Founded by the Marc and Livia Straus family, the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art strives to present interdisciplinary programs that enrich the community through many forms of contemporary art. Works from renowned and emerging contemporary artists share the Center's 12,000-square feet of exhibition space with a variety of long-term installations, several made by participants in the nonprofit’s artist in residence program. The HVCCA supplies artists with studio space, living quarters, and an extended stipend in order to foster creative work on-site and engage in an active discussion with visitors or talkative muses. Special events range from panel discussions and film screenings to a monthly family art day with lessons for parents and kids based on current exhibits. The Center has also organized special projects including the Banner Project, where artists mentor more than 300 youth in creating a large-scale installation, and the Public Tile Project, where 2,000 students design tiles that for a trail from Peekskill Train Station to the Center.
The Katonah Museum of Art believes that art is a living thing. To keep it going, the museum mounts 10–12 dynamic exhibitions every year, featuring works ranging from Jasper Johns' prints to picture-book illustrations to larger-than-life sculptural installations. Through innovative exhibitions and education programs, the museum promotes an understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts for diverse audiences. The pieces showcase all cultures and time periods. Despite this diversity, the art adheres to common themes: the exploration of new ideas, art, culture, and society.
Founded in 1960, Storm King Art Center speckles 500 acres of landscaped hills, fields, and woodlands with postwar sculptures by international artists. The art center’s permanent collection showcases more than 100 abstract and figurative pieces made out of steel, aluminum, and other elements that range in size from welded I-beam structures to artistically littered pet rocks. Curators precisely nestle each work in the undulating Hudson Valley highlands, placing Alexander Calder’s Five Swords atop an emerald hill and Alice Aycock's Three-Fold Manifestation II under the tree line. An indoor complex shelters perishable works unable to withstand inclement weather alongside The View from Here: Storm King at Fifty, a temporary exhibition exploring the center’s history through archival documents, artists’ sketches, and framed photos of the founders holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden creates a natural journey through an ever-changing landscape. As people follow the curving paths, they come across tranquil ponds, large stepping stones, and wooded hollows, all encouraging contemplation along the way. The museum also stimulates minds with a variety of art exhibits such as contemporary photography, clay sculpture, and Chinese brush paintings, along with programs and events including an annual moon-viewing concert and ceramics classes for kids.
Stamford Museum & Nature Center has come a long way since its founding in 1936. Over the decades, its sprawling grounds have grown to include areas focused on nature, agriculture, astronomy, art, and history. On a hill lies the Henri Bendel Mansion. This once-private residence echoes classic British manor houses with its lead-framed glass windows, half-timbered walls, and stone gargoyles that speak in cockney accents. Visitors can view the ground's sculptures before going inside to gaze at the museum galleries and rotating exhibitions, which explore topics in art and pop culture.
Back outside, more than 80 acres of nature trails wind through the trees. One such trail leads to Nature's Playground, where kids soar down slides and play in a treehouse. Elsewhere, the accessible Wheels in the Woods trail lets people of all abilities explore the forest.
Crossing over Bendel's Pond brings visitors to Heckscher Farm, where kids learn basic animal care. The New England–style farm, which stands next to an otter pond, home to otters Bert and Edie, encompasses structures such as the Cheshire Barn, which was built in 1750 and houses heritage-breed animals, including chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, cows, and llamas. The Stamford Observatory sits west of the farm and offers visitors an opportunity to peer into a 22-inch research telescope (on Friday evenings, weather permitting), to view the night sky.
Backyard Sports engages young athletes in a series of weekly skill sessions, including baseball and basketball sport camps, taught by teachers, coaches, and varsity athletes. One-hour spring baseball sessions for pre-kindergarten through 2nd-graders, which take place on Sundays from May 8 to June 19, are tailored toward appropriate skill levels. Novices learn basic rules of the game, fundamental catching and throwing skills, and how to kick dust when arguing a call. More experienced athletes can hone fielding, hitting, speed and agility, and how to interpret an endorsement contract.