aboutbyrdcliffe

ABOUT BYRDCLIFFE

MISSION STATEMENT

The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild provides a vibrant center for arts and crafts in the beautiful and unique rural community of Woodstock, New York, while preserving the historic and natural environment of one of the earliest utopian arts colonies in America. It offers a unique and inspiring combination of residency, educational, exhibition, and performance programs that encourage creative collaboration among a diverse array of artists, students, arts professionals, and the public.

STATEMENT ON DIVERSITY

We believe our mission is most effectively fulfilled through a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness as a core value and practice. The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild is an organization that is committed to building and sustaining diversity in all of its programs and activities. We support diversity across all lines of difference, including age, economic circumstances, ethnicity, sex, race, religion, range of abilities, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression.

 

WHO WE ARE

The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild is a regional center for the arts located in Woodstock, New York. From its 250-acre mountainside campus and its arts and performance center in the village of Woodstock, Byrdcliffe offers an integrated program of exhibitions, performance, classes, workshops, symposia, and artists’ residencies. Byrdcliffe embraces all disciplines of artistic endeavor in a collaborative spirit, and seeks creative partnership with other not for profit and educational entities in order to leverage its unique resources for the benefit of the cultural life of the Hudson Valley region. Byrdcliffe was founded in 1902 and has operated as a nonprofit organization since 1938.

As is common for not-for-profit service organizations, Byrdcliffe is funded by a combination of contributed income and earned income. Sources of contributed income include individual memberships, bequests, foundation grants, government agency grants, income from our endowment, and corporate and individual contributions. Byrdcliffe receives earned income from rentals, tuitions, sales, and tickets. Byrdcliffe is a member of the Woodstock Arts Consortium and the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce.

Learn more about the history of Byrdcliffe. Walking tours are conducted regularly during the summer, and visitors can access a map here.

STAFF

 

  • Ursula Morgan, Executive Director, ursula@woodstockguild.org
    Ursula Morgan is an arts advocate with broad art historical knowledge, a focus on Modern and Contemporary Art, and specialization in the art of the Hudson Valley. Morgan’s extensive work in the museum field includes curatorial projects, program development, and fundraising activities for private art galleries, not-for-profit art institutions and art museum’s including Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz and the Neuberger at SUNY Purchase. Her other Hudson Valley institutions include Locust Grove, Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, and Barrett Art Center with curatorial work beginning in Woodstock at the Woodstock Artists Association and James Cox Gallery. She holds a MA in Museum Studies from Marist-Italy, a BA in Art History from Bard College, and is a graduate of Fiorella H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art in NYC majoring in fine art.


  • Rich Conti, Ceramics Program Director, ceramics@woodstockguild.org
    Rich Conti is a well-known ceramics artist and educator who has been a teacher and champion for ceramics since the early 1990s. Since 1996, Rich has been the Director of the Ceramics Program at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, where he built and equipped the studio, started regular community classes, a ceramic residency program, and private clay studios for the community. Though pottery had long been part of Byrdcliffe’s program, it wasn’t until Rich arrived that a gas-fired kiln was established, and ceramics classes once more took place at Byrdcliffe. Born in Kingston, NY, Rich studied at Pratt Institute and received his BFA from Alfred University. At Byrdcliffe, he has taught wheel throwing and hand building to over 600 students each year from beginners to advanced students, and he has invited nationally and internationally known ceramics artists to Woodstock to teach classes and give lectures. He has also exhibited his ceramics and taught workshops across the country, and his work has appeared in many publications, including American Craft magazine. His work is firmly grounded in objects for daily use, combining simple aesthetics with the mandates of functionality. Rich was born in Kingston, New York, where he had a studio and informal gallery in midtown before relocating to Woodstock. This is Rich’s 25th year anniversary at Byrdcliffe.


  • Gabriella Kirby, Operations and Administration Manager, info@woodstockguild.org
    Gabriella is originally from northern New Jersey and has been coming up to the Catskills since she was a little kid. The Hudson Valley, and specifically Woodstock, made a strong impact on her during her growing up years, igniting a passion for art, nature, and community. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and then took off on a spontaneous cross country road trip with her now husband to visit as many National Parks as they could. Her first large-scale art public commission, “An Unearthening,” is an earthwork created at North Mountain Park Nature Center in Ashland, Oregon, and is paired with an environmental art education program developed to serve schools and at-risk youth groups. She spent the last dozen years in Portland, Oregon, working with many design based, fast growing startups and participating in solo and group exhibits on throughout the Hudson Valley, in Portland, NYC, Los Angeles, and London. She’s excited to now call upstate NY home and is thrilled to join the historic Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild.


