The list of architectural, artistic and natural wonders to explore in the Hudson Valley is lengthy and it may seem a daunting task choosing where to spend your time.
If you want to combine all three of those pleasures in one visit then a trip to Art Omi in Ghent, N.Y. might be the ticket. There you’ll find acres of fields, woods and wetlands open to the public year-round for rambling and art gazing.
Founded in 1992 as the OMI International Arts Center by real estate developer and philanthropist Francis Greenburger, the non-profit organization began as a residency program for writers before expanding to include dance, music, art and architecture. The idea of adding open-air fields for art viewing was embraced soon after and the Fields Sculptural Park was founded in 1998.
The Art Omi property now encompasses about 300 acres, which includes Fields Sculptural Park, the more recent 60-acre Architecture Fields, the Benenson Visitors Center and Gallery as well as artist’s studios and camp facilities.
The sculpture and architecture fields are open every day for visitors to explore, with more than 60 works of art from contemporary artists as well as several architectural installations on view. New pieces are added each year and pieces unveiled for 2018 include work by Nari Ward, Tamar Ettun and Sara Greenberger Rafferty.
Many works from previous years also remain on view, including ‘ReActor’ by Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley. The streamlined house is mounted on a 15-foot concrete column that tilts and spins the structure in response to the changing environment. The collaborators moved into the moving house for five days when it was first installed in 2016. While no-one is in residence this summer, the house still shifts with the changing winds in a prime spot in the Architecture Field.
The scale of both the landscape and the art is vast, but the extensive acreage provides fabulous broad vistas of multiple installations as well as intimate woodland walks with unexpected artistic surprises along the way.
It’s hard to hit every installation on one visit, but with the site open year round there’s the opportunity to view the works through the changing seasons. If the landscape is a bit daunting by foot, there are bicycles to borrow at the visitors center and a golf cart can be arranged for those with mobility issues.
How to Visit:
Address: 1405 County Route 22, Ghent, N.Y.
Hours: The park is open every day during daylight hours. The gallery space is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for major holidays. The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch available on weekends and snacks and drinks during the week. For more information on special events and exhibits, visit their website.
Directions: The closest train is the Amtrak at Hudson, from there it’s about a 20 minute taxi ride to Ghent. By car, Art Omi is about three hours from Brooklyn via the Taconic State Parkway.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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