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HVSF Awarded $10 Million by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA)

GARRISON, NY (June 7, 2023) – The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival announced today a grant award totaling $10 million from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to support the construction of a LEED-Certified outdoor theater, and the ecological land restoration of their new 98-acre site. This grant is part of a record large capital project funding announcement by NYSCA, which totals over $90.5 million distributed to 19 projects across New York State. The $10 million award represents one of the largest expressions of support by NYSCA in the state, marking a milestone achievement for HVSF as it receives capital funding from NYSCA for the first time.

“From New York City to the North Country, we are investing in our state’s robust arts and culture sector to ensure all New Yorkers, regardless of their background, have access to the transformative power of art,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Our unprecedented support for this shared vision of accessible and sustainable cultural spaces will result in a stronger economy, more jobs, and improved community and personal health for New Yorkers and our visitors from around the globe.”

The news of the NYSCA grant comes during the quiet phase of a large-scale capital campaign designed to transform a 98-acre site in Garrison, NY, a former golf course, into HVSF’s first-ever permanent home, and build a solid foundation for environmental and financial sustainability for the company’s future. A significant portion of the grant will be used to support the construction of a new open-air theater designed by the celebrated architecture firm Studio Gang, founded and led by Jeanne Gang. The timber-frame structure is slated to be the nation’s first purpose-built theater to achieve LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The funds will also be used for the ecological restoration of the site, creating native meadows, new picnic lawns, and new ADA accessible pathways. These initiatives all align with HVSF’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality for the campus by 2040.

“This transformative grant empowers HVSF’s next chapter as a national model for environmental sustainability in the performing arts and underscores our emergence as a cultural anchor in the region,” remarked Kendra Ekelund, Managing Director at HVSF. “We are deeply grateful to Governor Hochul for her long-standing support of our project, which began with her visit to our site during her tenure as Lieutenant Governor in June of 2021. This grant represents an investment not just in HVSF’s mission, but also in the numerous communities we serve in the mid-Hudson region. We are so thankful to NYSCA for this robust and profound investment from New York State.”

Davis McCallum, Artistic Director at HVSF, added, “We are honored to be a part of this historic investment from Governor Hochul and NYSCA in the future of the Arts in New York State. The funding will not only allow HVSF to create a permanent, open-air theater venue in the heart of the Hudson Valley, a unique experience that will inspire audiences for generations to come, but it will also enable us to enhance backstage facilities for our company of artists, and make key improvements to the visitor experience for our audiences. Our aspiration is to be the greenest theater in the country, and this remarkable support from NYSCA advances us mightily on the path to that goal.”

In her live announcement on June 6, Governor Hochul added, “We’re going to continue bringing Shakespeare to the Hudson Valley, and I had a chance to go visit and see the incredible work that you’re doing. And I just knew that we had to continue supporting this. There are so many different ways that you can touch the soul. It’s with your eyes. It’s with your ears, listening to the music. It’s also just becoming engaged in a story – a story that’s over, I don’t know, 500 years old, hundreds of years old, that it continues to this day to tell stories that have incredible relevance.”

NYSCA Executive Director Mara Manus said, “We are immensely grateful to Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature for this historic level of capital grantmaking. These critical investments will support visionary expansions, essential facility improvements, and community-building strategies that will promote health, safety, and accessibility. We commend the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival for their bold and inspirational project that will deliver the measurable benefits of the arts to New Yorkers and our visitors for generations to come.”

NYSCA Chair Katherine Nicholls said, “Capital projects for the arts are an investment in our communities, our health, and our prosperity for decades to come. On behalf of the Council and staff, I congratulate the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival on its vision and dedication to serving the residents and visitors of New York and we look forward to seeing all that will flourish from this initiative.”

NYSCA’s Large Capital Improvement Grants for Arts and Culture support arts and cultural institutions across the state that are undertaking impactful, large-scale capital improvements. Grants range from $2 million to $10 million for projects with a total cost of $4 million or more. This funding will support investments to expand cultural programming, reach new and diverse audiences, and promote accessibility. These grants will also help advance the State’s goals around diversity, equity and inclusion and will require all grantees to commit to social equity initiatives and access plans that serve all New Yorkers. NYSCA’s Large Capital Improvement Grants program is administered in coordination with Empire State Development, which reviews applications to evaluate the potential for projects to support local placemaking, community development, and downtown revitalization efforts.

For more information on HVSF’s new home, click here.

About the New York State Council on the Arts 

NYSCA preserves and advances the arts and culture that make New York State an exceptional place to live, work and visit. NYSCA upholds the right of all New Yorkers to experience the vital contributions the arts make to our communities, education, economic development, and quality of life. To support the ongoing recovery of the arts across New York State, NYSCA will award record funding in FY 2023, providing support across the full breadth of the arts.

NYSCA further advances New York’s creative culture by convening leaders in the field and providing organizational and professional development opportunities and informational resources. Created by Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1960 and continued with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, NYSCA is an agency that is part of the Executive Branch. For more information on NYSCA, please visit http://www.arts.ny.gov, and follow NYSCA’s Facebook page, Twitter @NYSCArts and Instagram @NYSCouncilontheArts.