  • Hannah Verrill, Artist-in-Residence Guest Director, hannah@woodstockguild.org
    Hannah is an artist and educator originally from Brooklyn, NY, and now happily living in the Hudson Valley. As an artist Hannah creates interdisciplinary performance events using movement, video, text, and installation. Her work has been shown at Center for Performance Research, American Medium, HERE Arts Center, Movement Research, WeisAcres, Glasshouse Gallery, Links Hall, Nightingale Cinema, Defibrillator Gallery, and Pieter. Hannah is also a long time arts educator working across sites such as Dia: Beacon and Abrons Art Center. Hannah holds an MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and a BA from Oberlin College. She is delighted to join the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild community as this year’s guest director of the artist in residency program.


  • Megan Daly, Shop Manager, shopbyrdcliffe@woodstockguild.org
    Megan Daly has been a resident of Woodstock since 1976, raising two kids and working part-time for her husband. She is a ceramicist with extensive experience in retail craft shows up and down the East Coast. From 2000 to 2010 she worked as Crafts Coordinator and manager of the Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery for the Catskill Mountain Foundation in Hunter. She co-produced the Mountain Culture Festival for the CMF from 2001 to 2007. Megan is very happy to be contributing to the life of the Byrdcliffe community.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  • Byron Bell
    Byron Bell has been an architect primarily for non-profit organizations for more than 50 years. He has served on the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Exhibition Committee and on Facilities Committees of several other institutions. Throughout his extensive career, he has found the time to serve on several non-profit boards: Third Street Music School, New York Society Library, Van Alen Institute, St. Gaudens Memorial, Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, Grolier, Blue Hill Troupe, Clarion, and Music Society, among others. Byron and his wife Susan live in Woodstock three seasons out of the year and enjoy all the area’s cultural activities. The Bells have been contributors to the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild for many years and have hosted numerous events including house tours and dinners, and have hosted many Artists-in-Residence. For 45 years the Bells have traveled throughout the world and created an extraordinary craft and material culture collection, all catalogued and documented. Pieces from the collection have been exhibited throughout the country. Byron enjoys creating watercolors, pottery, and playing the piano.


  • Linda Bodner
    Linda Bodner is a full-time resident of Woodstock, after retiring in 2014 from her law practice in Manhattan. She received her B.A. in political science from Boston University and her J.D. from Fordham Law School. She and her husband raised their two daughters in Manhattan and in 1999 purchased their residence in Bearsville, a home with strong Japanese and Arts and Crafts influences. They both have loved exploring Woodstock and its Arts and Crafts history. They collect Japanese pottery, and Linda has taken ceramics classes at the Byrdcliffe Art Colony and has participated in many of Byrdcliffe’s events. The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild has been important to Linda ever since her arrival here and she looks forward to her continued involvement as a member of its Board.


  • Stephen Bergkamp
    Stephen Bergkamp has been an active member of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Programs Committee and the Byrdcliffe Music Sub-Committee since 2018. He was born and raised in the bucolic Catskill Mountain hamlet of Lew Beach, NY, to a social worker father and artist mother. A lifelong musician, Stephen has been performing and recording music in the Woodstock area for over a decade. He played Division I baseball at Pace University and holds a BA degree in Sociology. He lived abroad in Honduras and Italy where he taught English and traveled for several years prior to purchasing a home in Woodstock. Locally, Stephen worked in the mental health field for Family of Woodstock, Inc. and Mental Health Association in Ulster County as a social worker for children with emotional disturbances. After 9 years of service in the mental health field, he spent 4 years working for the online marketplace, Etsy; a venue for artists and makers to buy and sell handmade or vintage items. Stephen is currently active in the real estate industry and is the owner of Catskill Mountain Home Inspections. He and his wife, Michelle are raising their two children at their home in Woodstock.


  • Oscar Buitrago, Secretary
    Oscar Buitrago is the US Chief Business Development & Marketing Officer at Linklaters. He was named to the M&A Advisor’s list of 40 under 40 Emerging Leaders in Business Development and Marketing. He received his B.A. in Art History and B.A in Classics from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and was awarded the Donat Fellowship (for the advanced study of archaeology) and the Phi Kappa Fellowship (for advanced international studies). Oscar first came to Woodstock in 1997. He is the Secretary of The Board of Directors of Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild and serves on its Development Committee and Nominating & Governance Committee. Oscar is also the President of The Board of Directors of the Woodstock Artist Cemetery Board and Secretary of The Board of Directors of The Maverick Concerts.


