Programs + Events

"Terraforming: Olana’s Historic Photography Collection Unearthed" 

  • Through October 29, 2023

The Olana Partnership, in collaboration with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, presents Terraforming: Olana’s Historic Photography Collection Unearthed at Olana State Historic Site. Inspired by Olana’s significant collection of nearly 2,000 19th century international photographic prints, artist and guest curator David Hartt brings Terraforming, a selection of Frederic Church’s little-known photography collection, to reflect on the ways in which human culture and activity shape the land; eroding the boundary between human construction and the natural world just as Frederic Church did while creating the 250-acre earthwork that is Olana. This exhibition will also explore what this global photographic collection tells us about Church’s painting practice, travels, and ways of knowing and collecting the world.

Terraforming will include historically significant works by photographers including Eadweard Muybridge, William James Stillman, and Claude-Joseph Désiré Charnay, as well as new site-specific work by David Hartt.

Sail and Sketch with Olana and Hudson Ferry Co.

  • Saturday, October 7 | 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM and 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

See and sail like an artist during this special boat tour and workshop provided in collaboration with The Olana Partnership and the Hudson Ferry Co. During this 90 minute tour and sketching expedition, participants will take in the river and its surroundings like a Hudson River School painter. Participate in drawing exercises, hone your observational skills, and get inspired by learning more about the techniques and practices of 19th Century artist Frederic Church. This special voyage will culminate with a view of Olana, Church’s masterwork and family home on the Hudson. Open to all ages and skill levels. Drawing materials will be provided. Participants are also welcome to bring their own additional supplies. Ferry rides depart from the Hudson Waterfront. Adults – $50, Seniors – $45, Children – $40 per person. Email to learn more.

LESSONS FROM THE LAND - Walking in Wonder with The Outside Institute

  • Saturday, October 14 | 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

This program is offered in connection with this season’s exhibition, “Terraforming: Olana’s Historic Photography Collection Unearthed.”

Join us for a walk and discussion about how human hands shape the landscape and how the land transforms us. During this program, Laura Chávez Silverman, founding naturalist of The Outside Institute, will guide participants in accessing their curiosity and sense of awe in nature. A walk throughout Olana’s artist-designed landscape will give participants a chance to observe ecological conditions and think more about the relationship between humans and their surroundings. Identifying flora, fauna and fungi’s edible and medicinal properties will help participants cultivate a more intimate connection to their surroundings.

Laura Chávez Silverman is the Founding Naturalist of The Outside Institute, where she shares her deep love of Nature. Laura frequently speaks on topics including the psychic and health benefits of engaging with Nature, sustainable foraging and how interconnected systems inspire better living. From 2010-17, Laura wrote “Glutton for Life,” a blog that explored Catskill living, including cooking with seasonal and foraged foods, and gardening.

Advance registration required at This program is $15 per person or $10 for members. For more information, please contact or call (518) 751-6938.

Un traductor de español estará presente durante los programas. Para obtener más información, visite

To Bring the World Home: Collecting Photography in the Nineteenth Century

  • Tuesday, October 17 | 6:00 PM | Zoom

As an artist who was enormously curious and keenly attuned to the issues of his time, it is not surprising that Frederic Edwin Church was interested in photography, the artform that revolutionized picture-making in the nineteenth century. Church’s collection of travel photography provides a new perspective on his work as a landscape painter and shed light on the 19th century philosophical outlook that the world was collectible and, consequently, knowable. During this webinar with independent photo historian Corey Keller, consider how making and collecting photographs offered a medium through which the world could be seen, sorted, and understood in Church’s time. As part of this presentation, Keller will also discuss her recent research on Anna Atkins, one of the earliest female photographers, whose 1840s botanical cyanotypes (blueprints) offer another angle from which to consider the idea of collecting and photographic “specimens.”

Corey Keller is an independent curator and historian of photography based in Oakland, California. She recently stepped down as curator of photography and acting head of the Photography Department at SFMOMA, where she was a member of the curatorial team from 2003 to 2021. She is currently at work on a book about Anna Atkins and teaching at the California College of the Arts.

Artmaking in the Afternoon – FREE Drop-In Program

  • Saturday, October 21 | 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Inspired by your time at Olana or looking for family-friendly fun? Join educators at this special artmaking program the third Saturday of every month at Olana State Historic Site. Participate in free, drop-in art activities in the Wagon House Education Center throughout the afternoon. Learn more about Frederic Church’s artist-designed home and studio on the Hudson through drawing, painting, and collage. This drop-in artmaking program is open to all ages and skill levels; all materials provided. FREE. No advanced registration required.

Young at Heart: A Brush with the Past

  • NEW DATES: Wednesdays, October 25, November 1, 8, 15 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM online in Zoom

During each two hour session, create a watercolor painting based on your own collection of personal and family photographs. Teaching artist, Wennie Huang, will begin each weekly session with a demonstration of watercolor techniques you can try from home to translate snapshots of travel, family, and friends into your own unique compositions. Just as the artist Frederic Church collected thousands of photographs throughout his life, participants will be encouraged to cull through their own collection of images and personal snapshots to find new artistic inspiration. This weekly series will take inspiration from students’ personal archive of photographs of places visited, people cherished, and memories worth revisiting. This program is designed for adults ages 55+ as part of Olana’s Young at Heart series.

