The Rural We: Gary Schiro
Gary Schiro is a tried-and-true east coaster. Originally from Niagara Falls, he’s also lived in NYC, Dutchess County and currently makes his home in Connecticut. A theater major in college, he is the executive director at Hudson Opera House, New York State’s oldest surviving theater. He had an idea that big things would be happening in the Hudson area and with his work at the opera house he would happily be in the middle of it all.
I’m the executive director of the Hudson Opera House, a multi-arts center in Hudson. Until my arrival 16 years ago, the organization was primarily run by volunteers. At the time the blocks around and below the opera house were primarily abandoned and residents were living on public assistance. The blocks above were shop owners, long-time locals and newer weekend residents. I thought if this gathering place located between them could be a place for bringing the community together that would be very exciting. And I was right, it has been. We have a really interesting summer coming up with photographic and neon work exhibitions plus concerts and lots of workshops.
My husband, Robert Burns, and I bought a house in Dutchess County in 1996. We were commuting to New York City when a colleague of mine at the New York State Council on the Arts had heard that Hudson Opera House was looking for its first executive director. I threw my hat into the ring and never looked back. Robert worked for many years at Olana but now is the Director of the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut. We now make our home in Goshen and commute in opposite directions.
When we first moved to the Hudson Valley it seemed like a great hidden gem; there was so much here — scenic beauty and great people. And amazing farms and food that seem to get better every year! Some of my favorite food spots include Olde Hudson for cheese, lunch at Grazin’ or Relish and Cafe Le Perche for their addictive baked goods. And I would move to Germantown just to be closer to Otto’s Market, THE most divine small market that has everything you need.
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