by William Biersack
For the college students in search of art and culture in the Hudson Valley area, the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor comes highly recommended. Approximately a 20-minute drive south of Mount Saint Mary College, the art center provides its visitors with a truly unique and visual experience.
Storm King Art Center was founded as a nonprofit museum in 1960. The first sculptures acquired by the art center were housed in the main building, a former residence styled as a 1935 Norman chalet. The stone on the building’s exterior and the large ionic columns on the site were salvaged from a local mansion in the Hudson Valley that was taken down in the 1930s. Samantha Pellegrino, a guide at the art center, had much more to say about its history:
“Originally, it was a museum featuring the works of the … Hudson River Valley Landscape Artists … [In 1972] Ralph Ogden (owner) visited David Smith’s (featured artist) studio in Bolton Landing. He was really mesmerized by the idea of sculpture interacting with the natural environment. And so, after visiting, he started collecting more and more sculptures. He actually purchased 13 of David Smith’s sculptures after visiting his studio. And so, the sculpture collection grew and grew, and today we are known as … one of the [world’s] largest sculpture parks. We have over 500 acres of land, with beautifully sculpted hills and whatnot. It came such a long way from the beginning in 1960. Originally, they only had about 30 acres.”
The Storm King Art Center is an open-air museum and major sculpture venue that covers nearly 500 acres of meadow and wooded areas. Their collection is comprised of more than 100 sculptures, including works that have been gifted, loaned, acquired, or commissioned by the site. A great focus of the collection is on the large-scale abstract sculptures, most in steel, which have been scattered about the property. The site also exhibits figurative works and sculptures in stone, earth, and other materials.
Storm King Art Center is located close to the Mount with a discounted admission fee for college students. So, next time students find themselves with nothing to do on a nice day, they should keep in mind that there are opportunities waiting beyond the walls of the College Courts.