Programs + Events

Fallen: In Conversation with Jean Shin

  • Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | 5:30 - 6:30pm

Join artist Jean Shin as she shares the ideas and ecological urgency behind her new artwork onsite at Olana, Fallen. During this presentation, learn more about Shin’s work and this project, which brings attention to the loss of this once-majestic hemlock on Olana’s main lawn. When the artist Frederic Church created Olana’s 250-acre naturalistic landscape, he planted thousands of native trees on a hillside that had been previously logged and deforested. In the 19th century, hundreds of thousands of hemlocks were cut down for the tanning industry, which used the tannin in the tree’s bark for the commercial demands of leather-making. Fallen invites viewers to reflect on this tree’s life and the cultural history of this region. While reckoning with the devastating consequences of deforestation in the local history, Shin’s project invites viewers to observe their natural surroundings more closely and witness nature’s struggles. Through her work and during this webinar, Shin will consider how we can learn from the past and coexist without exploiting nature and how we can protect the hemlocks that remain for future generations. This virtual webinar is designed for members and will be available for viewing online afterwards.

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

Spring Pollinator Walk

  • Saturday, April 24, 2021 | 1:00-2:00pm

Celebrate Earth Day by exploring 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 education@olana.org or call (518) 751-6938. $15 person, $10 members

Frederic Church's The Natural Bridge, Virginia: American History and Anxiety

  • Wednesday, April 28, 2021 | 12:00-1:00pm

In 1851 Frederic Church travelled through Virginia in the company of his patron Cyrus Field with the goal of reaching and painting that state’s most famous landscape, the Natural Bridge. Formerly the property of Thomas Jefferson, the Natural Bridge was frequently rendered by the pencil and brush of nineteenth century artists, very few of whom could escape the outsized legacy of the former President in crafting a popular conception of the Natural Bridge. Christopher Oliver will consider Church’s painting of the following year, The Natural Bridge, Virginia, and its preparatory sketches, which are in the collection of Olana, in relation to the Natural Bridge’s contemporary associations with American history, western expansion, and slavery.

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

Free First Weekend Wanderings

  • May 1 | 12:00-1:00pm

Kickstart your month outdoors at Olana! Learn more about Olana and its artist-designed landscape during hour-long walking tours beginning at the Wagon House Education Center. Each tour will cover a different portion of Olana’s 250-acre landscape and 5 miles of carriage roads. This gentle walk is approximately 1 mile; please wear weather appropriate apparel and comfortable footwear.

FREE. Limited capacity; Advance registration required.

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

For more information, please contact education@olana.org or call (518) 751-6938.

Unplanned Views of Olana

  • Saturday, May 1, 2021 | 2:00-4:00pm

Time travel back to Olana’s ice age past! Join geologist Robert Titus for a walking tour showcasing Olana’s artist-designed landscape through science and storytelling. During this program, participants will learn more about the geological history of Olana and the forces that shaped Frederic Church’s masterpiece.

$15 person, $10 members. For more information, please contact education@olana.org or call (518) 751-6938.

FALLEN by Jean Shin Opening

  • Sunday, May 2, 2021

FALLEN, a site-specific art installation, invites viewers to reflect on the history and loss of eastern hemlock trees in the region, and the recent death of an eastern hemlock on Olana’s East Lawn which died of natural causes last year. The project also includes mapping all of the remaining Hemlock trees within Olana’s 250-acre historic landscape. Jean Shin’s finished work will be on view in this location from May 1 through October 31, part of Olana’s larger 2021 collaborative exhibition, Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment.

I Love My Park Day

  • Sunday, May 2, 2021 | 12:00-3:30pm

I Love My Park Day is an exciting statewide event, organized by Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) in partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRPH) and local friends groups, to celebrate and enhance New York’s parks and historic sites and bring visibility to the entire park system and its needs. Register for this program by emailing education@olana.org

Environmentalists on Olana: Seeing the Forest for the Trees with Mountain Top Arboretum

  • Saturday, May 8, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM

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. 

Marc Wolf, Executive Director of Mountain Top Arboretum in the neighboring Catskill Mountains, will lead a walk through Olana’s forest, exploring similarities and differences between Frederic Church’s reforestation of Olana and the forest stewarded at Mountain Top Arboretum’s 2,400 foot elevation. Mountain Top Arboretum’s trails and boardwalks connect 178 acres of plant collections, meadows, wetlands, forest and Devonian bedrock—a natural sanctuary for visitors interested in horticulture, environmental stewardship, birding, geology, local craftsmanship and hiking.

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

  • Saturdays, May 15, June 5; 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 education@olana.org or call (518) 751-6938. For information about The Sylvia Center please visit sylviacenter.org or email info@sylviacenter.org

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 education@olana.org or call (518) 567-2170

Young at HeArt: Drawing and Painting Summer’s Bounty

  • June 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29; 9:30am-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 program:www.drawbotanical.com. 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

Family Explorer Tour

  • June 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29, 2021 9:30AM-12:30PM

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)

PANORAMA 2021: SUMMER LEARNING FOR YOUTH

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

Panorama is at capacity. Join the waitlist by emailing education@olana.org

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.