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Quadricentennial celebration includes exhibitions, concerts, and poetry readings are featured through December 24, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—This fall, from September through December, there will be a wide array of activities at Vassar College offered in conjunction with the celebration of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial. All of these will celebrate some aspect of the Hudson River and Valley – either through art, literature, or music. Highlights include the Art Center’s exhibition Drawn by New York (through 11/1); the Vassar College Libraries Poetry of the Hudson (through 12/24); the Palmer Gallery’s The River (11/5-12/17); a poetry reading (10/15); and concerts featuring choirs from the east and west bank of the River (9/26); an outdoor concert by the legendary Pete Seeger. All events are free and open to the public.


The Vassar College Department of Music will present the “Musical Bridge Concert,” on Saturday, September 26, at 7:00pm, in the Chapel.

Christine R. Howlett, Edward Lundergan, and Lee H. Pritchard, will conduct this evening of choral music that features 200 voices through the combined efforts of the Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir, Kairos, Camerata Chorale, Ulster Choral Society, and the Vassar College Choir.

Christine Howlett, director of choral activities and assistant professor of music at Vassar, noted that the idea for this celebratory concert was to “create a musical bridge concert by bringing together choruses from the east and west banks of the Hudson.”

The concert seemed a natural choice with such a vibrant and active singing community in the area, Howlett said, while she mentioned that the idea sprang from conversations with Nancy Cozean, who is helping to coordinate special “Quad” events in Dutchess County.

The concert will feature mostly selections by American composers, including Barber, Bernstein, Brunner, Copland, Hatfield, Haydn, Sweelinck, and others.


“All the pieces will celebrate some aspect of the Hudson Valley, whether it be the bridge, the river, or the people,” Howlett enthused. “I expect it to be quite a wonderful experience!”


This program is sponsored in part by ExploreNY400, with funding made possible by the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial. 




The special exhibition, Drawn by New York: Six Centuries of Watercolor from the Collection at the New-York Historical Society, will be on view at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center through November 1.


Drawn by New York celebrates the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s famed river voyage and the 200th anniversary of Fulton’s inaugural steamboat trip, while highlighting the history of drawing and watercolor in New York State and the Hudson River Valley.


Roberta J. M. Olson, curator of drawings, New-York Historical Society, curated this exhibition, which was originally on view last year at the New-York Historical Society (NYHS). The NYHS holds one of the nation’s earliest assembled public drawings collections and includes a special concentration of works that reflect New York’s scenery, settlements, and citizens. Eighty-one works were selected for display at the Art Center from the original NYHS exhibition with additions from the Society’s permanent collection. These span six centuries, from rare mid-16th-century watercolors of European birds—precursors of the work of Audubon—to representations of the World Trade Center before and after September 11, 2001.

Benjamin Genocchio noted in his New York Times review of Drawn by New York that the exhibition “is a show everyone will love. It is compact, beautiful and thought-provoking, presenting 81 drawings and watercolors from the mid-16th century to the present.”

Following its presentation at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, the exhibition will travel to the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio (November 20, 2009 through January 17, 2010).


The exhibition at the New-York Historical Society and the publication of the catalogue and its research were generously supported by The Getty Foundation, Leonard L. and Ellen Milberg, Barbara and Richard Debs, Pam and Scott Schafler, Eli Wilner & Company, Inc., The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, Alexander Acevedo, and Graham Arader.


The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center was founded in 1864 as the Vassar College Art Gallery. The current 36,400-square-foot facility, designed by Cesar Pelli and named in honor of the new building's primary donor, opened in 1993. The Lehman Loeb Art Center's collections chart the history of art from antiquity to the present and comprise almost 18,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and glass and ceramic wares. Notable holdings include the Warburg Collection of Old Master prints, an important group of Hudson River School paintings given by Matthew Vassar at the college's inception, and a wide range of works by major European and American 20th- century painters. Vassar was the first U.S. college founded with a permanent art collection and gallery, and at any given time, the Permanent Collection Galleries of the Art Center feature approximately 350 works from Vassar's extensive collections.


Admission to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is free. The art center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10:00am–5:00pm; Thursday, 10:00am–9:00pm; and Sunday, 1:00–5:00 pm. Located at the entrance to the historic Vassar College campus, the Art Center can be reached within minutes from other Mid-Hudson cultural attractions, such as Dia:Beacon, the Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt national historic sites and homes, and the Vanderbilt mansion. The Art Center is wheelchair accessible. For more information, the public may call (845) 437-5632 or visit fllac.vassar.edu.



In conjunction with the Art Center’s exhibition Drawn by New York, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and Vassar College’s Office of Campus Activities will present a concert featuring Pete Seeger, the living legend of the Hudson Valley, on Saturday, October 10, on the Chapel Lawn.

