Programs + Events

Young at HeArt: Songs of OLANA

  • October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5 & 19 | 1PM - 4PM

During this seven-session course, participants ages 55+ will be invited to learn more about the basics of songwriting with award-winning performing songwriters, Cosby Gibson and Tom Staudle. This course will introduce participants of all skill levels to the basics of songwriting, use Olana’s immersive environment as a framework to explore diverse musical genres, connect students’ developing skills to the music of Olana and Frederic Church’s historical context, and finally encourage participants to compose a final song inspired by Olana or a Frederic Church painting.

Each three-hour session will cover the basics of songwriting, genre study; historic songs, songwriting inspired by visual art, songwriting inspired by physical place, personal lyrics, and performance concepts. Each session includes a performance and demonstration by the artists, hands-on teaching and one-on-one guidance, time for individual development of final songs, opportunities for class inquiries and discussion, and an opportunity for participants’ songs to be performed at the end of the course, or to be performed by teaching musicians on guitar.

Cosby Gibson and Tom Staudle are award winning songwriters and singers and live near the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Cosby Gibson is an award-winning performing songwriter who lives near the Adirondack Mountains. She writes unique, original acoustic and folk-style songs on guitar and dulcimer. Grammy balloted, and winner Capital District Music Awards for Best Folk Album, 2017 and 2018, and Dorn Space Arts Award for Music Outreach, 2019, and Best Folk Album, 2021. As a duo, they have been performing for twelve years, and tour both regionally and nationally. Together they play originals and favorites with a variety of instruments such as guitar, fiddle, banjo, and harmonica, and in many settings such as festivals, concert series, house concerts, and community events. Their special music programs include; Historic Songs of the Erie Canal, Adirondack Lumber Camp Songs, Poetry Songs and History Songs, Songwriters in the Round, and the new Labor Union Songs.

$200 person, $150 members. Limited capacity; Advanced registration required at OLANA.org. Scholarships are available upon request. For more information, please contact education@olana.org or call (518) 751-6938.
During the COVID-19 crisis, The Olana Partnership will refund registration before this program upon cancellation for any reason. Please note that The Olana Partnership reserves the right to cancel this program due to extreme weather or other dangerous conditions

This course is funded by EM Michelson Philanthropies.

Exploring the Future of the Hudson River with Riverkeeper

  • Saturday, October 8 | 1PM-2PM

Join Riverkeeper’s new President Tracy Brown for a walking tour of Olana’s artist-designed landscape focusing on the current threats and future prospects for the Hudson River, which sits directly in Olana’s historic viewshed. Learn more about how we can work together to meet the challenges impacting the health of the Hudson River and the upcoming priorities for the river’s leading team of advocates. Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the Hudson River from source to sea and safeguard drinking water supplies, through advocacy rooted in community partnerships, science and law.

Tracy Brown became President and Hudson Riverkeeper in 2021. A recognized leader in clean water advocacy, Brown brings a multidisciplinary approach to Riverkeeper, prioritizing data-driven, community-oriented strategies to realize our mission. She previously served as Regional Director of Water Protection at Save the Sound, establishing their New York office which delivers science-based projects that protect and restore Long Island Sound. Prior to joining Save the Sound, Brown worked at Riverkeeper for seven years. She was instrumental in developing Riverkeeper’s water quality monitoring program. A resident of Sleepy Hollow, Brown is a founder of the Peabody Preserve Outdoor Classroom, a nature preserve for hands-on, outdoor education for the students of the Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow public schools.

$15 person, $10 members. Advanced registration required. For more information or to learn more about program discounts, please contact education@olana.org.

This program is part of our 2022 program series, Environmentalists on Olana. During this series, regional environmentalists, activists, agriculturalists, 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. To learn more, visit olana.org/environmentalists.

Thinking in Systems: What Church and His Contemporaries Knew About Climate Change

  • Saturday, October 15 | 1PM-2PM

Join Partners for Climate Action to learn more about how scientific thinking in Frederic Church’s era connects to our own contemporary climate crisis. One of the treasures in the Church family library is a first edition of “Man and Nature,” the landmark treatise by George Perkins Marsh, considered by scholars to be America’s first environmentalist. Marsh was prophetic in his observations on the decline of our ecosystem and Church understood how farm and forest environments within Olana played a role in the larger ecosystem of the Hudson Valley. During this outdoor walking tour, Partners for Climate Action will connect the thinking of Marsh and Church to actions being made today to mitigate and adapt to climate change while exploring Olana’s varied ecosystems.

Matt Stinchcomb is co-founder of Partners for Climate Action. Prior to shifting his attention to the nonprofit world, where he also helped to found the Good Work Institute and PlaceCorps, Matt was Vice President for Values and Impact at Etsy.com.

Bob Dandrew is co-founder of Partners for Climate Action. He has a 30-year career in nonprofit leadership and philanthropy. He also serves as a program director at The New World Foundation in NYC.

$15 person, $10 members. Advanced registration required. For more information or to learn more about program discounts, please contact education@olana.org.

This program is part of our 2022 program series, Environmentalists on Olana. During this series, regional environmentalists, activists, agriculturalists, 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. To learn more, visit olana.org/environmentalists.

Webinar: Art, Ecology, and Olana’s Native Forest

  • Wednesday, October 19 | 6PM-7PM

During this virtual webinar, Sean Sawyer, President of The Olana Partnership will discuss how Frederic Church engaged with the emerging field of ecology in the 19th century. By following in Alexander von Humboldt’s footsteps in his meteoric rise as the country’s most celebrated landscape painter and then in his four decade-long development of Olana, Church immersed himself in “landscape architecturing” to speak to the history of the land and human impact on it.

