April is here and, along with spring and showers, it brings with it the annual opening of the Storm King Art Center. So if you're looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, try celebrating the warmer weather with a day trip out to this famous sculpture park, located in the Hudson Valley about an hour from NYC.
The Storm King Art Center is an outdoor sculpture museum encompassing 500 acres of grassy lawns, fields, and woodlands in Mountainville, NY. Incorporating huge sculptures by 20th century and contemporary artists into a natural setting, the museum explores the relationship between art and nature in its ever-changing environment. With pieces nestled into the flow of the hills, you can ramble the grounds and experience the impressive collection of large-scale works at your own pace and in a way that traditional museums cannot provide. You might even see a deer or two on your way.
The park showcases American and European sculptors, with a focus on abstract welded steel pieces, and includes many works by David Smith, Alexander Calder, and Mark di Suvero. More recently, Maya Lin made news with her 2008 piece Storm King Wavefield, blurring the relationship between art and nature even further. She created the sculpture from the center's own landscape, turning what was once a gravel pit into a series of rolling grassy hills made to look like waves on the ocean.
Free docent walking tours are given daily, and there are continuously running tram tours that not only give a good overview of the expansive grounds, but also provide transportation between the sculpture areas. Audio tours are available for a small fee.
The center is an ideal location for a picnic, but also houses Woody's Café, which serves light lunches, snacks, and beverages on the weekends.
Storm King is easily accessible by car, and Short Line Buses run day trips out of Port Authority Wednesdays through Sundays. A bus ticket costs $44 ($22 for children ages 5-11) and includes admission.
The museum officially reopens for the season on April 1st, kicking off their 50th Anniversary year. It is open on both Memorial and Labor Days and stays open late until 8:00 pm on Saturdays all summer. Check out the calendar for a list of special events, such as family programs, musical performances, and poetry readings.
And no matter how many times you visit, this outdoor museum will always provide a unique experience. It has the advantage of constant change—in the time of day and light quality, the time of year and colors of the seasons, and the weather—and is well worth the trip no matter the conditions. It is a place to rejuvenate both the spirit and the mind. Just don't forget your walking shoes.