A new program, NYFA @ Byrdcliffe, sets up a first-ever collaboration between the venerable arts colony and the New York Foundation of the Arts that echoes much of the half-schooling/half-retreat elements of the original dream that first got the place up and running in the early 1900s. The colony, filled with visual artists and painters participating in its summer-long Artist in Residence Program for the past month, is hosting four artists chosen specially through NYFA at the revived Eastover residence. NYFA — founded 40 years ago “to empower artists at critical stages in their creative lives” via the state Arts Council, is in turn supplying its staff to run a series of professional development sessions on each Saturday in July at the Byrdcliffe Theater, open to everybody but specifically geared to the needs of professional artists in the greater Woodstock community.
“We are very excited about this as there is nothing quite like this opportunity for artists in the region,” Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Executive Director Matthew Leaycraft recently said of the new opportunities tied into NYFA @ Byrdcliffe, and what it means for the organization that seemed on the brink of some sort of shattering just a year ago, when its attempt to hire a new director after a decade of quietude resulted in several loud internal and external skirmishes.
Those eventually included talk of the possible sale of White Pines, the home of colony founders Ralph and Jane Whitehead, and the cessation of operations at the Kleinert/James Arts Center in the hamlet.
All passed now, it seems, with White Pines housing its first ever artist studios — for writers, the Kleinert hosting a series of new exhibitions and performance events, albeit on a strictly weekend schedule for now, a Woodstock Café open Saturdays at noon at the Bydcliffe Theater, with catering by Cucina, and even the old Byrdcliffe tennis courts back in service after decades.
There’s even a new Outdoor Sculpture Show, disguised as craft (in that wily Byrdcliffe way) opening up at the colony in a couple of weeks, much-awaited.
“This was initiated by one of our board members who is on the staff at NYFA, Susan Ball, talking with our board chairman, Frances Halsband,” Leaycraft added. “From what I can tell, it’s the first sort of collaboration of this level that the Foundation has done.”
Amongst other local programs NYFA operates in the region is its annual MARK program, which puts together a group of approximately one dozen artists in several Upstate regions for professional development workshops and exhibition opportunities.
Specifically, though, you might ask what’s happening week-by-week with NYFA@Byrdcliffe?
This coming Saturday, July 2, there will be a 10 a.m. session “Working Collaboratively: Artist and the Public,” wherein artists will examine practical ways to create a successful community-based project and better their own work through collaboration, with New York-based Tracey Candido leading sessions (as well as hosting a colony-only dining event akin to her city-based and acclaimed Community Cooking Club activities in the evening).
Word is that the Executive Director of NYFA, the nation’s biggest resource center for artists, as well as a funding source for our major artists, will be in attendance, as well.
On Saturday, July 9, Eleanor Whitney of the NYFA staff, and formerly of the Rubin Museum, will lead a Grant Application Workshop for Artists, again at 10 a.m.; as well as a 1 p.m. session, “Discover NYFA’s Services and Resources for Artists,” in which she demonstrates how artists can effectively utilize the Foundation’s resources to support their professional career and practice.
The next Saturday, July 16, there will be a 10 a.m. session, “Creating an Effective Online Presence for Artists,” involving everything from email and artist websites to the creating and maintaining of an artist’s blog, social networking, and online art sales. Workshop leader Amber Hawk Swanson comes from a long career of jobs within various media, as well as art organizations including NYFA’s notable MARK program.
Finally, on Saturday, July 23, attorney and jazz saxophonist Peter Cobb will lead “Putting it All Together — Planning and Implementing Your Project,” with a focus on making comprehensive and cohesive plans to take one’s projects to reality. There will also be a special, AIR-artists-only one-on-one series of consultation sessions with NYFA staff.
“The significance of this collaboration is twofold,” Leaycraft said. “It’s a strategic partnership in the ways in which it amplifies our Artist in Residence program significantly, while at the same time a great service to be able to bring to all of our region’s artists.”
All sessions, he pointed out, are free and open to Byrdcliffe residents and Woodstock community artists, although RSVPs are requested as far in advance as possible for the workshops.
As for the tennis, art and café, Leaycraft said he’s finding more and more people spending weekends up at the historic colony as a result of all the new changes.
