Programs + Events

How the Arts Impact Our Landscapes Through the Lens of Basilica Hudson

  • Saturday, July 31 | 1:00-2:00pm

During this hour-long walking tour, learn more about Olana through Basilica Hudson’s vision as an organization devoted to art and environmentalism. Melissa Auf Der Maur, Co-Founder and Director, will lead this tour, exploring Olana while considering the vital role artists and art organizations can play in environmental advocacy and action.

The Olana Viewshed Tour

  • Saturday, August 14 | 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.

Family Explorer Tour

  • Saturdays, August 21, September 25, October 23 | 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)

The Natural Histories of Marianne North and Frederic Church

  • Tuesday, August 24 | 5:00-6:00 PM

Olana’s collection contains two paintings, boldly rendered studies of exotic flowers, that remained unattributed until research published in 2010 connected them to Marianne North (1830-1890). North, an intrepid British botanical artist who travelled the world documenting plant life and landscapes in oil on canvas, visited Olana twice and admired the art of Frederic Church. In this webinar, The Olana Partnership’s Curatorial Assistant, Allegra K. Davis, will examine the life and work of Marianne North through the lenses of Victorian gender roles and practices of imperial science, while drawing parallels between Church and North as travelers, painters, and ultimately, collectors on a global scale.

Exploring Meadow Plants and Insects with the Farmscape Ecology Program

  • Saturday, August 28 | 1:00-2:00pm

Claudia Knab-Vispo and Conrad Vispo from Hawthorne Valley’s Farmscape Ecology Program will lead this program, exploring Olana through the lens of meadow plants and their insect visitors. The Farmscape Ecology Program was founded as a small research and outreach program dedicated to encouraging an informed compassion for place by exploring the relationship between human culture and the rural, semi-agricultural landscape of Columbia County.

The Great Pollinator Ramble!

  • Saturday, August 28 | 4:00-5:30 PM at The Olana State Historic Site

Announcing The Great Pollinator Ramble! This summer, in collaboration with The Olana Partnership at the Olana State Historic Site and Processional Arts Workshop, The Thomas Cole National Historic Site will host an interactive “puppet-scape” for visitors interested in celebrating and learning more about local pollinators and their habitats.

As part of this summer’s Cross Pollination exhibition, Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles of Processional Arts team up with community volunteers to animate a roving sampler of Hudson Valley pollinators. Inspired by Martin Johnson Heade’s trek to Brazil in 1863 to see and paint hummingbirds in their natural habitats and to create the series, “The Gems of Brazil,” The Great Pollinator Ramble invites viewers to walk in Heade’s footsteps, seeking out their own local Hudson Valley bees, butterflies, and beetles hidden among trees, gardens, and historic buildings.

Provided with their own habitat map and “life list” to guide their search, viewers will learn to identify local pollinators while experiencing the thrill of a landscape come to life with possibilities. The ramble will begin on Main Street in in Catskill and migrate to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site on June 27th from 1-2:30pm and again in the beautiful landscapes of Olana State Historic Site on August 28th from 4:00-5:30pm! Anyone can join the celebration, come for the views. The artists will be offering free art-packets so that you can make your own parade-able pollinators for the day of the ramble. Art packets of various local pollinator plants will be available for pickup leading up to the June 27th event and throughout the summer at each site as well as at community pickup spots in Hudson and Catskill, while supplies last.

In addition to attending The Great Pollinator Ramble, opportunities are also available to participate by operating a puppet! If you would like to perform with the pollinators, please fill out the Google Form to put your name on our volunteer list! We need some great people to help!

To learn more, email or Support provided by Art Bridges.

Labor Day Weekend Bird Walk with Alan Devoe Bird Club

  • Saturday, September 4 | 8:00-9:00 AM

Get your binoculars ready for this Labor Day Weekend Bird Walk! Join the Alan Devoe Bird Club on an exploration through Olana’s artist-designed landscape while keeping eyes and ears open for local birds. Learn more about local bird species, habitats, and behaviors with Dr. William Cook, Professor Emeritus at Columbia-Greene Community College and the Curator of C-GCC’s Natural History Museum.

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

Fall Pollinator Walk & Workshop

  • Saturday, September 11 | 1:00-2:00 PM

Explore Olana’s artist-designed landscape through the perspective of pollinators! Learn about how honeybees and humans can prepare for cold and flu season through a guided outdoor walk and workshop. During this program, beekeepers Chris and Lisa Layman will lead a guided outdoor walk and a short demo about making honey throat spray. Chris and 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 and will be conducted outside.

$20 person/ $15 members (includes a throat spray sample from Fox Farm Apiary). Advanced registration required. For more information, please contact or call (518) 567-2170.

Young at HeART: Plein Air Pastel at Olana

  • Tuesdays & Wednesdays, September 14 - October 6, 2021

September 14 – 9:00am-12:00pm
September 15 – 1:00-4:00pm
September 21 – 9:00am-12:00pm
September 22 – 1:00-4:00pm
September 28 – 5:30-8:30pm
September 29 – 1:00-4:00pm
October 5 – 9:00am-12:00pm
October 6 – 1:00-4:00pm

This eight-session course will use Olana’s artist-designed landscape as a source of inspiration for learning about plein air painting. Using pastel, participants ages 55+ will develop a working knowledge of painting, make a finished work and several studies each class, and gain the ability to paint plein air independently.

