Programs + Events

Spring Stroll and Virtual Family Cooking Class with Olana and the Sylvia Center

  • Saturdays, May 15, June 5, 2021 | 2:00-3:00pm

Families are invited to participate in monthly outdoor walks at Olana and virtual healthy cooking classes with The Sylvia Center! During these special two-part weekend programs, families will explore Olana’s landscape together through observation and art activities on Saturday afternoons. After each onsite walk at Olana, meal kits with local produce will be distributed for the virtual cooking class. On Sundays (March 14, April 11, May 16, June 6) from 12:00-1:00pm, families will be joined by a Chef Instructor from The Sylvia Center, and will use the ingredients in their meal kits to cook a healthy brunch from the comfort of their own homes.

For families with children ages 6-18 (adult supervision required). Register for one or all four classes. FREE (suggested donation $12).

Starts at the Wagon House Education Center, Olana’s Historic Farm Complex

For more information or to be added to our waitlist, please contact or call (518) 751-6938. For information about The Sylvia Center please visit or email

Below the Surface: What Scientific Imaging Reveals about Church’s Artistic Process

  • Tuesday, May 18, 2021 | 12:00-1:00pm

While Frederic Church won acclaim during his lifetime for his skills as a painter, a focus solely on Church’s paintings ignores his technical experimentation in multiple media, including drawing and printmaking. In this virtual webinar, Maura Lyons (Drake University) will focus on two Civil War-era works, Our Banner in the Sky and Our Flag, to examine Church’s working process more closely. Lyons will highlight her research using scientific techniques to examine Our Flag while working at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). These techniques allow us to see below the surface layers of paint to detect the presence of other media. Such examinations reveal Church’s working process, which resulted in a flexible visual language that spoke to both the general public and wealthy patrons.

Maura Lyons is professor of art history at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She is the author of William Dunlap and the Construction of an American Art History (2005) and multiple essays on the symbolism of landscape imagery from the U.S. Civil War. Her webinar has its origins in the summer research fellowship she held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Her current book project focuses on the role of intermediality in the visual culture of the Civil War.

This webinar is a benefit of membership with The Olana Partnership. If you are not currently a member please join today at

Spring Tree Walk with the Farmscape Ecology Program

  • Saturday, May 22, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM

Explore Olana’s artist-designed landscape by taking a closer look at trees growing onsite. During this gentle hour-long walking tour, you will meet various tree species, and learn how to recognize them and what role they are playing in the landscape. This tour will be led by Conrad Vispo and Claudia Knab-Vispo from the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program, which cultivates compassion for the local ecological and cultural landscape.

Little Ones Tour and Try with Whale of a Trail Adventures

  • Saturday, May 22, 2021 | 3:30 - 5:00 PM

Interested in hiking with your little one but don’t know how to get started? Join Whale of a Trail Adventures for a walk through Olana’s landscape combined with an information session on using Kid Carriers, structured hiking backpacks for carrying children approximately 6-months through the toddler years. During this event, parents and caregivers will be able to try on multiple carriers and will receive one-on-one attention to help with fit and plan for future outdoor experiences. The group will then go for a short walk through the landscape to learn more about Olana’s artist-designed landscape while carrying their little ones. This program is designed for parents and caregivers and their children in the 6-30 month range. Child must be able to sit up on their own unassisted. Limited to 5 families.

FREE. Advanced registration required. For more information, please contact or call (518) 567-2170

Young at HeArt: Drawing and Painting Summer’s Bounty

  • Mondays and Tuesdays, June 7-29, 2021 | 9:30 AM – 12:30PM

Botanical Illustration is the art of depicting the form, color, and details of plant species. Studying nature’s forms and colors can facilitate deeper understanding of drawing, color, and the natural world. In this eight-session course for adult learners ages 55+, teaching artist Wendy Hollender will guide students in using pencil and watercolor pencils to create realistic botanical drawings. Through this course, participants will learn more about drawing techniques, qualities of color, and deepen their understanding of plant forms and structures. This course is offered in conjunction with Olana’s 2021 exhibition,Cross Pollination, which explores the connections between art and nature through the work of Martin Johnson Heade, Frederic Church, Thomas Cole, and contemporary artists engaging with themes of nature, ecology, and the natural world.

Wendy Hollender is a botanical artist, illustrator, author, and instructor. Hollender’s illustrations have been featured in numerous publications such asThe New York Times, “O”,The Oprah Magazine, andReal Simple. Her work was included in the 13th International Exhibition at Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, and in exhibitions at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and the Smithsonian National Museum for Natural History. Wendy is an instructor of Botanical Art and Illustration at the New York Botanical Garden and leads workshops at her farm in Accord, New York. In 2016, she started a highly successful online botanical drawing She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society and the National Tropical Botanical Garden Florilegium Project.

Art by Wendy Hollender, poppies

To register for this program please email

Memento Mori Mandalas and Birds in the Hudson Valley: In Conversation with Portia Munson and Kathryn Schneider

  • Tuesday, June 8, 2021 | 5:30-6:30pm

Join artist Portia Munson and conservationist Kathryn Schneider as they discuss Munson’s artwork onsite at Olana, Memento Mori Mandalas. During this presentation, learn more about Munson’s work, which memorializes and honors creatures that have paid the price of humanity’s harsh impact on the land. Through conversation, this webinar will explore Memento Mori Mandalas’ timely ecological connections and the lives of regional bird species highlighted in Munson’s work. Evoking the transitory Buddhist spiritual practice of mandala making, Munson’s work reflects on the passing beauty of earthly things and the costs of climate change with arrangements that center on fallen birds, insects, and creatures she finds on her walks around our region.