“A sandwich, focaccia, a Mediterranean salad and a drink for one price on the terrace and of the Byrdcliffe Theater with great service,” he said. “It’s a new era…”
Especially given the way everything, including the new NYFA@Byrdcliffe, is pulling the region back up into the old colony, as well as Byrdcliffe back into the surrounding world.++
For further information, including those workshop reservations, call 679-2079 or visit www.woodstockguild.org.
Christie Scheele, of Chichester, is celebrating her dozen years showing with Albert Shahinian with a new solo exhibition of her singular work this summer, opened since last Saturday, June 25, but officially launching with a reception at the gallerist’s latest upstairs location in the center of Rhinebeck this Saturday, July 2.
“Fullness of Time,” as the show is called, includes the artist’s newer experiments with bifurcation via the paneling of her works, plus added play with the tonality of her unspecified landscapes. There will be enough of her earlier pieces to get a sense of what she does as a long, subtle narrative, and to see past side trips into specific weather phenomenon, casts of light, and painting techniques involving surfaces, applications, and composition.
“Vagabond luminescence” seems to be her new description of choice for what drives her, day in and day out, in her home studio work, as well as the many classes she teaches both locally, at the Woodstock School of Art, and farther afield in Provincetown and other locations.
“More recent bodies of work deal with not only my different perspectives on what defines beauty and power in the landscape, but also with alternative viewpoints on process and presentation,” she has said of what she’s up to, while simultaneously speaking about the joys of maintaining a long-term (and productive) relationship with a gallerist/dealer. “To stay within the confines of the same explorations for years on end is, I feel, a sort of artistic napping. Therefore, in some pieces of these newer series my work—always aiming to both soothe and provoke—encourages more questions on the part of the viewer.”++
The opening for “Fullness of Time” is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Saturday, July 2.
Albert Shahinian Fine Art is located upstairs at 22 East Market Street, Suite 301, in Rhinebeck. Summer hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m., as well as by appointment “and chance.”
For further information call 845-876-7578.
The light of fame
Is celebrity eternal? Maybe in a few cases, especially where tragedy intersects fame and idealism. Consider that the wee gallery town of Andes, way up the Route 28 corridor beyond Margaretville, where hosts of art aficionados will be headed over the coming weekend for leading New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl’s annual pyrotechnic displays in a valley behind Bovina. There, momentarily trumping the new “Featuring All” exhibit up at Chace-Randall Gallery and the usual contemporary fare at Sixty One Main Gallery, the draw this weekend is the showing of a new stash of recently discovered photographs of John Lennon at home in Greenwich Village with wife Yoko Ono, before their move to The Dakota farther uptown.
Photographer Louis Gaudiosi was a teenager in 1972, shooting for Rock Magazine, one of the many tabloid new journalism outlets of the day, when he got an assignment to capture a day in the life of the ex-Beatle and his wife. What resulted was a look into the times where everyone has a cigarette between the fingers at all times, and a plaque on the wall reading The Pope Smokes Dope takes the place of Ono’s art work. Guitars and other instruments are everywhere as the iconic John revives himself as a new politico.
Remember, this was his first year as an American, following his holiday release of “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” when the Nixon Administration ordered the FBI on to his case. His single for the year, “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World,” captured his ramshackle politicism of the time. And the partying mode that resulted from his first year away from his former lives, as it were.
How did the photos end up in Andes, which the Andes Art and Antiques gallery is noting as being “not far from Yoko Ono’s summer home?” Gaudiosi later left photography, not long after this, his only major assignment.
No one is saying, yet.
Suffice to use it, and all celebrity, as a draw to greater riches. The Chace-Randall show includes works by Woodstock artist Meredith Rosier and Pine Hill-based photographer Lisa Candela. And hey, on the way into town be sure and look for uber-sculptor Ken Hiratsuka’s park-like setting and studio barn on the left.
Andes Antiques & Art is located at 173 Main Street. It’s a fun little village.
For further information call (845) 676-3420
Now, could there actually be some similarity in the celebrity of Mr. Lennon and that other guy he once said his first band had become more popular than?
Think on that while driving to see this show. Or on the way back, taking in the grandeur.++