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Breaking New Ground at 20: A Vibrant Arts Center in Upstate New York – The Gentleman Report – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Breaking New Ground at 20: A Vibrant Arts Center in Upstate New York – The Gentleman Report


In a charming village in the Hudson Valley, a gathering of young individuals recently came together to curate a one-of-a-kind bonfire experience. The scene was perfectly set for the ultimate performance of “Illinois,” a dance-theater masterpiece inspired by Sufjan Stevens’s album. Directed by Justin Peck, this show attracted a packed audience who eagerly convened at Bard College’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts to witness this extraordinary spectacle.

Over the past two decades, the Fisher Center has emerged as a central hub for groundbreaking and boundary-pushing interdisciplinary productions. It has served as the breeding ground for remarkable endeavors such as Daniel Fish’s reimagined rendition of “Oklahoma!” and Pam Tanowitz’s critically acclaimed “Four Quartets,” both revered for their unparalleled originality and artistic expression.

While numerous performing arts institutions are facing challenges during these uncertain times, the Fisher Center continues to forge ahead with unwavering determination. Ambitious plans are already in motion to construct a state-of-the-art studio building worth $42 million, meticulously designed by the talented Maya Lin. Moreover, the center has been bestowed with a generous $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, dedicated to supporting the endeavors of Tania El Khoury, an artist-in-residence and the visionary director of the recently established Center for Human Rights and the Arts.

In a picturesque hamlet in the Hudson Valley, a group of young people recently gathered to create a unique campfire experience. The stage was set for the final performance of “Illinois,” a dance-theater piece based on Sufjan Stevens’s album. The performance, directed by Justin Peck, drew a sold-out crowd who came to commune at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.

For the past 20 years, the Fisher Center has been a hub for uncompromising and innovative interdisciplinary productions. It has given rise to notable projects like Daniel Fish’s reimagined “Oklahoma!” and Pam Tanowitz’s “Four Quartets,” both highly acclaimed for their originality and artistic expression.

While many performing arts institutions are struggling in these uncertain times, the Fisher Center is forging ahead. Plans are underway to construct a $42 million studio building designed by Maya Lin. The center has also received a generous $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to support the work of Tania El Khoury, an artist in residence and the director of the newly established Center for Human Rights and the Arts.

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