  • Sam Freed, Vice-President
    The discovery in the early 90’s that the property where Sam now resides in Woodstock was once the residence and studio of original Woodstock artist Henry Lee McFee sparked his interest in the history and importance of the Byrdcliffe Colony and the Guild that promotes and protects it.  He has since restored that house and filled it with a collection of early Woodstock artists that stands to honor the history of the Colony.  Sam is mostly retired having had a successful career as an actor doing stage and all other media.  During his active career he served on both the National and Local Boards of Screen Actors Guild where he additionally acted as New York President and National Vice President.  He chaired and served on numerous Committees as a result of that service including contract negotiating Committees.  He is a sitting Trustee of the Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund, a charitable fund that serves to benefit the theatrical community.  He is currently a member of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Board and a member of the Guild Property Committee where he can direct his knowledge and experience to the further restoration of the buildings of the Colony.  He is also a supporting member of WAAM.


  • Richard Heppner
    Richard Heppner has served as the Town of Woodstock Historian since 2001 and has been a member of the Historical Society of Woodstock’s Board of Directors since 2002. A graduate of Onteora High School, he received his BA in Political Science and History from SUNY Albany and his MA in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research. After many years as a faculty member at SUNY Orange, Richard has since served as Chair of the Arts and Communication Department, Associate Vice President of Liberal Arts, and as Vice President of Academic Affairs. He retired from SUNY Orange in August of 2011. During his tenure as Town Historian, Richard has worked closely with the Historical Society of Woodstock to insure that the history of our town is not only preserved, but accessible. He currently serves on the Board of the Artists’ Cemetery as Vice President, is a sitting member of the Commission for Civic Design, and Chairs the Alf Evers Volunteer of the Year Award Committee. In addition to numerous articles and publications on Woodstock history, he is also the author of Remembering Woodstock (The History Press, 2008).


  • John Koegel, Treasurer
    John Koegel is an attorney and founder of the law firm The Koegel Group. Since 1982 he has specialized in art law, exclusively representing artists, galleries, and others involved with visual art in most areas of the law including litigation. He attended Fordham Law School and initially joined the law firm of Rogers & Wells. After a two-year appointment as counsel to a National Commission appointed by President Carter in Washington D.C., he served as General Counsel and Secretary at the Museum of Modern Art. Over the years he has been actively involved in the drafting of legislation affecting the arts, including the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (the federal law of moral rights for artists). John currently serves on the Board of Directors of Lower East Side Print Shop, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and the Leon Polk Smith Foundation. He was a long-time active board member of Exit Art, and also serves as an honorary board member and pro bono counsel to the International Fine Print Dealers Association, ArtTable, and the Association of Art Museum Curators.


  • Katharine McKenna K.L. McKenna has a Masters Degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. She started off her art career as a photographer, with her photographs of the 1970s reflecting an ongoing interest in portraits, street life, and landscape. Her sense of composition carries through the different mediums. Her inspiration for western scenes comes from childhood summers spent in Wyoming and Colorado with her paleontologist father prospecting for fossils and dinosaurs. As a 13 year-old in 1969, Katherine ran the Grand Canyon Colorado River in wooden cataract boats where she was awed by red canyons, buttes, and the blue skies of Arizona. In addition to being a painter, K.L. McKenna has worked on a wide variety of interesting design projects over the years. She is currently designing interactive color with custom printed fabric for quilts using a variation of the Amish traditional “Diamond in the Square” geometric design.

  • Catherine McNeal, President
    Catherine McNeal has extensive experience in strategic marketing and oversight of large corporate fashion retailers. She has held Senior Vice President/General Merchandise Manager positions in the fashion industry and has many years of merchandising and design expertise. She lives in Woodstock and in 2014 established her own business to serve the local area in home staging, interior design and home renovation. Additionally, Catherine has made a lifelong commitment to being involved with the community and has served on boards and volunteered for many non-profit organizations throughout her career.  She joined the Board of Directors of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild in 2018, currently chairing the development committee and member of the Property Committee.


  • Doug Milford
    Doug Milford, the current Chair of Byrdcliffe’s Exhibition Committee and member of the Programs Committee and the Nominating and Governance Committee, is an entrepreneur with 38 years of leadership experience in the fine art industry. Since 1997 he has been Co-owner and Managing Partner of Art Systems LLC, the world’s leading provider of art gallery and collection management software. In 1996, Doug served as Publisher of Artnet.com, starting the world’s first online art magazine and aggregate gallery website. Previously, he was marketing director for Marlborough Gallery. Doug began his career as co-owner and director of Piezo Electric Gallery in New York City and Venice, CA, a founding gallery of the 1980s East Village art scene, and went on to become owner and director of Milford Gallery in SoHo, New York. Originally from Winnetka, Illinois, Doug is a graduate of Columbia University and lives as a proud parent of a high schooler in Woodstock.


