Arts & Culture
Dance, drama, film and music – all have a home here. Our stages host professional performances and summer residencies, community theater and children’s troupes. Performing art spaces run the gamut from the historic opera house atmosphere at one of the oldest theatres in New York, to a bold architectural performance space designed by Frank Gehry. Dutchess County’s two major cities, Beacon and Poughkeepsie, offer arts and cultural experiences for residents and visitors of any age.
Beacon is home to the internationally recognized Dia:Beacon art museum. This redevelopment of a former Nabisco factory was a catalyst for public and private partners to breathe new life into an old Main Street. Beacon is now packed with galleries, concert venues, vintage shops, cafés and farm-to-table restaurants.
In Poughkeepsie, old mills are now the subjects of adaptive-reuse projects. Former whaling, shipping and manufacturing facilities are now home to breweries, organic gardens and modern living. The anchor to this redevelopment has been the Bardavon, the oldest continually operating theater in New York established in 1869. At the turn of the 20th century, acclaimed performers like Sarah Bernhardt and John Barrymore graced the Bardavon stage. Today, it’s home to the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and hosts performances by renowned artists like Tony Bennett, Kevin James, and John Legend.
World-renowned institutes of higher education also bolster arts and culture in Dutchess County. Performance centers include the famous Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College, where productions like “Hamilton” and “Bright Star” were developed; and the stunning Frank Gehry–designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, attract patrons from all over New York. Marist College houses their top-ranked fashion program with digital arts focus in the renovated Steel Plant Studios.
Children’s museums, private galleries, pottery studios and more round out the amazing offering of arts and culture in Dutchess County. For more information, visit our partner Dutchess Tourism at https://dutchesstourism.com/go/appreciate.
- Dia: Beacon operates sites in Manhattan, Dutchess County, NY and worldwide and attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually
- Bardavon 1869 Opera House has an economic impact of $11 million
- The Gehry designed Fisher Center at Bard College includes more than 1,000 tons of curved and traditional steel as well as geothermal heating fueled by 150 pumps – no fossil fuel is burned for normal operations
- The culture sector in Dutchess County has an economic impact of $28.5 million and creates more than 1,000 jobs
- Almost half a billion dollars in economic activity is generated by the Mid-Hudson Valley arts & culture sector; it also provides employment for more than 5,000 Mid-Hudson Valley residents.