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Members with Benefits: The Rest Of The Region

By Jamie Larson

Last week we explored the benefits of becoming a member of some of the Berkshires’ cultural institutions. The rest of our region, Columbia County, Litchfield County and Northern Dutchess County, is likewise resplendent with arts organizations worth joining. So here, again, we enumerate a few more of the perks of patronage around the region. The list of membership benefits to follow, like last week’s, is exemplative rather than comprehensive to encourage you to get involved. If we could, we’d join them all.

The Hudson Opera House, recently renamed Henry Hudson Hall, is about to enter one of the most exciting chapters in its long and storied history with the completion of a massive renovation and restoration project. The performance hall will be officially unveiled to members and donors at the Proprietors Ball April 22. Becoming a Friend of the Opera House ($50-$1,000) entitles you to discounts and access to special events. 

Become a member of the Opera House’s new Proprietors Association to become even more immersed in the future of the reinvigorated venue. At the Bronze level ($1,500) members receive recognition, an invitation for two to the president’s cocktail party, two tickets to the Proprietors Ball and advance notice with patron priority seating to all special events and performances. The Silver level ($3,000) gets you six tickets to the ball, and the Gold level ($5,000) entitles you to a table for eight at the ball and a seat-naming opportunity in the restored performance hall. Platinum donors ($10,000+) receive a table for ten at the ball, two seat naming opportunities, their name on the wall in the Center Hall Gallery and the opportunity to host an opening night performance followed by a reception with the artist.

Frederic Church’s Olana has breathtaking views, amazing architecture, engaging programing and excellent parties. Basic membership ($50 for one, $75 for a family or $25 for students and teachers) comes with unlimited free admission to the main house and walking historic landscape tours, a 15-percent discount on purchases from the Olana Museum Store, free or discounted admission to most educational programs and invitations to exclusive members-only exhibition previews and events. Slightly higher but still very affordable levels ($125-$500) include discounted summer party tickets, increasing numbers of unlimited guest passes, invites and extra tickets to members-only events.

Court Hall Circle members ($1,000) also receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the main house and Frederic Church’s designed landscape for up to five guests. Those who join the Bell Tower Circle ($5,000) are offered a private sunset wine-and-cheese gathering at a “special location” at Olana for up to 12 guests. Who knows where the Bell Tower Circle’s special location might be?

PS21, like the Opera House, is undergoing some major facilities upgrades that will have a huge positive impact on programming. The new indoor-outdoor theater will allow the organization to operate year round while maintaining the summer feel to which audiences are accustomed. Members ($40 for individuals, $25 for students, $60 for couples and $100 for 4 friends) receive discounted ticket prices. A Sustainer ($500) gets all admissions at the member price. A Samaritan ($1,000) also gets priority seating and the ability to sponsor specific events. Donors at the Sponsor level ($2,500) receive two full season passes and a discount on facility rentals.

The Spencertown Academy’s programing would be well worth supporting on its own, but the Academy also hosts one of our favorite literary events of the year, the three-day Festival of Books. Memberships are extremely affordable (student $20, individual $45, couple $80, household $100). Donors receive discounted tickets to Academy-produced programs, the opportunity to participate in an annual members-only art exhibit and an array of season-specific special members’ promos at annual events.

Basilica Hudson’s donor benefits reflect the spirit of the venue’s eclectic programming, focusing around the 24-Hour Drone event. Underwriting an hour of the Drone ($100) includes 1 ticket and a free coffee. Underwrite an artist performance ($250) and get 2 tickets, a free Drone survival kit and lots of coffee. Underwrite an ensemble’s performance ($500) and also receive a limited edition 24-Hour Drone poster designed by AJ Annunziata.

Additionally, make a gift of $500 or more to Basilica and they will engrave your name (or short phrase of your choice) on a plaque and affix it to one of the iconic hodgepodge of Hudson-made and salvaged chairs in the Basilica’s theater space.

The Fisher Center at Bard and its lineup of SummerScape programming and Spiegeltent events are a vital part of regional artistic life. Friends ($75) receive access to tickets before the general public, invitations to season previews and open house events, a 10-percent discount on Spiegeltent dining, a 20-percent discount on Fisher Center merchandise and the ability to reserve up to 4 complimentary tickets for the film series. Supporters ($150) are also welcome to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Fisher Center. Sponsors ($300) get invitations to opening night parties.

Subsequent membership levels see even more benefits before entering the Patron level ($1,500) where members receive access to the best seats and personalized ticket handling through the Patron Priority Line and access to the Bard Music Festival Patron’s Lounge at Olin Hall. At the Producer level ($2,500), you and a guest are invited to an exclusive pre-performance dinner, and at the Director level ($5,000) receive reserved VIP parking for all events at the Fisher Center and an invitation for two to an intimate dinner with a performer, creator or scholar.

Photo: Buck Lewis


The New York Stage and Film Festival at Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater is an audience member’s dream put on by an organization whose members include many of the stars and creators behind the work celebrated at the event. Joining the festival’s Producer’s Circle ($1,000 or above) invites you to join an informal group of active supporters, and makes you a part of the NYSAF community. Members have close contact with the artists and staff and get behind-the-scenes access to the organization.

All members ($100) of the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck are recognized by name in the lobby and receive a complimentary ticket. Become a Director ($250) and receive two comped tickets to any of the theater’s great productions. Producers ($500) are invited to the VIP opening night reception. Angels ($1,000+) receive four tickets and get to attend a rehearsal.

The Millerton Moviehouse shows a lot more than just blockbusters. On any given night you can catch the best of independent film, live theater broadcasts, gallery exhibitions, forums and more. Member support allows the Moviehouse the flexibility to support a wide range of expression. A Silver membership ($60 for individuals, $100 for dual) means $2 off movie tickets, 1 free movie ticket when joining (2 if dual), invitations to special member events, discounts at local shops and restaurants and reciprocal membership discounts at Art House theaters nationwide. At the Gold level ($100/$175) members get an additional free ticket per person and $5 off all special event tickets.

The Sharon Playhouse membership provides half of the organization’s funding, making membership at any level vital to their continued success. Become a Partner ($500) and you’re invited to all Mainstage opening night receptions. The Playhouse’s Angel Program ($1,000+) provides members with a complimentary cocktail before any Mainstage production, a pair of complimentary premium seats to a production of your choosing and access to “Angel-only” special events. Platinum Angels ($2,500) also receive an invitation to observe an hour of auditions in NYC or Connecticut and two premium seats to all Mainstage productions. Enter the Director’s Circle ($5,000) and you have premium seats at the Mainstage and Stage II plus two tickets to the annual Spotlight Gala and an invitation to attend the first rehearsal of a production of your choosing.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 03/13/17 at 08:52 AM • Permalink