On Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 4 p.m., "Olana on the Move Backpacks" are available at the Museum Shop (and at the Wagon House Education Center on weekends), full of self-guided activities to enrich family visits. Pick up a pack and explore the site, and when inspiration strikes you, try your hand at a sketch of what you see. Visitors can take sketches home or donate them to the ongoing public exhibit. There's no charge for this opportunity, but visitors must leave a photo ID until the backpack is returned.
On Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., "Art in the Barn" is open to children aged 3 to 5 (accompanied by an adult) at the Wagon House Education Center. Take your young ones on a family tour of the house to be inspired, then come down to the farm to let them be artists. This free program includes music, storytelling, dance, movement and open art studio time for our youngest artists with new projects every Saturday. To celebrate Columbia County Historical Society's "Inked Over" theme, stamping and printing activities will also be included in the projects, and monthly themes include architecture, farm history, art and Nature and the Hudson River.
On Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., "ARTlandish!" is for all ages. Visitors can emulate Frederic Church's habit of sketching outside and painting in his studio. Pick up paper, pencils and clipboards at the Wagon House Education Center and head out into Olana's picturesque landscape to sketch your very own view. Come back to the "studio" to use colored pencils, oil pastels and watercolors to finish your masterpiece - again, at no charge.
A Garden Walk will introduce adult visitors to Church's flower garden on Monday, July 5 at 4 p.m., with Mary K. Hughes leading the way. Learn a little history as well as new plant care and maintenance of perennial gardens. Bring questions on heirloom annuals and perennials; stay for the Olana sunsets. Hughes holds a degree in Horticulture as well as Floriculture and has a floral design certificate from SUNY-Cobleskill Agriculture College. There's no charge for this rain-or-shine event.
On two Saturdays, July 10 and 24 at 11:30 a.m., join a Family Tour at Olana to explore the house, its paintings and treasures from a child's perspective. Take the family tour and then stop by the Wagon House Education Center for Art in the Barn, or borrow a backpack full of activities to do on the grounds. Tours are geared for families with 6-to-12-year-olds, but all ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets for this event are $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and free for children under 12 or members of the Olana Partnership. Reservations are required by 4 p.m. the preceding Friday.
The Summer Arts Program for children aged 6 to 12 runs Monday through Friday, July 12 through the 16th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. "The Journey" (Session 1) will be held at the Wagon House Education Center and will include a visit to one of the locales that Church enjoyed in the 19th century. Through art, music, movement, history, Nature walks, poetry and other hands-on activities, children experience the life and travels of this landmark artist. Register for this special kids' day camp for $165 per child ($125 members of the Olana Partnership).
Lastly, the Olana Partnership's Annual Summer Party will be held on Saturday, July 24 from 7 to 11 p.m. on the East Lawn. The Carnivallike celebration will include authentic Jamaican cuisine, Caribbean music, festive costumes and more. With spectacular views and dancing under the stars, this is the not-to-be-missed event of the summer. Tickets are $85 for adults, $65 for members of the Olana Partnership.
The entrance to Olana is off Route 9G, just a mile south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge at Hudson. There is a $5 entry fee per vehicle from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (waived for current members of the Olana Partnership). For further information call (518) 828-0135 or visit www.olana.org.