Kathryn Schneider is a Hudson Valley native who has spent decades studying the behavior, ecology, and distribution of birds. She is a past president of the New York State Ornithological Association and the author of Birding the Hudson Valley (2018). This virtual program is presented in conjunction with the collaborative exhibition, “Cross Pollination: Martin Johnson Heade, Frederic Church, Thomas Cole, and Our Contemporary Moment.” “Cross Pollination” is created by Thomas Cole National Historical Site, The Olana Partnership at Olana State Historic Site, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. This webinar is designed for members of The Olana Partnership and the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and will be available for viewing online afterwards.

a-Historical Landscapes: Olana and the Color of Freedom Olana After Hours with Jean-Marc Superville Sovak and Myra Armstead

  • Wednesday, June 23, 2021 | 6:00-7:00pm

Join Jean-Marc Superville Sovak, multidisciplinary artist and teaching professional and professor Myra Armstead for a virtual presentation and conversation about the lives of black Americans during the time of Olana’s creation. During this program, Sovak will introduce his series, a-Historical Landscapes, a current project which involves altering 19th century landscape engravings to include contemporaneous images borrowed from Anti-Slavery publications. Through discussion with Professor Myra Armstead, Lyford Paterson Edwards and Helen Gray Edwards and Professor of Historical Studies at Bard College, this conversation will consider how the timeline of Church’s site-specific masterpiece, Olana, runs concurrent to the experiences of men and women born into slavery in the Hudson Valley.

Olana After Hours is a virtual platform for lively conversations with interdisciplinary practitioners discussing how their passions intersect with the ongoing story of Olana. Participants will be invited to join in the conversation so be sure to bring your own questions. Each conversation will be hosted on Zoom. A link to the program will be sent beforehand. $5 (FREE for Olana members).

Jean-Marc Superville Sovak and Myra Armstead

Environmentalists on Olana: Rise and Shine Bird Walk with Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Sanctuary

  • Saturday, June 26, 10:00am-11:00pm

During this program, local environmentalists and ecological stewards will lead walking tours of Olana, engaging participants in the work of their organizations and providing new insights into Olana’s 250-acres. By connecting their expertise with Olana’s physical landscape, each visiting environmentalist will provide a deeper understanding of Olana as not only an artist-designed landscape, but a resource for immersive explorations in our environment and appreciation of the natural world. This program is presented in conjunction with the collaborative exhibition, Cross Pollination: Martin Johnson Heade, Frederic Church, Thomas Cole, and Our Contemporary Moment. Cross Pollination is created by Thomas Cole National Historical Site, The Olana Partnership at Olana State Historic Site, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.


Rise and shine with Constitution Marsh staff for a guided bird walk around Olana. Participants will walk the perimeter of Church’s landscape and learn more about the birds that will be calling the Hudson Valley home for the season. Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary is a unique and beautiful tidal marsh located in Putnam County, New York, and serves as vital natural habitat in the Hudson River Estuary. It is situated on the east shore of the Hudson River, just south of the village of Cold Spring. The Center conducts nature education programs for visiting groups, bird studies, invasive species management, and habitat restoration efforts.

Family Explorer Tour

  • Saturdays, June 26, July 24, August 21, September 25, October 23, 2021 | 2:30-3:30PM

Learn about the artistic adventures of Frederic Church while taking a journey of your own! Discover Olana’s designed landscape and unique architecture on an outdoor walk filled with family-friendly discussion, activities, and art-making prompts. For families with children ages 5 and up. $10 per adult; $5 for members (free for children 12 and under)

Summer Pollinator Walk

  • Saturday, July 3, 2021 | 1:00-2:00pm

Explore Olana’s artist-designed landscape through the perspective of pollinators. Join beekeeper Chris Layman in an hour-long guided outdoor walk and learn more about the importance of honeybees during Frederic Church’s lifetime and our own. Chris Layman and his wife Lisa run Fox Farm Apiary, a honeybee rescue and sanctuary in the Hudson Valley. In partnership with Olana, Fox Farm maintains an apiary onsite at Olana’s farm complex. This program covers approximately 1/4 mile. For more information, please contact or call (518) 751-6938. $15 person, $10 members.


  • July 12-16, July 19-23, July 26-30, 2021

Panorama is at capacity. Join the waitlist by emailing

Experience Frederic Church’s Olana this summer during our week-long summer arts program. Participants will explore nature through observation, science, and outdoor excursions while developing an artistic eye, learning to sketch and paint, just like Frederic Church. Participants ages 6-11 are invited to join in one, two, or all three weeks!

The Olana Viewshed Tour

  • Saturday, August 14, 2021 12:00 – 5:00 PM Rain or shine

A self-guided outdoor exploration of private landscapes with singular views on both sides of the Hudson River, all within five miles of Frederic Church’s Olana. Feast on a gourmet picnic lunch, with Talbott & Arding, and experience the sublime views which inspired Frederic Church.

The selected properties include protected scenic landscapes and working farms, and the tour locations feature historic and contemporary architecture set against dramatic backdrops of the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River, and Olana.

The Olana Partnership programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.