Real estate developer National Resources is quickly making changes to its many local properties – and iPark 84, located on the former IBM East campus in East Fishkill, is no exception.
Last year, the company began researching ideas for a new visitor center or space to connect the campus; its selection, the Barns Art Center, could even make the iPark campus a cultural destination.
Gallery director and curator Tara Dalbow was the one who proposed the arts center in the first place, envisioning a site where visitors can connect with nature and the rich history of agriculture in the Hudson Valley. . She wanted to focus on local production, especially among the local Hudson Valley food and beverage producers who made iPark 84 their home.
“On campus, they have maybe 10 to 15 local producers or manufacturers, food producers or beverage producers who have their production on campus,” Dalbow said. “There’s Sloop Brewing, there’s More Good drinks – there’s all these different kinds of brands. And then they got this urge to build something in this new build, a 3,200 square foot space.
“So I offered them the idea of barns, of this art center at the crossroads of food, agriculture, ecology and sustainability, because it was centered … a synthesis between what is happening was happening on campus. ”
The campus is located on what was once farmland before IBM turned it into a microchip factory, closing the land use loop.
Dalbow, a native of California who lived in New York City for eight years, discovered the Hudson Valley region when she began her graduate studies at Sarah Lawrence College.
“There was just a lot of energy here and a lot of possibilities for people to do amazing things,” she said. “There are a lot of constraints in New York when it comes to the build size and scalability of everything. I was drawn to the fact that there were so many people here doing really interesting things in new ways and not afraid to go beyond the parameters you might have in New York City.
Dalbow is now a Hudson Valley resident herself, living in Beacon. Writer of fiction, this is the first time that she is a curator for a gallery or that she is involved in work related to the visual arts.
His preparation for the opening of the barns involved dozens of interviews with people in the arts and arts education in the Hudson Valley, to determine what was needed and how to balance a local focus. with the inclusion of art from around the world.
“There is already such a robust cultural landscape here,” she said. “So how did we do something that wasn’t already done?” I landed on the Barnes as it is now, and carried it through the first show of 30 different artists around the world. There are a good number that are regional on purpose, but we also wanted to introduce new perspectives.
The grand opening of the space took place on August 27, during which around 250 attendees were able to explore the art centre’s inaugural exhibit, “Tasting Menu,” which “engages the five senses to explore food in as meaning, metaphor and material. “
“For the opening, he was overwhelmed with support from regional arts institutions, which I was very grateful for,” said Dalbow. “It really showed me the strength of this community and how willing they are to celebrate and champion new ideas.”
The Barns are now approaching their next big event, the Harvest Festival, which takes place October 9-10 and will premiere “Lost Arts,” an immersive cinematic experience produced by the art center and Northguild, a production company. based in Kingston.
The film, which features 10 Hudson Valley farmers, is a celebration of the art and culture surrounding agriculture in the region and an exploration of how the methods and wisdom of resource cultivation of the past can inform the future of innovation and sustainability for agriculture and other modern challenges.
Featured farmers include Jack Algiere of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture; Ben and Melany Dobson of Hudson Hemp; and Ken Greene of the Hudson Valley Seed Co., among others; some of them will lead workshops and activities at the Fête des moissons.
The other element that will be unveiled at the festival is the installation “Of Furrows & Lands in Harps” by the internationally renowned artist collective Futurefarmers. It is a large-scale interactive architectural structure and a three-year public program.
For now, Dalbow hopes to spark interest in the new art center in the Hudson Valley, but hopes to expand the reach of the barns even further in the future, to take full advantage of the space – including part is still occupied by IBM materials. She envisions studios, spaces for artist residencies and summer camps, and education programs for youth and adults in the community and beyond. There are even plans to organize an art exhibition at a local high school.
According to Dalbow, a food hall is also under construction on the National Resources campus, which will attract more visitors to iPark, as well as the Sloop Brewing Co. and company offices, in addition to Michelson iPark movie studios. which are currently being extended there.
“I think we’re hoping to be a destination for both the local and regional community, as well as for people who come to, say, the city for a weekend,” said Dalbow. “The exciting part, I think, is it’s a bit mixed up here – like food and farming and an art center. People can come to the brewery, (then) they can walk into a space celebrating art and maybe they wouldn’t have already thought of researching that experience on their own. So I’m very excited to bring together different people who are drawn to the campus itself for different reasons.
The Barns Art Center, according to Dalbow, can offer visitors important new perspectives not only on the structure of food systems and current and historical agricultural practices in the Hudson Valley region, but it can also provide insight into what it means to be part of a community.
“Food systems are at the heart of any community,” she said. “And the reason I think we are going through so much upheaval in our current social configuration is that we have completely disconnected from our food system. I think it’s important to go back to a locally focused approach to how we think about eating and how we think about staying alive and taking care of ourselves and each other. “
The Barns Art Center is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.