Columbia County is rich in arts and culture. The County serves as a host to an extensive amount of theater groups, musical performances, and art galleries that offer a truly assorted variety of themes. The locations of these events and activities are wide spread, offering everyone the chance to engage in the remarkable art and culture that Columbia County has to offer.
PerformColumbia is an association of twenty-four professional and community-based organizations. Their members have come together to promote and nurture the performing arts as essential to a healthy economy and cultural life in Columbia County. The performing arts businesses in PerformColumbia produce theater, music, opera, film, circus, variety and more. The performing arts are serious business in Columbia County with an estimated annual economic impact of over $8 million.
Popular centers to experience the performing arts in the area include Helsinki Hudson, Basilica Hudson, Stageworks, Mac-Haydn Theatre, the Theater Barn, Upstage Productions, Time and Space Limited, and the Ghent Playhouse along with many more.
A wide variety of musical performances are available at a several locations throughout the County including the Spencertown Academy Arts Center, PS/21 in Chatham and seasonally at Concerts at Tannery Pond in New Lebanon.
Both indoor galleries and outdoor exhibits are offered locally where visitors can view and purchase the work of various established and upcoming artists.
Some of the most popular galleries include Knapp Hollow Gallery, the Hudson Hall, Taconic Sculpture Park and Gallery, Time and Space Limited, and American Pie-Hall Space Gallery.
Art Omi is a multifaceted center for the arts located on over 300 acres in Ghent, New York. The campus is home to the Fields Sculpture Park, which presents works of internationally recognized contemporary artists and architects in an outdoor environment, and the Benenson Center, which contains the Newmark Gallery, park information, and Café Omi. The Fields and Benenson Center are open daily, and admission is free. Art Omi also offers residency programs to artists and writers in five distinct fields, as well as public events which provides local audiences exposure to artists from around the world.
The Crandell Theater in Chatham is the home of the Chatham Film Club, not-for-profit organization bringing art, independent and foreign film to the Upper Hudson Valley.
Columbia County has also been the inspiration and backdrop for many film projects. Major films that have been shot in Columbia County include “Taking Woodstock”, “Nobody’s Fool”, “The Cake Eaters”, and “The Age of Innocence”.
The National Register of Historic places lists over 100 individual historic structures and 8 historic districts in Columbia County. The largest concentration is in Hudson, Claverack, and Kinderhook.
Olana State Historic Site, the Moorish-fantasy home of Hudson River School artist Frederic Church, has an astonishing view overlooking the Hudson River. Tours of the artist’s beautiful Persian-style home are available at specified times 518-828-0135.
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site is the home of the eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. Tours of his home are offered from spring until early fall. For more information visit the website or call 518-758-9689.
Clermont State Historic Site , once the Robert Livingston Manor, occupies a riverside site in the southwest corner of the County and includes a handsome eighteenth-century great house 518-537-4240.
The FASNY Museum of Firefighting displays vehicles, equipment and memorabilia on the grounds of the New York State Firemen’s Home in Hudson 877-347-3687.
Hudson Athens Lighthouse is the northern-most lighthouse on the Hudson River. Tours offered the second Saturday from July – October. Visitors may view the lighthouse from the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, Ferry Street, Hudson. For more information call 518-828-5294.
Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon is the steward of the finest collection of Shaker artifacts in the world including over 70,000 objects of furniture, textiles, costumes, tools and writings. The Museum also owns and is restoring the most significant Shaker site in America which inludes the largest stone barn in the country. Seasonal tours and exhibits are available. For more information visit the website or call 518-794-9100.
For everything you want to know about arts, culture, history and recreation in Columbia County, please visit the Columbia County Office of Tourism’s website.