  • Karen K. Peters
    Karen K. Peters fell in love with Woodstock in the 1970’s, relocated from NYC to the Hudson Valley, engaged in the private practice of law and taught gender discrimination and the law, civil rights and civil liberties and criminal law at SUNY New Paltz. In 1983 Karen became the first woman elected to the Ulster County Family Court and in 1992 after another hotly contested election Judge Peters became the first woman Supreme Court Judge in the 28 counties of the Third Judicial Department. In 1994 Governor Mario Cuomo appointed her to serve on the Appellate Division of the Third Department and in 2012 upon appointment by Governor Andrew Cuomo she became the first woman Presiding Justice of the department. Justice Peters retired from the bench in 2017. She is of counsel to the Litigation and Business Disputes Practice in the New York Office of Epstein, Becker Green and presently Chairs the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, The Commission on Parental Representation and the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Attorney Well-Being. Justice Peters is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for her commitment to the advancement of Judicial Diversity, lawyer and judicial wellness and the legal needs of parents and children. An avid supporter of the arts and a passionate potter, Karen returns to the Board of Byrdcliffe with a renewed commitment to ensuring the vibrancy of the arts in the Hudson Valley.


  • Ed Sanders
    Edward Sanders is a poet, historian and composer with a degree in ancient Greek from New York University. His recently published book, illustrated by Rick Veitch, is “Broken Glory, the Final Years of Robert F. Kennedy,” published by Arcade Publishers.  A paperback edition, with an update chapter, will be published in 2021. His Glyphic History, “A Life of Charles Olson in Text and Glyphs,” has very recently been published by Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil.  His manifesto, “Investigative Poetry,” has inspired several book-length biographies in verse, including Chekhov, a Biography in Verse, and The Poetry & Life of Allen Ginsberg. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in verse, an American Book Award for his collected poems, a 2012 PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles Prize, and other awards for his writing.  He is completing a biography of Alf Evers, and is a volunteer assistant at the Alf Evers Archive. Sanders was the founder of the satiric folk/rock group, The Fugs, which has released many albums and CDs during its 55-year history.   He has lived in Woodstock with his wife, the essayist and painter Miriam Sanders, for over 40 years, and both are active in environmental and other social issues.


  • Julia Santos Solomon Julia Santos Solomon is a highly successful, interdisciplinary Dominican artist. Her vision shaped generations of successful LatinX Dominican artists. She taught at Parsons School of Design in New York and Marist College in Poughkeepsie. Santos Solomon’s art-making is fueled by cultural heritage, transforming a personal narrative into the universal for the next generation. She is represented in the permanent collections of The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY, Latino Art Museum in Pomona, CA, The Museum of Modern Art in Santo Domingo, DR, University Museum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Leon-Litton Collection, and the Altos de Chavon Foundation in La Romana, DR. She also appears in the Smithsonian American Art Archives and the City College Dominican Studies Archives. Her art is represented in private collections both domestic and abroad and has been featured in the New York Times, National Public Radio, State of the Arts, New Art International, Dialogo Studies Journal, Acrylic Revolution and Acrylic Illuminations.

  • Tani Sapirstein, Vice-President
    Tani E. Sapirstein is an attorney practicing in Springfield, Massachusetts with her husband Jonathan. She concentrates her practice in civil litigation with an emphasis on employment discrimination matters. She served as a hearing officer for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, and is on the Advisory Board to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Tani has a B.A. in History and English from Brown University and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University. Tani and Jon purchased their home in Woodstock in 2011 because of the hiking, restaurants and of course, the arts.


  • Charles Sheek
    Winning an audition for a summer job in 1974 at a themed adventure park in Western North Carolina has led to a virtual life-in-the-theater for Charles Sheek. He holds a BA in English literature from UNC Charlotte and studied Dance on scholarship at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His professional dancing career included performance opportunities in New York and across the United States; including a sold-out Broadway engagement with Bejart’s Ballet of the 20th Century. Retirement from dancing in the 1980s led to a successful career of more than 35 years working in all aspects of editorial, communications, marketing, press, program production, and public relations for three major American performing arts institutions: The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center Festival, and Juilliard School. Sheek’s life-long interest in functional pottery now finds him working from his home ceramic studio in Kerhonkson, NY and studying at Byrdcliffe’s Ceramic Studio with master potter Rich Conti.


