Discover Your Local
As the cool, crisp air is slowly inching upon us again, the opportunity to take advantage of spending time outdoors is limited. Before we start scurrying for warmth inside, there is still some time left to explore the wonders of the Hudson Valley. Luckily for us, towns all alongside the Hudson River are thoroughly equipped with a multitude of outdoor experiences for lovers of the arts, families, adventurers, and those wishing to delve into a new and enriching way to spend the day.
The essence of outdoor museums has existed for over a millennium. In the era of social distancing, many of us are yearning for a new, creative and safe way to mingle with others again, making a visit to a sculpture garden an obvious must-do choice. Check out our list below for a few of the great options around our region.
There’s always a hidden gem to be found when finding yourself immersed in the art world. Garner Arts Center is a charitable organization with warehouses, workshops, and studios – oh my! The space encourages an array of different art mediums with the intent to educate and connect the local community. The property has several buildings with numerous purposes (and even an on-site brewery), as well as a Creekside Sculpture Trail. The sculpture trail is a permanent installment, created by artist and sculptor Ted Ludwiczak, that is open free to the public from dawn to dusk any day of the week. Follow the sounds of the babbling creek and let your imagination float freely.
Want to get your lungs pumping while you gaze in fascination at large-scale contemporary works beyond your imagination? We thought you’d never ask! Art Omi is a sculpture and architecture park that features more than 60 different works across 120-acres of land set along a trail with no restriction on what direction you take.
‘Clouds’, Olaf Breuning. Photo by Bryan Zimmerman.
The park is open daily to the public on a suggested donation basis with the recommendation to make reservations on weekends as the parking lot tends to fill up quickly. While the park is open year round, there are a few holidays the park stays closed for. Art pieces are added to the property yearly with exchanges of works consistently occurring throughout the year. You can expect to see a range of extraordinary pieces that you can walk through, under or around.
Thanks to the collaborative and intentional design between a landscape architect, artist, and gardener, Innisfree Gardens was born. The property hosts a combination of Chinese and Japanese traditional garden design united with modern ideas to come together for an exploration-friendly park suitable for all walks of life.
This 185-acre garden gives the full effect of a “breath of fresh air”. In addition to the tranquil garden tour, the site offers community events and other forms of creative therapy such as music and poetry.
Reservations and a fee are required in order to visit the garden that is described as a “sublime composition of rock, water, wood, and sky achieved with remarkable economy and grace.” The garden allows visitors from early May until late October.
A true hidden gem, this sculpture park illustrates the work of stone and earth enthusiast Bradford Graves with over 200 pieces throughout the property considered to be in “the middle of somewhere.”
Left: ‘Self Portrait I’ Bradford Graves, Right: ‘Dolphy IV’ Limestone, Bradford Graves
Graves was inspired by the wonders of archeology and philosophy that is certainly apparent when walking into the plethora of intricately designed stones placed along the land. Many leave the park and find themselves, days later, thinking of what Graves could have meant with each placement and divot of stone knowing each decision was a philosophical intention set by Graves.
The park is open and free to the public year-round by appointment only. All sculptures on site are for sale and priced upon request. This modest, small-scale park truly allows one to get lost within nature.
New Windsor, NY
The inspiration of both art and nature is how Storm King was created about 60 years ago. The initial vision of the site was to become a Hudson River painting school, but soon after starting the project, the founders drifted towards modern sculptors and showcasing the work of inventive artists while conserving the landscape.
The Art Center sits on 500-acres of hills, meadows and woodlands representing the Hudson Valley in all it has to offer. From contemporary to modern to out-of-the-box sculptors, there is a lot to see and a lot of land to cover. Luckily, the center offers bike rentals for visitors to help see more of the property.
Become a member for more frequent visits or buy tickets in advance Wednesday through Monday. There is an on-site cafe or you can bring your own lunch in and enjoy at one of the designated picnic areas.
A world-known masterpiece like Opus 40 is bound to get you outdoors to explore the sensations of art and nature. This space was created by artist and Professor Harvey Fite and made a nonprofit by Barbara Fairbanks Fite, Harvey’s wife.
One man’s abandoned quarry is another man’s creative wonderland. Opus 40 was designed around the beauty that the heart of the Hudson Valley has to offer over 50-acres with seven acres of earthwork sculptures. The intricately detailed work of stone and earth gives visitors a meditative experience.
Opus 40 is open all year for educational purposes and events such as live concerts and theatrical performances. Tickets are limited and sold daily on their website, rain or shine. Children and service animal friendly, this magical stone oasis calls for an enchanted day for the whole family.
If you ever found yourself driving North up the Taconic State Parkway, you may have taken a double-take at a 19-foot sculpted head peering down at you. That would be one of the thirty different works by sculptor Ray Kanwit found at the Taconic Sculpture Park. The head was designed in honor of Gaea, the Greek Mother Earth, and is interactive where one could climb into art and take a look at the valley through Gaea’s eyes.
The park shares the same space as Kanwit’s home on three acres where his home, included, is an artwork to admire. The park is open seasonally for the public on weekends with a fee per vehicle. Gaea may be the first to draw you into this park, but the rest of the sculptures are just as jaw dropping as the first.