steven James Petruccio, Joseph Pierson, Judy Reynolds, Kendra Schieber, John Slivjak, Gregory Summers, Glenn Tunstull and Catherine Whitehead.
“Creating Landscapes within the Landscape” will have them outdoors from Thursday through Saturday, capturing the spectacular vistas on canvas. Their paintings will then be exhibited – some still freshly wet! – at the Wagon House Education Center. Meanwhile, visitors can come to watch them and enjoy the recently restored views throughout the property. On Friday from 10 to11:30 a.m., participating painter Maria Kolodziej-Zincio will conduct an artist-led tour focusing on the artists as they work.
Later that day, a Student Art Reception will be held in the Wagon House Education Center for 20 students of Olana’s Panorama summer arts program, along with an exhibit of their works. Amy Hufnagel, director of education for the Olana Partnership, talks about engaging young people in the arts program. “My job is to help young people fall in love with Olana. We start by building a ‘sense of place’ where students can be inspired and awed; then we add in artists, amazing teachers and activities that give youth the feeling of personal or individual growth.”
When the Plein Air works are declared done, a 4 p.m. meet-and-greet, sip-and-munch on Saturday (have to let that paint dry!) will ensue. Then the auction fun begins. At 5 p.m. sharp, auctioneer Rupert Fennell of Stair Galleries in Hudson will kick off the bidding action and won’t stop until all 30 works are sold! Proceeds from the sale will benefit the artists, as well as the education programs of the Olana Partnership and the Columbia County Council of the Arts.
Cynthia Mulvaney, executive director of CCCA, says, “It is exciting to expand the involvement of our talented painters to educational programs for both adults and children…to learn about the important legacy of plein air painting in America, begun more than a century ago by artists such as Frederic Church.” Plein Air artists will also be on the site on Sunday, July 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to continue to sell works created both at Olana and at other locales, under the big tent behind Olana’s Wagon House Education Center.
Plein Air at Olana, Thursday-Sunday, July 9-12, reception/auction Saturday, 4-6 p.m., $12/$10, Olana State Historic Site, 5720 Route 9G, Hudson; (518) 828-0135, www.olana.org.