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The Thomas Cole Historic Site Blog


The "Ladies" on TV

This is pretty fun: Our exhibition "Remember the Ladies: Women of the Hudson River School" was reviewed on the Sunday Arts program on NYC's Channel THIRTEEN. Here is the link to the video: [Editor's note: the video has now been removed from] Sunday Arts is a weekly television series that showcases New York's cultural best. It is hosted by the former Metropolitan Museum of Art Director Philippe de Montebello and network news veteran Paula Zahn.

In other news, we are setting up a tent at the Catskill Farmers' Market that is open every Saturday from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm in its new location on Main Street in the heart of Catskill, now through October 30. Come by and say hello to our summer interns!


Wires be gone

Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to edit out the utility wires from the view of the Catskills from Thomas Cole's porch? Done! They are gone. We've been working on this project since before I came on the job in 2003, and last week they actually clipped the wires away. Here also is a photo of the immense cables they put underground. The lines that run in front of the Thomas Cole Historic Site are major arteries for three utilities: cable, phone and electric. One of the many service people who were working on the project told me that if they clip these wires, people all the way up through Albany would be without power, so it must be done very carefully. Looking out now, it is easier to imagine that 200 years have been erased, and Thomas Cole might be seen walking across the porch.



Now we are "award-winning"!

I'm excited to announce that our website “” has been awarded a “Webby”! We have been selected as an Official Honoree for the Art category in the 14th Annual Webby Awards, one of the most prestigious and competitive competitions in the online world. If I may brag a bit, they received nearly 10,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide. Winners are chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, whose members include David Bowie, Harvey Weinstein, Arianna Huffington, Matt Groening, Internet inventor Vinton Cerf, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson, and R/GA Chairman and CEO Bob Greenberg. Our award is listed at (choose "Art" from the drop-down menu at the top). We had a fantastic team working on this website, and I have to take a moment to thank them again: Charles Forcey at "Historicus," Karen Lucic at Vassar College, Liza Cunningham at "Firehaus Studio", Liz Brown-Stein for Rights & Reproductions, independent curator Lee Vedder, former intern Elizabeth Gardner, and Alan Wallach at the College of William and Mary. Good job!


Construction Update

Our new arrival circle is coming into place. The landscape construction project was on hiatus until last week, but the crew has been moving quickly since then. Here you can see the new stone retention wall being built. One of the giant stones is being lifted into place. The wall contains approximately 150 such rocks, averaging 3 x 5 feet in size, and weighing between 500 and 1500 lbs!


Landscape Overview

While we are waiting for the construction to begin again, I thought I might share with you the wonderful drawing by landscape architect Robert M. Toole showing our landscape plan. It is coming up a little blurry on my screen here, but a crisp reproduction is on the back cover of the newsletter that will be mailed out to our members shortly. (not a member?) Here is the key to the numbers on the drawing:

1. Restored entrance gate and piers
2. Restored wall and picket fence
3. Restored carriage drives and paths
4. Orchard plantings
5. Boundary screen planings
6. Restored cedar grove
7. New arrival circle
8. New parking


Job-Creation in Catskill

It's job-creation time here at the Thomas Cole Historic Site. We're looking for a wonderful person to staff our visitor center from May through October. It's a paid position, and applications are due this Friday through USAJOBS.govClick here to read more about it. If you are a college student, or have just graduated, I encourage you to check out our Internships and Fellowships. Coming up on March 14th is our Information Day for volunteers for the 2010 season. Click here to learn more. Recruitment and training are all happening this spring, so it is the perfect time to get involved.


Construction at the Historic Site

The big snow storm seems to have missed us entirely, so work continues on our landscape restoration. Here's a picture you don't see every day: giant construction equipment on Thomas Cole's front lawn. The truck in this photo is scooping out a roadway where the original entrance drive once curved through the property. The roadway will be finished in gravel, as will all the other new paths throughout the historic site.


Thomas Cole at Saks 5th Avenue

I thought the High Line was a prominent location (see blog entry below), but it seems that Thomas Cole has moved to the high-rent district. In a partnership with the New-York Historical Society, Thomas Cole paintings are currently adorning a  fall fashion display in the windows of Saks 5th Avenue in New York City. Click here to link to a blog about it.


Hudson River School on the "High Line"

I love it when contemporary artists reference Hudson River School painting in their work, however obliquely. This reference is anything but subtle, and its placement is highly visible. The artist Valerie Hegarty is using a Jasper Cropsey painting in her installation to be installed tomorrow on the High Line, the elevated park built on an old rail corridor along the Hudson River in New York City. The painting, owned by the National Gallery of Art, is famous for having caused the British to question Cropsey on his wild fall foliage colors, as they had never seen such a spectacle themselves. Click here for more information about the project. Shown at right is a digital rendering.


Here come the women

With our new exhibition of women artists next year, we might be on to something. I recently learned that the woman Hudson River School artist Laura Woodward (1834-1926)  is the subject of a new book that also includes information about her colleagues, Julie Hart Beers and Eliza Greatorex, all of whom will be featured in our 2010 show. I love this bit from the book's description, "Her bravery cleared the path for women landscape artists to follow." Here is a link to more info about the book: