Main image: Mark di Suvero: Mother Peace, 1969-70. Gift of the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation. ©Mark di Suvero, courtesy of the artist and Spacetime CC,NY. Photo: Storm King Art Center ©2020
Located in the town of Cornwall, Storm King Art Center has been and continues to be a leader in the art scene in the Hudson Valley.
There are few things better than spending an afternoon at the Storm King Art Center admiring the impressive large-scale sculptures and how they interact with the landscape. The beauty of the 500-acre art center is how it’s always changing, whether it’s the weather, the season, or the introduction of a new exhibit.
Coming soon, Storm King will welcome even more changes to support a better and more engaging visitor experience in the Hudson Valley.
Due for completion in 2024, a new $45 million capital project will result in an unparalleled visitor experience at the Storm King Art Center, as well as more on-site opportunities for art and artists. A backbone of the project is sustainability, focused on the conservation of the art center for future generations, while contributing to improving the environment.
A brief history of the Storm King Art Center
Storm King Art Center is a non-profit organization that opened to the public in 1960. It was founded by the Star Expansion Company, co-owned by the late Ralph E. Ogden and H. Peter Stern. The Ralph E. Ogden Foundation provided the initial gift of what is now the museum building. Later, the Star Expansion Company donated 300 contiguous acres. Although the art center was originally envisioned for Hudson River School painting, by 1961 the vision shifted more toward modern sculpture. In 1967, the purchase of 13 works of sculpture from the David Smith Estate led to the placement of sculptures directly into the landscape.
A new welcome sequence
At the entrance to the property there will be a series of accessible pavilions to attend to the immediate needs of visitors. These pavilions will offer a space for group orientation, new restrooms, group meeting spaces and will be in a brand new parking area. The existing car parks to the north and south will be removed with the introduction of the welcome sequence, reducing visitor interactions with vehicles while on site. The pavilions will be built with natural materials to remain respectful of the landscape.
Storm King Art Center aims to make the on-site experience more accessible by adding public transportation space for up to eight buses and shuttles, as well as space for rideshare drop-off. The new parking lot will have 580 spaces, 12 vehicle charging stations and dedicated ADA parking spaces near the entrance. There will be 122 visitor lockers, an all-gender bathroom, two family/accessible rooms, a nurse’s room and a medical room in the welcome area. In addition, the capacity of school buses and departures will increase.
New paths will be built throughout the site to universal design standards, making it accessible to visitors of all mobilities. Everything, including the ticket office and new bathroom toilets, will be built to universal standards, making it the right height for visitors of all mobility and stature. Storm King also hopes to expand the vehicles/mobility devices that visitors can rent at the bike kiosk, attracting a diverse audience.
Sustainability and Conservation at the Storm King Art Center
Storm King will lead the way for sustainability once the capital project is complete. For the project, the art center plans to build only what is necessary to reduce energy demand. In line with New York’s goals for future carbon neutrality, all-electric building systems will be introduced. Solar panels will be placed in the welcome sequence. Sustainable and durable materials will be used in all new buildings to extend the life of the building and limit long-term maintenance demands.
A new 19,375-square-foot conservation, fabrication and maintenance building will benefit sculptures and artists. Instead of having to move massive sculptures many miles away for repairs, there will now be a place on site to bring them indoors. The Conservation, Manufacturing and Maintenance building will have five large access doors to move art in and out. This building will also be a space for artists to create new pieces.
The removal of the north and south parking lot, as well as the planting of new species throughout the site, will be beneficial to the ecosystem and wildlife that reside on the property. Red maple, sugar maple, northern red oak, flowering dogwood, witch hazel, Virginia rose, Christmas fern and many other species will be planted on the grounds.
The design team
Working with architects heneghan peng, WXY architecture + urban design, Reed Hilderbrand and Gustafson Porter + Bowman, Storm King Art Center hopes to ensure that the introduction of new buildings and structures fits seamlessly into the landscape. By embracing the notion of “the front porch,” as Amy S. Weisser, Storm King’s Assistant Director of Strategic Planning and Projects, describes it, there will be no unnecessary interior space. The aim of Storm King is to bring your gaze to the depth of the landscape and the many outdoor views that the art center offers. “Buildings are the way to art, not the experience itself, we’re working with this porch idea, [so] you don’t have to come in,” Weisser points out.
Storm King is grateful for the support of the project from the Town of Cornwall and Town Supervisor Joshua Wojehowski. Weisser notes that “we’re also excited to make this project accessible to our neighbors,” as Storm King Art Center is and will continue to be one of the great treasures of the Hudson Valley. More information on the Storm King website.
Related: Ogle Larger-Than-Life Art at Hudson Valley Sculpture Parks