As a painter, Church defined our national identity as inextricably linked to the majesty of the natural world. At Olana, a National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site, Church sought to marry aesthetic endeavor and environmental action. At the core of this endeavor was the ambitious reforestation of 250-acres of overworked land with native trees. Learn more about the intersections of art and ecology latent in Olana’s history and designed landscape during this virtual presentation. Registration to this live webinar is free for members. This program will be recorded and available online.

Sean Sawyer has served as the Washburn & Susan Oberwager President of The Olana Partnership since May 2015. He received a B.A. summa cum laude in Art History & Archaeology from Princeton University in 1988 and his Ph.D. in Architectural History from Columbia University in 1999. Prior to joining Olana, Sean was the Executive Director of The Royal Oak Foundation, the American partner of the National Trust of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. He began his non-profit career as Executive Director of the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Inspiring Partnerships to Protect Inspiring Views with Scenic Hudson

  • Saturday, October 22 | 3PM-4PM

Frederic Church designed Olana’s landscape to maximize his views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains, an inspiration for many of his paintings. Join Scenic Hudson Director of Land Conservation Cari Watkins Bates and Director of Land Use Advocacy Jeffrey Anzevino to learn how Olana has inspired 50 years of collaborative — and ongoing — efforts to protect Olana’s integral viewshed and create exciting ways of connecting people with the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Cari Watkins-Bates’ 20+ year career in land conservation has been focused on the preservation, restoration, and access to both natural and cultural resources (including agricultural lands). She has a MA in Energy and Environmental Analysis from Boston University. Prior to joining Scenic Hudson, she was with The Nature Conservancy’s Nevada Field Office.

Jeffrey Anzevino, AICP, the Director of Land Use Advocacy at Scenic Hudson where he has worked for 30 years helping communities revitalize their riverfronts, protect views and expand river access. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and has for 11 years taught Environmental Planning at Marist College.

$15 person, $10 members. Advanced registration required. For more information or to learn more about program discounts, please contact education@olana.org.

This program is part of our 2022 program series, Environmentalists on Olana. During this series, regional environmentalists, activists, agriculturalists, 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. To learn more, visit olana.org/environmentalists.

Webinar: Impressions of Niagara through the Vantage Point of Black Escape Artists, Black Activists, and Landscape Artist Frederic Church

  • Thursday, November 3 | 6PM

Niagara Falls separates the United States and Canada and in the 19th Century, Blacks employed international lines to pit the two nations against one another for the best possible outcomes. As Blacks from both countries crossed a fluid border marked by two-way movement and social collaboration, they were in awe of the Falls famously captured on canvas by Frederic Church in 1867. Against the backdrop of the picturesque Falls, Blacks cultivated a global and green outlook, developing the Niagara Movement which birthed the NAACP in the midst of Niagara’s wonders, whirlpools, and waves. During this webinar, Daniel J. Broyld will examine how Niagara, a vitally important painting subject for Church, speaks to a larger transformative transnational environment with potent importance for Blacks in the 19th century and beyond.

Daniel J. Broyld is an associate professor of African American History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He earned his PhD in nineteenth-century United States and African Diaspora History at Howard University. His work focuses on the American–Canadian borderlands and issues of Black identity, migration, and transnational relations as well as oral history, material culture, and museum-community interactions. broyld was a 2017-18 Fulbright Canada scholar at Brock University and his book Borderland Blacks: Two Cities in the Niagara Region During the Final Decades of Slavery (2022) was recently published with the Louisiana State University Press.

A Farm for the Past, Present, and Future: Exploring Agrarian Practice in the Hudson Valley

  • Saturday, November 5 | 3PM-4PM

Join Churchtown Dairy during this tour of Olana’s farm complex linking Olana, the Hudson Valley’s long history of agricultural tradition, and Churchtown Dairy’s current biodynamic farming model. During this program, participants will learn more about Olana’s origins as a working farm and the ways in which the legacy of farming in this region impacts sustainable farming practices today. Churchtown Dairy is a biodynamic farm in Hudson, NY that intends to serve as a beacon for those working to promote organic agriculture and resilient communities. Their 250-acre farm property, which houses a 28-cow raw milk dairy herd as well as a medicinal garden, is open to all to explore solutions to the pressing needs of our time.

$15 person, $10 members. Advanced registration required. For more information or to learn more about program discounts, please contact education@olana.org.

This program is part of our 2022 program series, Environmentalists on Olana. During this series, regional environmentalists, activists, agriculturalists, 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. To learn more, visit olana.org/environmentalists.

Webinar: Indigenous Histories: Before Olana, The Original New Yorkers

  • Wednesday, November 9 | 5PM

Ever wondered who lived in the Hudson Valley long before Frederic Church and his family? During this on-site talk, join historian Heather Bruegl to learn more about the Native Nations that called New York State home long before colonization. This program will touch on the Haudenosaunee, the Lenape and the Mohicans and will discuss history and land loss. This lecture is the first in a three-part series of talks at Olana’s Wagon House by Heather Bruegl focusing on topics related to American history, legacies of colonization, and indigenous histories.

Heather Bruegl is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and first-line descendent Stockbridge Munsee. She is a graduate of Madonna University in Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in U.S. History. Heather consults for a variety of museums and universities and is a frequent lecturer at conferences on topics ranging from intergenerational racism and trauma to the fight for clean water in the Native community. Heather is a public historian, activist, and independent consultant who works with institutions and organizations for Indigenous sovereignty and collective liberation.

$15/$10 members. Scholarships and discounted registration available upon request.

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