  • Douglas I. Sheer
    Doug Sheer is an artist and writer living in Woodstock. His artist parents took part in the WPA, Artists Union, and Hans Hofmann classes. In 1974 he co-founded Artists Talk on Art, the art world’s longest running panel series, which has presented over 8,500 artists in more than 1,000 panels and dialogues. He became Chairman Emeritus in 2019. He was archivist of the ATOA archive which resides at Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution. Past professional jobs have included: magazine editor and publisher, ad director and agency executive, technology writer/correspondent, market researcher and Governor of the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers for the New York Region. He serves on the education and public engagement committee of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. On behalf of Byrdcliffe he serves on the exhibition and programming committees and leads the Byrdcliffe Forum virtual talk series.


  • Abigail Sturges
    Abigail Sturges grew up in New York City and spent summers in Woodstock. She majored in Classics at Vassar before studying in Italy for a year. Working in New York City provided Abigail the opportunity to collaborate with graphic designer Massimo Vignelli for over twenty years on architectural publications, while she has owned her own design firm for 45 years. Abigail has been the Art Director for Architecture magazine; designed illustrated books for major publishers such as Rizzoli and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; designed exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art, the Research Institute for the Study of Man, and the Dvorak Society. Her volunteer work includes graphic design for private foundations and colleges and event planning. She has also served on the New York State Council of the Arts’ Architecture, Design and Exhibition panel. Abigail and her husband, architect Daniel Perry, live at Byrdcliffe near the Theater; and Daniel restored their house to its original arts and crafts design.

  • Henry T. Ford, Director Emeritus and Byrdcliffe Historian
    Henry T. Ford,  has served on the Board of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild for many years and has held the positions of Chairman, President, and Vice-President. In 2017, he served as Chair of the Advisory Committee. Henry’s commitment to Byrdcliffe and the Woodstock community has been further strengthened by becoming a full-time Woodstock resident after 25 years as a weekender. Henry has sat on the Woodstock Arts Board and the Artists’ Cemetery Boards. His passion for the region and the arts extends to his support of WAAM, Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Historical Society of Woodstock, and Maverick Concerts. Henry and his spouse Michael are the proud caretakers of a comprehensive Woodstock Art Collection, which includes many pieces by the early Byrdcliffe artist Zulma Steele.


  • Douglas C. James, President Emeritus
    Doug James, a life-long jazz drummer, owned Woodstock Recording Studio and was the host of WDST’s Sunday ‘Sounds of Jazz’ for nine years during the 1980s and 1990s. He was the head of a public relations office in New York in the 1960s and early 1970s. He renovated and dedicated the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts and the James Gallery in 1996, and was instrumental in forming the Byrdcliffe Permanent Collection. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Acquisition Committee of the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, and the Woodstock Memorial Society board. A Wisconsin native, he received a degree in American Studies from Princeton University. Doug has lived in Woodstock since 1969, and became a member of the Byrdcliffe Board in 1980. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to Byrdcliffe, Doug has been voted a permanent board member.


  • Garry Kvistad, Chairman Emeritus
    Garry Kvistad is the founder and CEO of Woodstock Percussion, Inc., makers and distributors of Woodstock Chimes® and musical instruments for children sold worldwide. As a professional musician, Garry has been performing and recording with the ensemble Steve Reich and Musicians since 1980. Garry won a Grammy award for the 1998 recording of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. He tours and records as a member of NEXUS, the internationally-renown, Canadian-based chamber music ensemble. Garry served as Chairman of the Byrdcliffe Board of Directors (board member for 20 years) where a building was named in his honor in 2008 and holds the title of Chairman Emeritus. Garry is also on the advisory board of the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice and is the creator/Executive Director of the Drum Boogie Festival, held in 2009 and 2011 in Kingston, and 2013, 2015 and 2017 in Woodstock.


  • Lester Walker, Director Emeritus, Historical Preservation
    Les Walker is an architect with an office in Woodstock, and is the author of eight books related to architecture, including Tiny Houses and American Shelter. He received a B.A. in Architecture from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.A. in Architecture from Yale University. He was an adjunct professor of Architecture at the City College of New York for 20 years. His primary interest in Byrdcliffe is the preservation of the historic Byrdcliffe Art Colony buildings. Les moved to Woodstock in 1970, and has served on the Byrdcliffe board for many years, first joining in 1983.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild
34 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY 12498 USA

Phone: 845.679.2079

Email: info@woodstockguild.org

HOURS OF OPERATION 

OFFICE HOURS:

The Administrative Office is open Monday through Friday, 10 am – 5:00 pm, or by appointment.

 

BYRDCLIFFE SHOP and KLEINERT/JAMES CENTER FOR THE ARTS HOURS:

Friday – Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00 pm

 

DIRECTIONS

View a map to the Byrdcliffe Administrative Office and the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts.

View a Map to the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony.