Summer in the city is officially upon us. If you are craving an escape from the urban jungle, Storm King Art Center, the Hudson Valley’s open-air museum, may be just what you are looking for.
Storm King is the perfect combination of art and nature. The historic sculpture park features over 100 modern installations spaciously distributed over the property’s lush 500 acres. Storm King is just 90 minutes from New York City, but the vivid greenery, murmur of water flowing in streams, and echo of colorful birds chirping makes you feel far removed from the hectic bustle of the city.
The spaciousness of the grounds allow each work of art to be distantly spaced, adding to the grandeur of the sculptures’ massive size. The vastness of the grounds also ensures that visitors won’t feel overcrowded even on the busiest of summer days.
While Storm King’s permanent collection includes dynamic works of art from acclaimed artists such as Alexander Calder and David Smith, their temporary exhibits are not to be missed. This season, the museum is hosting an exhibition by Heather Hart as a part of their Outlooks series, a rotating yearly exhibition featuring the work of an emerging modern artist. While the museum asks visitors to abstain from climbing on most of its sculptures, Hart’s installation beckons guests to embody their inner child and features an interactive and multi-sensory rooftop. Guests are invited to by climb on top of the roof and enjoy a peaceful moment observing the surrounding nature, or they can enter the “attic” space beneath them where they can listen to pre-recorded individual narratives that weave together an intersectional history of the art center and the greater Hudson Valley region.
Also not to be missed this season is The White Sculptures, a temporary exhibit featuring a collection of David Smith’s sculptures, all in various hues of white. While Smith’s work is featured prominently throughout the art center, this exhibition critically explores his use of color as a powerful medium, especially when juxtaposed against the vibrant natural setting surrounding these massive steel structures.
Summer Solstice Celebration:
Storm King’s annual Summer Solstice celebration is a perfect opportunity for guests to experience an intimate viewing of these special exhibitions, as well as private tours of the museum grounds. The evening begins with nibbles and cocktails, and is followed by a farm-to-table dinner curated by chef Jesse Schenker and amidst the picturesque beauty of the scenic grounds. The evening will be capped off by dessert paired with live music and dancing under the stars.
Viewing all of the park’s sculptures can result in quite a bit of walking, though it’s nothing that shouldn’t be quite manageable for our New Yorker legs. However, if you prefer a break from walking, Storm King offers a free tram that visitors can hop on and off of as they please. The tram has several stops at each of the installation areas, and is especially useful for accessing the vast South Fields area, whose scenery and sculptures of epic proportions are not to be missed. Bikes are also available for rent on a first-come first-served basis, and provide easy access to the sculpture grounds via paved trails.
Storm King Art Center is accessible by bus or train. Coach operates two daily buses leaving from Port Authority, one with direct service to Storm King in Mountainville, and the other making a stop at Woodbury Common Outlets on the return. If you prefer to ride the rails, Metro-North has a getaway package. The package includes museum admission and a round-trip train ticket to Beacon, New York. Taxis or Zip Cars are available at the Beacon train station for transportation to Storm King.
Photo credits: Jerry l. Thompson and the author