Activities in Westchester County for Every Interest: Art-Related Activities
Fed up with the high price tags and oversized crowds in Manhattan museums, never mind the hassle of getting there? Right here in Westchester, art lovers will find enough world-class museums and galleries to occupy a whole weekend — or two or three!
Get started on Friday evening at the movies — but instead of the multiplex, how about something more eclectic? Choose from the offerings uptown at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville (burnsfilmcenter.org) or downtown at the Pelham Picture House (thepicturehouse.org).
Don’t stay out too late, though, because you’ll want to get an early start on Saturday, when you’ll be visiting some Northern Westchester venues. The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (1701 Main St, Peekskill 914-788-0100; hvcca.org) mounts changing displays of work by both established and emerging artists. It is located in Peekskill, which is filled with galleries like Flat Iron Gallery (105 S Division St, Peekskill 914-734-1894; flatiron.qpg.com) and BeanRunner Café (201 S Division St, Peekskill 914-737-1701; beanrunnercafe.com/brcgallery.php), where you can also have a snack and a latte.
Or, stop by the Katonah Museum of Art (134 Jay St, Katonah 914-232-9555; katonahmuseum.org), where shows often examine art through a historical filter, and the sculpture garden is inviting year-round. Monthly, the museum hosts Target Picture Story Saturdays, a morning of stories and hands-on art projects for kids.
On certain Saturday afternoons, parents and children can attend a family workshop at the Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden (28 Deveau Rd, North Salem 914-669-5033; hammond museum.org). Here, the exhibits blend Eastern and Western artistic traditions. And if the weather’s nice, wander through the garden, its meandering paths and plantings carefully designed to foster an appreciation of nature.
If you prefer more eclectic offerings, check out Lift Trucks Project (3 E Cross St; ltproject.com) in Croton Falls. This former forklift factory is now a large gallery space that presents diverse exhibitions; past shows have included images by master printmaker Gary Lichtenstein, collaborations between a teacher and his autistic student, and “Tattoo Flash,” a collection of iconic tattoo art. Ring the doorbell, which might be answered by an artist working in the studio upstairs. If not, experience New York’s first “drive-by” gallery from outside: works are placed strategically for viewing through the factory’s windows, which are illuminated by night.
Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor might seem an unlikely stop on an arts itinerary, but its Art for Health program (hvhc.org/support-us/art-for-health) has amassed hundreds of pieces of fine art that are displayed in 13 public gallery spaces throughout the hospital. Art for Health was established based on the concept that art holds restorative properties that promote the healing process.
Looking at art takes concentration, so refresh yourself on Saturday night, because on Sunday, we’re heading down county.
Perched on a hillside in Yonkers with glorious views of the Hudson River, the Hudson River Museum (511 Warburton Ave, Yonkers 914-963-4550; hrm.org) includes the Andrus Planetarium; Glenview Mansion, an 1876 house museum; and six art galleries, where shows focus on history and science as well as 19th- and 20th-century art.
While in Yonkers, you can visit Blue Door Gallery (13 Riverdale Ave 914-375-5100; bluedoorgallery.org) downtown, or Esplanade Park (914-377-6450; scenichudson.org/parks/yonkers esplanade), which contains a sculpture park on the water, an ideal spot for contemplating the river’s flow.
Then drive east to Castle Gallery (29 Castle Pl, New Rochelle 914-654-5423; cnr.edu/arts/aboutthecastlegallery), located in the historic Leland Castle on the campus of The College of New Rochelle. This intimate gallery presents three shows a year that run the gamut from contemporary art and design to crafts.
Southern Westchester is also home to the Pelham Art Center (155 Fifth Ave, Pelham 914-738-2525; pelhamartcenter.org), which offers, in addition to rolling-admissions classes for children and adults, an array of exhibitions in all media. Another educational and gallery space is the Clay Art Center (40 Beech St, Port Chester 914-937-2047; clayartcenter.org), in Port Chester, where the exhibits showcase the breadth of the field of ceramics.
And there’s much more. You can peruse the options at ArtsWestchester (artswestchester.org), the county’s arts council website. In addition to its Arts Exchange gallery in White Plains, ArtsWestchester maintains online listings of exhibitions at museums and galleries and arts-related events.