The concert will begin at 12:00pm with performances by three groups – the Roundabout Ramblers; the Dixieland jazz group, the Bearcats; as well as Vassar student, Max Kutner ’11, guitar. Seeger will begin his performance at 2:00pm. All are invited to attend, but please remember to bring blankets or folding chairs for seating, as well as food for picnicking. (In case of rain, the concert will be held in the Chapel). There are no tickets for this free concert, just please come and enjoy.

Patricia Phagan, the Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Center, contacted Seeger to see if he would join with the Art Center in celebrating the Hudson River Quadricentennial and the Art Center’s show, Drawn by New York, and was delighted with his affirmative reply.


Phagan noted that Seeger’s championship of the Hudson River and commitment to folk culture were deciding factors for the invitation during the celebratory year of Hudson’s historic voyage. She said, “I can think of no better person today who symbolizes an explorer’s spirit and perseverance, and who could share their thoughts and talents with our students and the local community of Poughkeepsie.” She noted that his presence will have a profound and far-reaching effect on this generation of Vassar students, as it has during his past visits to campus.


Hudson River champion Seeger was recently awarded the 2009 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize as he has “made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” Last May, Seeger’s 90th birthday was celebrated with a star-studded, sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden.

Seeger, a regular on 1940 radio music shows, played and sang with The Weavers in the 1950s, the song “Goodnight, Irene” being their most popular hit. A prolific songwriter, he wrote or co-wrote some of the most memorable songs associated with the 1960s, including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “If I Had a Hammer.”

Continuing to inspire generations of Americans with his songs and messages of social awareness and responsibility, Seeger founded Clearwater, an environmental and educational organization that in 1969 built a replica of one of the types of ships that sailed the Hudson River in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Through programs and classes aboard ship, Clearwater and Seeger have become leaders in the environmental movement to restore the Hudson to “clear water once more.”


The Vassar College Libraries will present Poetry of the Hudson, an exhibition of verse inspired by the Hudson River, now through December 24. The exhibit will run alongside the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center’s Drawn by New York, an exhibition focusing on the Hudson River Valley.


Poetry of the Hudson begins with local Native American writings, in honor of long-standing Native American ties to the Hudson. Washington Irving’s story “Rip Van Winkle” also makes an appearance. While not a poem, Irving’s famous story refers to the “lordly Hudson,” a concept that inspired later poets writing about the River. The exhibit concludes with works by contemporary writers who currently live in the Hudson Valley, including students from the local area.


Volumes on display are drawn from Main Library, Archives and Special Collections Libraries, as well as institutions in the larger Hudson Valley area. Ranging from the decorated and bound 18th and 19th century volumes to the dust jackets and student publications from the 20th and 21st centuries, the exhibit visually demonstrates a long history of love for the Hudson.


Of the exhibition, Ron Patkus, Associate Director of the Libraries for Special Collections, noted that, “our goal is to increase awareness of the Hudson River Valley tradition of writing poetry. Vassar has a long tradition of faculty and student poets, and a number of them have been inspired to write poems about the Hudson.” 


A video exhibit will be featured alongside the poetry showcases, and will highlight Hudson River Valley-related images and audio of various Vassar College professors giving poetry readings. In addition, a preview of the exhibition is available on the Special Collections website.


In conjunction with the exhibition, the reading “Poetry of the Hudson: A Celebration,” will be held on Thursday, October 15, at 5:30pm in the Class of ’51 Reading Room. The evening of poetry will highlight local poets reading from their work, including Eamon Grennan, Nancy Willard, Molly McGlennan and special guest, Evan Pritchard, of the Native American Micmac people. Readers will also include student poets from Vassar College.


Patkus enthused, “I’m really looking forward to the poetry reading as our readings attract large numbers of people from the Vassar and regional community.”


An accompanying pamphlet illustrating the exhibition is available and includes an introduction by Patkus, who also mounted the works in the exhibit, and a written analysis of the featured poems by Paul Kane, a Vassar College Professor of English.


The Vassar College Libraries exhibition is accessible to the public, without charge, daily, from 9:00am to 5:00pm.




In honor of the Hudson River Quadricentennial celebration, the James W. Palmer III Gallery at Vassar College will present the exhibition The River, an elegy to the Hudson, by artist Linda Cross. The exhibition will be on view from November 5 through December 17, with an opening reception on November 5 at 5:00pm.

A multimedia artist and resident of Hudson, NY, Cross has had solo exhibitions of her work on view at galleries throughout the region, including at the Carrie Haddad Gallery, Davis Gallery, and Time and Space Limited in Hudson, NY; and at the John Davis Gallery, A Gathering of the Tribes Gallery, and Durham-Ziff Gallery in Manhattan.

Situated between the North Atrium and the Retreat cafeteria, the James W. Palmer III Gallery is at the heart of the College Center. Constructed in 1996, the gallery was named and endowed by the Palmer family in 2000 in memory of their son James, a member of the class of 1990. Serving as an exhibition space for artwork created within and beyond the Vassar community, the gallery displays art of diverse mediums, themes, and origins. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 11:00am to 6:00pm, and Saturday, 12:00 to 6:00pm.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available online.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, September 17, 2009