Following 10 years of careful activity in the City of Hudson, New York fostering existing and new citizens alike, in all our local, state, national, international, and economic diversity; Jonah Bokaer Arts Foundation is launching the inaugural Hudson Eye festival in the Summer of 2019. In dialogue with our local Artists and Partners, we are catalyzing an annual artist-driven program to be mounted in Hudson, to build and strengthen our communities through contemporary performance & art celebrating artists that, like Jonah, have a longstanding commitment to the City of Hudson: while also recognizing the next generation of artists who have chosen to call Hudson their home.
For nearly 200 years since the founding of the Hudson River School, our city and region has been a source of inspiration for artists to live, work, commune, meditate, create, find shelter, renew themselves and seek a sustainable creative sanctuary. As we go further in depth during our planning phase of The Hudson Eye we remain mindful of this history, and steadfast in our support of the Hudson community: we have plans to expand our commitment to with many artists – include, we hope, your own unique practice. The Hudson Eye festival is slated to kickoff on August 23rd and run through Labor Day weekend in Hudson, New York to close out the summer season. In partnership with Artists, Venues, Collectors, Communities, Volunteers, Small Businesses – and underground Hudson Nightlife, the Hudson Eye at its core seeks to provide a platform for artist’s voices to be heard and their practices to be shared with the Hudson community and surrounding areas.
In our initial planning, we worked to deeply at all levels of the city to consider what it means to be part of the Hudson community fabric, and looked inward at our own relationship to the region over the past 10 years. The Hudson Eye is an artist-driven 10-day public program and urban showcase, with a focus on Dance, Music, Performance, Film, Visual Art, Dining Out, and Nightlife during the final week of the summer as a celebratory close to Hudson’s peak tourism weekend. This program will feature 10 artists (5 Hudson based artists + 5 visiting artists) over 10 days; curatorially framing the works in a multi-venue exhibition featuring panels discussions, lectures and a “Dine Around” town each evening. A local bar will also be spotlighted, each night as well as after hours parties in underground and alternative spaces, such as Jonah’s own Space 428.
Alas the Hudson Eye was conceived from love and support, and intended to be shared.
Jonah Bokaer was born in Ithaca, NY to Tunisian and American parents, and frequently spent time in the Hudson Valley as a child. He has been active as a choreographer in Hudson, NY since 2006 – his programs have been paving the way for dancers and choreographers such as Tal Adler-Arieli, David Rafael Botana, CC Chang, James Koroni, James McGinn, Todd McQuade, Tony Orrico, Szabi Pataki, Sara Procopio, Davon Rainey, Judith Sachéz Ruíz, Adam H. Weinert, and many others through his Hudson residencies and public programs dating to 2006.
Jonah Bokaer was the 2015 recipient of the United States Artists Award in Dance (Ford Foundation). With this $50,000 personal cash prize, and others that year, he purchased his 3rd Artspace, in the center of Hudson, NY where he has created choreography since 2006. The acquisition of this facility in Hudson was made possible in cooperation with Peggy Polenberg Real Estate and its principals, locally in Hudson, who play an ongoing role in the overall strategy for the venue. Ongoing dialogue with collaborator / architect Charles Renfro in Hudson is ongoing, about the local urban planning of downtown Hudson, and the diversity of State Street in particular.
This 1870s Gothic church, once known as Saint Matthew’s Lutheran Church, has been meticulously renovated into a sophisticated residence and entertainment venue. Currently titled “Space 428,” the open design and astounding restoration incorporates original details with modern amenities. Bokaer recently hosted the New York State DanceForce convening in Hudson, NY on July 31st, 2018 with his dancers, in collaboration with Elena Mosley, Hudson’s local delegate to the New York State DanceForce, and an ongoing local collaborator.
Space 428’s repurposed space holds high ceilings, arched stained glass windows, and unique architectural details that punctuate the building’s past. Open concept living spaces, a fully equipped chef’s kitchen, and new bathrooms modernize this historical gem. New heating and cooling systems, electric, plumbing, foundation, and tuck-pointed brick are just a few of the upgrades. There is a fully fenced-in lawn, where there’s plenty of room to build a garage.
This divine reimagined space is two short blocks to Hudson’s bustling Warren Street and steps to Hudson’s rejuvenated Armory. The revitalization of State Street in Hudson is one aspect of Jonah Bokaer’s long history of Creative Placemaking in the arts, including deliberate partnerships with the New York State Council on the Arts, and its Dance Programs (2007-Present).
Local Hudson partners of Jonah Bokaer Choreography include Basilica Hudson (2010-Present), Second Ward Foundation (2014-Present), Hudson Opera House (where Bokaer staged his Guggenheim Fellowship production in 2015), Time Space Limited (Teaching Venue 2015), and many others.
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