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Bethany Arts Com­mu­nity Caters to Artists

Bethany Arts Com­mu­nity Caters to Artists

First Pub­lished by W.B. King via The Hudson Independent June 2018

In the fall of 2015, David Lyons had a vision – a mission – to create an environment where various forms of art could be learned, produced, shared and celebrated. His goal came to fruition in January 2018 when the Bethany Arts Community (BAC) made its debut. “Because we only recently opened our doors, the people and artists who find us—it has been a very organic process,” said Lyons, a Sleepy Hollow resident and BAC’s founder, and chairman of the board.

“Be­cause we only re­cently opened our doors, the peo­ple and artists who find us—it has been a very or­ganic process,” said Lyons, a Sleepy Hol­low res­i­dent and BAC’s founder, chair­man of the board and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

Lyons, who wears many hats—from run­ning the coat check to wash­ing dishes—noted that artists of all ages and lev­els of ex­pe­ri­ence are “wel­come to ex­plore and cre­ate art that the com­mu­nity can ex­pe­ri­ence and be en­gaged in.” BAC, he added, was de­signed “to in­spire shar­ing, con­nec­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion” that ben­e­fits the lo­cal com­mu­nity and be­yond.


Sit­u­ated on 25 acres in Os­sin­ing, the not-for-profit BAC’s cam­pus con­sists of one build­ing that en­com­passes 44,000 square feet. Orig­i­nally owned by the Mary­knoll For­eign Mis­sion Sis­ters of St. Do­minic, who built the orig­i­nal con­vent struc­ture (Bethany Rest House) in 1925, a three-story dor­mi­tory, din­ing wing and chapel were added in 1951.

“Mary­knoll had two cam­puses in Os­sin­ing, and this was the much smaller of the two—not the more fa­mous one with the Asian ar­chi­tec­ture,” said Lyons, who noted that the Mary­knoll Fa­thers and Broth­ers took over the prop­erty in 1958. By 1979, the build­ing was des­ig­nated for the lay mis­sion­ary pro­gram.

Bill T. Jones at Bethany Arts

The for­mer chapel now serves as a 99-seat per­for­mance space. BAC has 27 in­di­vid­ual art stu­dios and can ac­com­mo­date up to 27 peo­ple overnight. Along with teach­ing spaces, work­shops and gal­leries, there is a com­mer­cial kitchen and cafe­te­ria as well as a 1,560-square-foot re­hearsal and per­for­mance space with a sprung floor. Ad­di­tion­ally, the grounds, which in­clude a fruit or­chard and ex­pan­sive lawns, are home to a grow­ing sculp­ture gar­den.

“Bethany is a spe­cial place and a very much needed as­set to the com­mu­nity as a whole. We have the abil­ity to pro­vide so much to artists of all lev­els and in all dis­ci­plines,” said Tar­ry­town res­i­dent Lau­rie Bir­rit­tella, a fi­nan­cial ex­ec­u­tive who is on BAC’s board and serves as its trea­surer.

“Bethany has the feel of a real re­treat, a place to get away from the nor­mal day-to-day bus­tle of life and ex­pe­ri­ence a peace­ful set­ting, which helps in­spire those who come to learn and cre­ate art,” added Bir­rit­tella.

Pro­grams in June and July in­clude a per­for­mance of The Sting”and the Sum­mer Sol­stice Con­cert will be per­formed by the Cas­satt String Quar­tet that will de­light the au­di­ence with ren­di­tions of Borodin String Quar­tet No. 2 in D ma­jor and Haydn String Quar­tet Op 76 No 4 Sun­rise.

“I am ex­cited about every­thing we are do­ing, but very much look­ing for­ward to the very first of our sum­mer camp pro­grams and see­ing the space filled with the youngest of artists,” said Bir­rit­tella.

BAC, she ex­plained, will fea­ture two sum­mer camp pro­grams: The­ater O’s Camp of Witch­craft and Wiz­ardry that will run three one-week ses­sions in July for ages eight and older and Scrib­ble Art Work­shop out of Dobbs Ferry, which will run three one-week ses­sions in Au­gust for ages kinder­garten to fifth grade.

“Bethany ar­riv­ing in Os­sin­ing is a game-changer for an al­ready artis­tic com­mu­nity. Not only will Bethany serve as in­spi­ra­tion, but also as an art mak­ing home to so many artists at so many points in their artis­tic lives,” noted The­ater O’s Artis­tic Di­rec­tor Jes­sica Irons. “I can’t wait to see the con­ver­sa­tions, col­lab­o­ra­tions and artis­tic growth that Bethany will be home to.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Bethany Arts Com­mu­nity and up­com­ing pro­grams and events, visit www.bethanyarts.org/calendar

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