The Rural We: Kari Feuer
Artist and longtime Red Hook resident Kari Feuer started The Red Hook Community Arts Network to unite the artists of her community and establish her town as an art destination. It’s had another benefit, too: Surrounding herself with other artists has had a positive effect on her own work.
My husband and I moved from Park Slope to our country house in New Lebanon in 1987 because we just really wanted air we could breathe. I had began to really get into painting landscapes, so moving to the country went hand-in-hand. We then relocated to Red Hook 20 years ago. Art used to just be a hobby, it was nourishment. I had a design business but still needed more of a creative outlet. I started showing regularly when I moved here but for the past seven years I have focused on it full time. I paint landscapes, like fields and mountains and move into more abstract form. We have a great deal of natural beauty here, which is one of the things that pulled me out of the city. I am particularly inspired by the Hudson River, it’s the original landscape painting of the country.
I am the head of the Red Hook Community Arts Network, which I helped found three years ago. We have a world-class community of artists here yet there was this feeling that people did not really understand what was happening in Red Hook. And it’s not just artists, we have writers and designers. We wanted to establish Red Hook as an artist destination, foster a creative identity and nurture the arts by bringing people together. Artists always complain about the isolation. We wanted to get them out of their studios. We have a gallery, Red Hook CAN Gallery & Artists Collective that has been very well received. Hundreds of people have shown there. I have a public studio at the gallery and we rent out space to artists. I always have my work on display and teach and do my own work there. It’s so important to get yourself and your work out there. Having that stimulation has brought me into new areas of my work, which is really valuable.
We enjoy the music program all year long at Bard but they have SummerScape coming up soon and they bring in amazing artists; it’s very festive. Many artists stay here after they graduate from Bard. I think it’s the people who chose to move here that make the area so special. They made a positive decision to be here and settle here, and they make it even more wonderful.
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