One of the more neglected and underappreciated periods is the arts and crafts movement that happened in the U.S. and in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A Millbrook School art history class taught by Bill Hardy and David Greenwood brought this movement to light. The class produced the exceptional exhibition With Noble Hands: necessity made beautiful.

Maplebrook School in Amenia held its opening reception Saturday night for its 12th annual Kentucky Derby art show. The school buzzed with over 100 guests, live music from Salisbury Band, a bidding counter, servers dressed in race-track garb with tasty hors d’oeuvres and hallways filled with art. 

A few dozen Hudson Valley artists each displayed two or three paintings or photographs.

One artist that caught my attention was B. Doctor with his Bash-Bish Falls Close-up photograph on canvas. The image was concentrated on a small part of the falls. The beauty of the rushing water hitting the rocks and the sunlight casting a strange hue upon the water attracted those who passed by.

Eckert Fine Art on Main Street in Millerton is exhibiting distinguished American Expressionists through May. Jane Eckert has been selling and distributing art for 15 years in Indiana, Florida, Connecticut and New York. Some of the artists in this show include Jack Roth, Larry Rivers, Lynne Mapp Drexler, Bill Barrett, Ralph Della-Volpe, Michael Kalish, John Greene and Alexander Calder.

While Roth and Calder might be the names most recognized, Ralph Della-Volpe is no stranger to the Millbrook community. He studied painting at the National Academy of Design before entering the Army in World War II. After the war, he accepted a teaching position as the artist-in-residence at Bennett College, where he worked ­­for 28 years, serving as chairman of the Art Department.

Leon Botstein led the Bard Conservatory Orchestra in its final performance of the school year. The orchestra will play once again at Bard, on May 31, just prior to their trip to greater China, where they will perform in seven cities, starting with Taipei on June 8 and concluding on June 22 in Wuhan. In between, the orchestra will visit Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Guangzhou.

The Sunday audience was previewing the China repertoire, or at least a portion of it. The program was designed to show off the orchestra, beginning with a light ballet piece by Stravinsky, followed by Tchaikovsky’s D Major Violin Concerto and culminating with Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, Op. 58.

Strong personal themes inspire the paintings Leora Armstrong creates in her hilltop studio in Stanfordville. Her childhood on the island of Islay in Scotland, Armstrong’s past has formed her inner direction. “Not having external input like television, I stopped and listened. I spent hours sitting on the beach just watching the sea. I have a fascination with horizons and edges, light and color.” Armstrong said she has also been influenced by such painters as Mark Rothko, Callum Innes, Brice Marden and Agnes Martin to name but a few. 

Armstrong works in both oil and scratchboard as well as watercolor. The works in her most recent show at the Gerald Bland Gallery in New York are, to borrow a term coined by the abstract expressionists, color field paintings structured with a single horizon where two areas of color meet along a straight edge. Colors merge and change. Armstrong animates the works by layering colors with visible brushstrokes. “I put on many layers of paint,” she said pointing at one large canvas. “This has twelve layers. Each layer of paint creates a color and reveals another color through its interaction.” 121

Oblong Books: hosting Hudson Valley YA society event w/young authors Meg Wolitzer (The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman), Kate Klimo (Daughter of the Centaurs), and Sarah Darer Littman (Want to Go Private?). RSVP’s required for the free event: or on Facebook: 7 p.m., 6422 Montgomery St, Rhinebeck


The American Symphony Orchestra pulled off another moving performance with the concert series finale at Bard this past weekend. The concert was broken into four main sections: a concerto for bass trombone, a concerto for cello followed by two orchestra concertos.

The evening opened with Christopher Brubeck’s Prague Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra (2008). Brubeck is son of the well-known jazz artist Dave Brubeck. He began writing concertos for bass trombone in 2000. Prague Concerto was commissioned by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in 2008.

Millbrook High School’s auditorium resounded with Shakespeare’s magnificent language at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s performance of Romeo and Juliet last Friday evening.


The Hudson Valley Shakespeare festival is presenting its annual spring education tour. Six days a week, the small cast of seven twenty-something-year-olds performs and teaches in high schools throughout southern New York, sharing theater lore and explaining the significance and universal relevancy of Shakespeare’s plays.


Rehearsals, which began in early March, are held six days a week for six or seven hours a day. Most of the cast, non-equity actors and actresses, manage to juggle part-time jobs and in some cases other performances.

Maplebrook School’s upcoming 28th annual spring art show is unique from past years. The school has the exciting opportunity to exhibit Tommy Hilfiger’s private collection of Andy Warhol for the opening weekend of May 5th.  

Millbrook School’s commitment to the visual arts manifested itself in its recent exceptional student exhibition. The exhibition displayed a wide variety of mediums such as oil painting, digital photography, film photography, ceramics, mixed media and even an installation. Not only was an array of mediums shown, but the level of artistic ability displayed was impressive.

Oil paintings adorned the opening atrium to the Holbrook arts center. Most of them were case studies done by students of a specific artist. The oil and acrylics on canvas intrigued me as I tried to guess each artist studied, prior to looking at the description. The students portrayed each artist’s style with proficiency. Seemingly, the students emphasized the techniques of the artists, rather than meticulously copying a specific work; the students became the artists they studied.

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