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The RuraList: 4 Venues Contributing To Tivoli’s Art Scene

By Jamie Larson

For a village of little more than a thousand residents, Tivoli, New York is positively saturated with arts and culture. With the addition of the new Listening Room Music Series at the Sanctuary at Murray’s Café, the village center has it arts bases covered.

“Tivoli is a little bit of heaven,” said Listening Room organizer Deborah Lopez. “It’s really special. We’ve only been up here four years but we are just constantly meeting people who are so inspiring.”

Along with this latest venue, there’s also theater from the Tangent Theatre Company, dance at the world-renowned Kaatsbaan International Arts Center, and visual art of all kinds at the Tivoli Artists Gallery. Many individual artists call the Tivoli area home as well, including Mary Stuart Masterson and Jeremy Davidson, who helm the always-evocative Storyhorse Theater documentary theater project.

1. The Listening Room held its first performance last Friday in Murray’s. The former church was a lovely and relaxed setting for an evening with Irish songwriters, The Storymen. Created by Lopez and her husband, established singer/songwriter Mick Lynch, the series is designed to allow people to really focus on the music in an intimate setting.

“You get to really hear the person, and connect with the through-line of someone’s life,” Lopez said.

The Listening Room will be held roughly every eight weeks. The next event in the series, which we’re happy to announce here, will be Jenna Nichols on July 14. There’s a $10 cover at the door and beer and wine are served.

“We hope to bring our community together by sharing what we are so passionate about. Music is a huge part of our lives and we have a great network of artists to help build this special series,” Lopez said. “We say, put down the phones, sit back and relax, and support new music. It’s old school and comfortable, and we love that idea.”

If you can’t wait for The Listening Room’s next show and need a reason to head over to Tivoli, here’s what else is going on down the street:

2. Kaatsbaan may be a big deal in the dance world these days, but it started in 1990 just like any other Tivoli venue — a community coming together to carve out a place for their art. It was founded by professional dancers who couldn’t find affordable studio space in New York City. Now, along with all the amenities it offers to its dancers, Kaatsbaan also has a 160-seat black box theater with a stage the same size as the one at the Metropolitan Opera.   

The theater’s schedule is full of exciting upcoming performances including this weekend’s lively Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, one of the nation’s most prominent flamenco and Spanish dance companies, Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 13 at 2:30 p.m.

The natural setting and views at Kaatsbaan are worth the trip itself.

3. Tivoli Artists Gallery continues the theme of community-organized artistic endeavors. A group of about 40 Hudson Valley artists maintains the gallery. Membership includes painters, sculptors, jewelers, photographers, potters, illustrators, performance artists, digital artists and animators.

The Gallery began in 1989 as a holiday craft fair in Rhinebeck, but settled into a year-round organization in 1993 in Tivoli. The two big gallery rooms lend themselves to the exhibit of large works as well as provide room for performances. The exhibition calendar of shows is a mix of group and solo exhibits, and it often includes annual shows such as the popular Erotica Show in February and the annual Holiday Show in November/December.

4. Tangent Theatre Company is leaving us on tenterhooks as we wait for the release of its next season schedule. The theater is a great venue for the (you guessed it) community of playwrights and performers to showcase new works. Previous performances have been very well received and they are always open to trying new things. For example, at their Pub Theater series, they held dramatic readings at the Traghaven Whiskey Pub down the block.

Tangent also rents out its Carpenter Shop Theater in between performances for use by other groups. 

“We feel so lucky to live in a place like this,” said Lopez, adding that living around other artists makes you feel more comfortable creating your own art. “There’s nowhere else like Tivoli.”

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/08/18 at 11:13 AM • Permalink