Our Mission & History
Hudson Hall’s mission is to inspire and promote the arts and to play a pivotal role in the cultural and economic advancement of the city and the region.
Hudson Hall fulfills its promise to the community by:
- Offering a year-round schedule of visual arts, performing arts and cultural and educational programs to serve the community
- Serving as an important civic partner in the continued revitalization of downtown Hudson
- Preserving and maintaining its historic building while adapting it to modern needs
Hudson Hall is located in a historic and landmarked building housing New York State’s oldest surviving theater – a place where Frederic Church and Sanford Gifford showed paintings, Bret Harte read poems, “Blind Tom” Wiggins packed the house with his virtuosity on the piano, Henry Ward Beecher presented a rousing abolitionist lecture, Susan B. Anthony visited thrice, and Teddy Roosevelt regaled a crowd.
After being abandoned for decades, local citizens came together in 1992 to save the building and establish a cultural center founded on a social commitment to serve its diverse community. Step by step, they worked to rehabilitate the building, reopening the first ground floor rooms in 1998, replacing the roof and restoring the cornice, and stabilizing the building.
In 2017, and with tremendous support from the community, Hudson Hall completed a $9.5 million restoration of its magnificent performance hall to serve the City of Hudson and the region, support a thriving creative economy and act as a catalyst for visitors to yield a positive impact on restaurants, shops, businesses, and other destination points in the area.
Unique in its ability to bridge the divide between Hudson’s most vulnerable populations, more affluent residents and second home-owners, and the flourishing arts community, Hudson Hall reflects and responds to the economic and cultural needs of its multi-racial, socio-economically diverse community.
Hudson Hall’s programs are celebrated for having an outsized impact on our community. In 2019 alone, through extensive programming encompassing live performance, art exhibitions, city-wide festivals, free community events, and workshops, Hudson Hall served an audience of 50,000 and employed over 400 artists, skilled technicians and local youth from throughout our rural community.
In 2020, when the coronavirus crisis shut the city down, Hudson Hall stepped up to support the community through its Shared Streets initiative to help local businesses safely reopen and stay economically viable. Hudson Hall provided PPE at cost for our community partners and businesses throughout Columbia County. It launched a summer workforce development program that employed and engaged local teens and young adults during a stressful and anxiety-filled period of time.
Our Shared Future
At Hudson Hall, we believe that together – with each and every one of our community members – we are stronger. With the leadership and support of our Board, staff, funders, and public representatives we can build a future that remains responsive to the need for social and racial justice in a continually changing city, so that we are able to strengthen our role as a cultural center and civic partner that reflects and binds the community we serve.
To accomplish this vision, we are:
- Working closely with our diverse Board of Directors, a group of dedicated individuals who represent the intersection of arts, culture, business, education, and philanthropy that is crucial to our success;
- Empowering our senior leadership and staff to be as bold and inventive in addressing new challenges while keeping the spirit of Hudson Hall at the forefront of all initiatives;
- Engaging residents and visitors with Hudson Hall’s live arts and community arts programs as a cultural center and community destination where everyone feels welcome and one that constituents hold dear.
Together, WITH YOU, we will realize the vision for a stronger Hudson Hall, now and into the future.
Hudson Hall is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization incorporated in 1993.