Bluestone rebirth: Opus 40 gets an executive director

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

Caroline Crumpacker

Does stone move? From the look of some organizational shifts at Opus 40, in Saugerties, it appears anything’s possible where there’s a strong will.

For the first time in years, Opus 40 Sculpture Park & Museum — artist Harvey Fite’s monumental bluestone creation — has an executive director. Caroline Crumpacker, director of the renowned Millay Colony for the Arts in Columbia County for the past 12 years, and before that a major fundraising consultant with both The Public Theater and WNET/Channel Thirteen in New York City, was appointed to the position to oversee operations and programs, including fundraising, earlier this month. 

“As far as I know we haven’t had an executive director for a long, long time,” said Tad Richards, the stepson of Opus 40 sculptor Harvey Fite who helped create the current site and museum as a nonprofit following Fite’s death in 1976, and lives on the property. “With a very knowledgeable new board of directors and now Caroline on hand, who’s very good at fundraising, we’re seeing a whole new sense of life to the organization.”


“Opus 40 has never really had an Executive Director before although various people have run things over the years (namely Tad),” Crumpacker added. “There’s been no huge influx of funds though there are a couple of friendly foundations supporting this transition and rooting for us, and they can possibly be involved down the line. I’ll be working three quarters time, or four days a week in practice…I am particularly looking forward to collaborating with this terrific board and staff. I think the opportunities for growth are tremendously exciting!”

Dr. Jonathan Becker, Opus 40’s new board chairman and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Political Studies, and Director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College, spoke of Crumpacker’s hiring in similar terms to Richards: as a “next chapter” for Opus 40 that promises to “bring our incredible resources to a wider audience,”

“Caroline has excellent organizational experience, has worked with a range of organizations and knows both our area and the arts extremely well,” Dr. Becker noted. “We welcome her to the organization with great enthusiasm.”

In addition to her years at Millay, an artists’ colony located on the former property of activist/feminist poet Edna St. Vincent Millay where she launched a multiform program of Arts Education for some 1000 students in local public schools, and Professional Development programs for area teachers, Crumpacker worked as Director of Government Relations for the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, as Deputy Director of Government and Foundation Underwriting for Channel Thirteen/WNET, as Managing Director of the Poetry Society of America, and as a fundraising consultant for Art Omi in Columbia County. Her academic work has included chairing a panel on female publishers and delivering a paper at a conference held at Barnard College on “Lyric to Language: Contemporary Innovative Women Poets.”

She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Brown University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, and has published poetry and reviews in numerous leading journals, published several books, and served as Poetry Editor of Fence magazine, a literary biannual. She also serves on the board of High Meadow School in Stone Ridge.

“I am lucky enough, and old enough, to now have more than 20 years of arts administration experience at some of New York’s, and America’s, most fabulous arts organizations,” she has noted. “And I am also a poet and have published a book, poems, essays, translations, reviews, chapbooks… hither and yon, here and there.”

Richards and Crumpacker said that Opus 40 is looking to eventually add a residency program to its programs.

“We are several years away from that but one of my roles at Opus 40 will be to renovate spaces and create spaces for artists in residence,” the former Millay director said.

Opus 40 is a large environmental sculpture park located on over six acres in Saugerties, with its sculptural center comprised of a sprawling series of dry-stone ramps, pedestals and platforms covering an old bluestone quarry. The property also houses the Quarryman Museum and hosts a range of artistic events and happenings.

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