While the town is famous for being the namesake of a legendary music festival that took place sixty miles away, Woodstock, New York is more associated with the visual arts, historically and in the present day. In the nearly 40 acres of woods behind the Woodstock School of Art is a beautiful sculpture garden created by an international team of artists.
The recently renovated buildings that the Woodstock School of Art has called home since 1981 were originally built in 1939 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. They were constructed from timber and local Woodstock bluestone, the same stone used for the creations in the woods that border the school, and until 1979 the buildings housed the Woodstock branch of the Art Students League of New York.
In 1996, Pascal Meccariello, from the Dominican Republic, Alan Counihan, and Colm Folan, from Ireland, and husband and wife Hideaki and Eiko Suzuki, from Japan, were part of the Woodstock School of Art Sculpture Residency. They each picked various sites in the woods behind the school and created beautifully intricate sculptures, mostly of stacked bluestone, reminiscent of walls, huts, arches, and towers. As they looked for spaces in which to work, the artists helped discover little waterfalls in the woods that the people who worked at the school had not been aware of.
For some, working with the bluestone was very different than what they were used to, and a few of them made use of other materials, natural and manufactured, from leaves to metal, and even the stream and waterfalls. To walk through and sit among the sculptures and the trees is a peaceful experience, and looking up and to the north, one sees another wonder of Woodstock, Overlook Mountain.
Know Before You Go
From the Woodstock Village Green head east on Route 212/Mill Hill Road for 1.4 miles, the school will be on your left. The sculpture park entrance is marked with a sign behind the parking lot to the right of the main school building. The sculptures are not clearly marked.
While in Woodstock, climb Overlook Mountain, shop and eat in the Village Green, and check out the many little waterfalls. There is usually an exhibit at one of the galleries in town, so take in some art. There may be musicians in the Green, so take in some music.