During this course, esteemed plein air painter Shawn del Joyce will connect students’ developing plein air painting skills with the work of Frederic Church, Martin Johnson Heade, and the Hudson River School to American Art. The course will be held during multiple times of day to give students an opportunity to observe the landscape at different times and explore the ways quality of light affect their plein air creations. Participants will leave with a working knowledge of painting, make a finished painting and several studies each class, and gain the ability to paint plein air independently, as well as a knowledge of the contribution of Frederic Church and the Hudson River School to American Art.

$200 person, $150 members. Limited capacity; Advanced registration required at Scholarships are available. For more information, please contact or call (518) 567-2170.

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.

Art by Shawn Dell Joyce, Church’s View (Olana, Hudson, NY) 2019, Pastel 13×15 Private Collection Plein Air

This course is funded by Aroha Philanthropies.

Living with Pollinators: Biodiversity and Artistic Practice in the Hudson Valley with Lisa Sanditz, Paula Hayes, and Fox Farm Apiary

  • September 15, 5:30-6:30pm

Presented by Thomas Cole National Historic Site and The Olana Partnership at Olana State Historic Site

Join artists Paula Hayes, Lisa Sanditz, and beekeeper Chris Layman from Fox Farm Apiary for a virtual conversation centering around art, ecology, and environmental stewardship. Work by Hudson Valley-based artists Paula Hayes and Lisa Sanditz are included in “Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment”, on view at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana State Historic Site. Hayes and Sanditz both explore human interactions with and within the natural world. Hayes sculpts and forms living artworks, including hand-blown glass terrariums that require regular care and examine the implications of growing and maintaining large and small-scale ecosystems. Lisa Sanditz’s work and new artists’ map created with Emily Sartor, “Thrilling Tales and Startling Adventures – An Unofficial Guide to Pollinators of the Hudson Valley,” illuminates the importance of our local pollinators and their habitats, while flagging human impact on biodiversity. The artists will be joined by beekeeper Chris Layman of Fox Farm Apiary, a honeybee rescue and sanctuary in the Hudson Valley that also maintains an apiary at Olana’s farm complex. This webinar will explore the timely artistic and ecological connections between art, environmental stewardship, and our role in local habitats.

The panel will be co-moderated by Amanda Malmstrom, Assistant Curator at Thomas Cole National Historic Site, and Carolyn Keogh, Director of Education and Public Programs at The Olana Partnership.

The History of Our Forested Landscape with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties

  • Saturday, September 18 | 1:00-2:00pm

Tracey Testo, program coordinator at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, will lead this program, exploring Olana through the lens of agroforestry and examining the history of our forested landscape. The Cornell Cooperative Extension supports ecological sustainability and social well-being in New York State by putting knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability, and social well-being.

Artmaking in the Afternoon

  • Sunday, September 19 | 12:00-4:00pm

Inspired by your weekend walk at Olana? Join Olana educators for free, drop-in art activities at the Wagon House Education Center. Learn more about Frederic Church’s 250 acres of designed landscape through drawing, painting, and collage. Open to all ages and skill levels; all materials provided. FREE.

Unplanned Views at Olana: Geology Walk

  • Sunday, September 19 | 2:00 PM

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

Virtual Young at HeART: Memoir as Sight and Sound

  • Tuesdays, September 21 - November 9, 2021, 6:30

Just as acclaimed 19th-century artist Martin Johnson Heade captured visual and aural stimuli on canvas, so are the senses essential to the craft of memoir. In this six-week course, participants will each craft a memoir essay of 1,500 words and will consider such essential topics as: the narrative arc, describing a setting, creating a reliable narrator, and writing dialogue. The course will reference Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment, which highlights Martin Johnson Heade’s 19th century painting series of hummingbird and habitats. By exploring the artist’s commitment to the vivid representation of the natural world, participants will be encouraged to explore a similar pursuit in their own writing.

Emily Sachar is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of the memoir, Shut Up and Let the Lady Teach (Poseidon Press/Simon & Schuster), which chronicled the author’s year teaching public school in one of the most challenging urban New York City districts. Ms. Sachar has also written travel memoir for Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, and Cowboys & Indians, a West Coast lifestyle magazine. Her 15 years’ experience as a reporter at Newsday earned her more than 25 writing awards, including two as the prestigious grand prize winner of the Education Writers of America. Ms. Sachar teaches writing and art history through Bard College, NYU and the State University of New York.

$200 person, $150 members. Limited capacity; Advanced registration required at Scholarships are available. For more information, please contact or call (518) 567-2170.

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.

Olana Plein Air Festival

  • Saturday, September 25 | 7:00am-7:00pm

Overlooking the Hudson River, with 250 acres of artist-designed landscape and sweeping views of the Catskills, Olana is the perfect place to get artistic inspiration! Join us on Saturday, September 25 for the Olana Plein Air Festival. During this day-long festival open to artists of all skill levels, participants are invited to bring their own supplies and materials to paint outdoors throughout Olana. Registrants will receive a special plein air painting map and early access to set up their easels overlooking Olana’s famous views. This event is held in partnership with Drawing America.

Interested in diving deeper into your art making practice? Register for one of six artist-led workshops held throughout the day at designated socially distanced locations. Workshops will be led by a range of professional practicing artists.

General Registration $25, Workshop Registration $45; scholarships available. To register and learn more, email

Exploring Historic and Modern Threats to the Hudson River with Riverkeeper

  • Saturday, October 9 | 1:00-2:00pm

Join Riverkeeper’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Jen Benson for a walking tour of Olana’s artist-designed landscape to learn the history of both the Hudson River, explore historical and current threats to the Hudson River, and learn about Riverkeeper’s efforts to advocate for fishable and swimmable waters. 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.

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.