Spencertown Academy Arts Center Celebrates Hidden Gardens
Opening reception – Saturday, May 12 4:00pm to 6:00pm
artsVOYAGE Family Day – Sunday, June 3 at 11:00am
The Twilight in the Garden Cocktail Party – Friday, June 15 at 6:00pm
Main Event – Saturday, June 16 from 8:00am to 4:00pm
Spencertown Academy Art Center’s Hidden Gardens Tour includes an array of events designed to inform, inspire, and intrigue garden enthusiasts. Highlights include a new Garden Market on the Green, Hidden Gardens Tour to six private homes, the Twilight in the Garden Cocktail Party, a lecture by Dan Benarcik, a garden-themed art exhibition, and a free artsVOYAGE Family Day. Academy Board members Lydia Kukoff and Madaline Sparks, contributing garden editor at Real Simple magazine, are co-chairs of Hidden Gardens this year; proceeds benefit the Academy and its arts-in-education programs in local schools.
The festivities kick off at the Academy with the opening reception for Garden Pleasures: Artwork Inspired by the Garden on Saturday, May 12 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. This eclectic gallery exhibition from the private collection of art dealer Richard Eagan remains on display through June 24. It features 18th, 19th, and 20th century drawings and prints related to aspects of nature, including architectural designs for Beaux Art garden pavilions, Neo Classical sketches for garden sculpture, natural history drawings of botanical specimens, and stylized Art Moderne floral patterns for textiles. The exhibition also features a selection of mirrors meticulously crafted from everyday hardware and found objects from the Industrial Garden Collection of Spencertown artist Cristobal Morales. Spencertown Academy Arts Center Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Admission is free and the artworks are for sale, with prices ranging from $100 to $2,000.
ArtsVOYAGE Family Day: How Does Your Garden Grow? is on Sunday, June 3 at 11:00am. The Academy’s education director, storyteller Tom Lee, and choreographer Sharon MacDonald of the American Dance Institute, lead a program of storytelling, music and dance relating to a garden theme for children and accompanying grownups. Families will also create an original artwork to take home under the guidance of artist Jeanne Cameron. Lee specializes in storytelling as it relates the visual arts and frequently performs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut. Admission is free, but advance reservations are advised.
The Twilight in the Garden Cocktail Party will be held on Friday, June 15 at 6:00pm at a private home in Columbia County against a backdrop of sumptuous gardens and a restored antique barn. Mixologist Ektoras Binikos (formerly the head mixologist at the three-star Aureole and Oceana restaurants) will create a signature cocktail for the occasion and the Academy’s all-volunteer catering crew, Let’s Eat!, will prepare carving stations with Berkshire heritage ham, wood-smoked turkey and salmon, and beef tenderloins, as well as vegetarian finger foods and guacamole. Guests may spot sprites dancing in the twilight as advanced students from the American Dance Institute under the direction of ballet mistress Sharon MacDonald perform modern dance inspired by Isadora Duncan. Many of the dancers began their studies at the after-school ballet program at the Academy. Tickets are $65.
New to the Hidden Gardens event this year is the Garden Market on the Green on Saturday, June 16 from 8:00am to 4:00pm at the Spencertown Village Green across the street from the Academy. More than 20 vendors have been invited, offering garden furniture, specialty plants, books, ornaments, birdhouses, terrariums, and other garden décor items. Master gardeners from Cornell University Cooperative Extension will be on hand to offer advice. Admission is free.
On Saturday, June 16 at 9:00am, Dan Benarcik, horticulturalist at Chanticleer Garden and instructor at the famous Longwood Gardens, will give a lecture titled “The Art & Craft of the Garden” at the Academy. He will discuss how to personalize one’s garden through the use of artistic elements, found artifacts, and ornamental containers. Tickets are $15 and include a light continental breakfast.
The centerpiece of the Hidden Gardens weekend is the self-guided tour, which takes place on Saturday, June 16 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Garden lovers will enjoy six distinctly different gardens chosen for their artistic and horticultural excellence. Located in Spencertown, Hudson, and Claverack, the gardens include an artist’s one-acre meadow that acts as a living canvas painted with native plants, three meticulous and creative urban gardens designed for easy entertaining, a park-like country retreat filled with meandering streams and a pond, and a farmhouse with a spectacular view of the Catskills that has a garden adorned with rustic structures and plantings designed for year-round interest. The tour takes place rain or shine and optional boxed lunches will be available by advance purchase. Tickets are $30; various package rates involving multiple events are also available.