This program is held in conjunction with “Terraforming: Olana’s Historic Photography Collection Unearthed.” In addition to showcasing the work of contemporary artist David Hartt, Terraforming displays more than 130 historic photographs from Olana’s collection, illuminating the medium’s role in Church’s life and artistic creations.

Wennie Huang , PSA, received her BFA in Painting from Pratt Institute in 1994 and her MFA in Printmaking from the University of Michigan in 1996. Huang also teaches at Parsons School of Design, Wave Hill, and the Pastel Society of America. She has over 20 years of experience in art education and has taught a variety of children, teen and adult classes and workshops at 92Y since 2005. Her mixed media installations combine paper, wood, print, fabric and photography. Her work has been exhibited at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Wave Hill, Detroit Artists Market Biennial and in various NYC galleries. She has received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the New School, private and public commissions including through NYC Percent for Art program, as well as residencies at the Lower East Side Printshop, Dieu Donne Papermill, Center for Book Arts and the Ragdale Foundation. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

All sessions will be held on Zoom with an optional site visit available to participants. A tech session will be available to those who are unfamiliar with zoom. A selection of basic materials will be provided to participants in advance of the program via mail. $250 for nonmembers/$150 for members. Advanced registration is required. Partial scholarships are available upon request. For more information email

Photo by Wennie Huang

Frederic Church Looks to the Skies

  • Wednesday, November 8 | 6:00 PM | Explorer's Club, NYC

American landscape painter Frederic Church is known for his vibrant sunsets and glorious daytime skies. Church’s paintings of night skies highlight the artist’s lifelong fascination with the intersection of art and science, focusing on breathtaking atmospheric phenomena. In this talk, Eleanor Harvey takes us on a nocturnal voyage of discovery through some of Church’s most significant paintings.

Eleanor Jones Harvey is Senior Curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, a leading authority on American landscape painting, and champion of American Art at the national level.

Image: Frederic Edwin Church, The Meteor of 1860, 1860. Oil on canvas, 10 x 17 ½ in.
Collection of Ms. Judith Filenbaum Hernstadt

Yankee Enterprise: Finances and Fine Art in Church’s "Heart of the Andes"

  • Wednesday, November 15 | 6:00 - 7:00 PM

One of America’s most renowned landscapists, the New England-born Frederic Church, based his large-scale Heart of the Andes (1859) on his two trips to South America in 1853 and 1857. After the 5 x 10 ft. canvas left the artist’s studio, it went on a single-picture exhibition tour from 1859 to 1861, during which it was arguably seen by more people than any other painting of its day. Church’s pay-per-view audiences came away sure they had enjoyed an authentic glimpse of the tropical landscape of South America that so inspired the artist. And he made a tidy profit in the process.

During this presentation, Katherine Manthorne will explore Church’s savvy in media and fine art that he deployed to plan his travels, paint his picture, and market Heart of the Andes to a 19th Century audience. This webinar will explore how Church navigated the business side of his craft and ultimately ensured the painting’s place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art which he later helped found.

Katherine Manthorne is an art historian at the Graduate Center, City University of New York committed to the study of the art of the Americas (1800-1940) in its hemispheric dimensions. Landscape imagery is a special passion, embodied in publications like Tropical Renaissance: North American Artists Exploring Latin America, 1839-1879 (1989) and Traveler Artists: Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection (2015). Women’s contributions to visual culture constitutes another theme in her work featured in two books: Women in the Dark: American Female Photographers 1850-1900 (2020) and Restless Enterprise: The Art and Life of Eliza Pratt Greatorex (2020). Dr. Manthorne received fellowships from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Fulbright and Smithsonian Institution.

Join The Olana Partnership to learn more about the role marketing and finance played in the Heart of the Andes’ rise to fame during this webinar, hosted in conjunction with Spectacle: Frederic Church and the Business of Art which opens on November 18, 2023. FREE; Advanced registration required.

Image: Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900). Heart of the Andes, 1859. Oil on canvas, 66 1/8 x 119 1/4 in. (168 x 302.9 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of Margaret E. Dows, 1909 (09.95)


Artmaking in the Afternoon – FREE Drop-In Program

  • Saturday, November 18 | 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Inspired by your time at Olana or looking for family-friendly fun? Join educators at this special artmaking program the third Saturday of every month at Olana State Historic Site. Participate in free, drop-in art activities in the Wagon House Education Center throughout the afternoon. Learn more about Frederic Church’s artist-designed home and studio on the Hudson through drawing, painting, and collage. This drop-in artmaking program is open to all ages and skill levels; all materials provided. FREE. No advanced registration required.

Winter Solstice Celebration at Olana

  • Saturday, December 16

Free Winter Solstice Celebration at Olana.  Details to follow.


This event is sponsored by

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.