Spencertown, New York – Spencertown Academy Art Center’s Hidden Gardens Tour, an annual gateway to summer in Columbia County, is scheduled for Saturday, June 16, and includes an array of events designed to inform, inspire, and intrigue garden enthusiasts. Highlights include a new Garden Market on the Green, Hidden Gardens Tour to six private homes, the Twilight in the Garden Cocktail Party, a lecture by Dan Benarcik, and a garden-themed art exhibition. Academy Board members Lydia Kukoff and Madaline Sparks, contributing garden editor at Real Simple magazine, are co-chairs of Hidden Gardens this year; proceeds benefit the Academy and its arts-in-education programs in local schools.
The festivities kick off with the Twilight in the Garden Cocktail Party on Friday, June 15 at 6:00pm at a private home in Columbia County against a backdrop of sumptuous gardens and a restored antique barn. Master Mixologist Ektoras Binikos (formerly the head mixologist at the three-star Aureole and Oceana restaurants) will create a signature cocktail for the occasion and the Academy’s all-volunteer catering crew, Let's Eat!, will prepare carving stations with Berkshire heritage ham, wood-smoked turkey and salmon, and beef tenderloins, as well as vegetarian finger foods and their famous guacamole. Guests may spot sprites dancing in the twilight as advanced students from the American Dance Institute under the direction of ballet mistress Sharon MacDonald perform modern dance inspired by Isadora Duncan. Many of the dancers began their studies at the after-school ballet program at the Academy. Tickets are $65.
New to the Hidden Gardens event this year is the Garden Market on the Green on Saturday, June 16 from 8:00am to 4:00pm at the Spencertown Village Green across the street from the Academy. More than 20 vendors have been invited, offering garden furniture, specialty plants, books, ornaments, birdhouses, terrariums, and other garden décor items. Master gardeners from Cornell University Cooperative Extension will be on hand to offer advice. Admission is free.
On Saturday, June 16 at 9:00am, Dan Benarcik, horticulturalist at Chanticleer Garden and instructor at the famous Longwood Gardens, will give a lecture titled “The Art & Craft of the Garden” at the Academy. He will discuss how to personalize one’s garden through the use of artistic elements, found artifacts, and ornamental containers. Tickets are $15 and include a light continental breakfast.
The centerpiece of the Hidden Gardens weekend is the self-guided tour, which takes place onSaturday, June 16 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Garden lovers will enjoy six distinctly different gardens chosen for their artistic and horticultural excellence. Located in Spencertown, Hudson, and Claverack, the gardens include an artist’s one-acre meadow that acts as a living canvas painted with native plants, three meticulous and creative urban gardens designed for easy entertaining, a park-like country retreat filled with meandering streams and a pond, and a farmhouse with a spectacular view of the Catskills that has a garden adorned with rustic structures and plantings designed for year-round interest. The tour takes place rain or shine and optional boxed lunches will be available by advance purchase. Tickets are $30; various package rates involving multiple events are also available.
Garden Pleasures: Artwork Inspired by the Garden, an eclectic gallery exhibition from the private collection of art dealer Richard Eagan, remains on display through June 24. It features 18th, 19th, and 20th century drawings and prints related to aspects of nature, including architectural designs for Beaux Art garden pavilions, Neo Classical sketches for garden sculpture, natural history drawings of botanical specimens, and stylized Art Moderne floral patterns for textiles. The exhibition also features a selection of mirrors meticulously crafted from everyday hardware and found objects from the Industrial Garden Collection of Spencertown artist Cristobal Morales. Spencertown Academy Arts Center Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Admission is free and the artworks are for sale, with prices ranging from $100 to $2,000.
Spencertown Academy Art Center marks its 40th anniversary in 2012. To purchase tickets for Hidden Garden events, see www.spencertownacademy.org. Day-of garden tour tickets and maps will be available at the Academy and at the gazebo on the courthouse lawn in Hudson beginning at 9:00am on June 16. Housed in a beautifully restored 1840s Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York.