History: Getting to Know the Art School of Columbia County

It’s hard not to notice the Art School’s turquoise building when you drive down Harlemville Road or Route 21C and arrive at its location at the intersection of these quiet, but well traveled roads. The building dates back to 1842, when it was a one-room schoolhouse serving the residents and young people of this area. Learn more about the history of the Schoolhouse at this link. The Schoolhouse was also a private home, a café, and then a bookstore…….Until it became the home of the Art School of Columbia County with its establishment in 2012 and it went on to become a designated, non-profit 501(C)3 organization.

Inside, the Art School’s intentionally placed, large windows allow for light filled studio spaces. The building also houses a year round gallery space that features members’ artwork, individual artists’ artwork, faculty artwork, juried shows, demonstrations and opening receptions with community wide appeal and attendance.

Outside, the School property covers an acre of varied topography. On the grounds are two majestic oak trees, as well as some distinctive rock features and landscaped gardens. An historic barn graces the back of the property. The grounds provide natural beauty and inspiration for the School’s members, students, faculty, and community while during seasonal months, students work en plein air.

Highlights from the Art School’s history include:


Transformation of the Old Schoolhouse into a 501(c)3 incorporated Art School.

Establishment of a Board of Directors and recruitment of skilled faculty.

First on-site classes are held in July, 2013.

Hiring of an Executive Director.

Initiation of a semi-annual student/faculty art shows in the fall.

Launch of the School’s free outreach programming, “Art in the Library: a Pop-Up Program” in 2015. The program is for students grades K-12 in Columbia County and beyond.

Holding of the first annual Frame, Canvas & Art Supplies Fundraiser to bring up-cycled, affordable art supplies to the community.

Expansion of the School’s mission and vision to offer more educational and interactive art exhibits, developing into a year-round exhibition program at the School, and more school-based K-12 programs in the Chatham, Kinderhook, and Hudson School Districts

Launch of the free “Art & Memories” programs for seniors in need, and those with Alzheimer’s and cognitive issues.

2017 -2020:

Growth in all on-site and outreach programming continues, reaching over 1300 community members with free and affordable art programming, as well as quality classroom instruction.

Expansion of free community art outreach at festivals in Hudson, Chatham, and Austerlitz.

Initiation of the School’s Capital Campaign in 2018 to secure the building as a permanent home for the Art School. This was achieved in 2019.

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, closing of indoor instruction at the School and cessation of the Art on Wheels programming that was in the works. Transition to plein air instruction with strict safety guidelines in the summer and into the fall.

“Creating Through COVID” exhibition featuring works by students, members, and staff goes up in December, transitioning to presentation online.


New ASCC Director was hired in July, 2021

The creation of on site, year round Young at Art programming.


Creation of The Art of Summer Youth Program.

Collaborations with area organizations continue to grow.

The Art School is grateful for the generous support through the years of its many donors and students. The School has also received grants from the following:

The Bank of Greene County Charitable Foundation (multiple awards)

Chatham Education Foundation of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (multiple awards)

The City Child Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

Decentralization Program of the NYS Council on the Arts, administered in Columbia County by the Greene County Council on the Arts through the Community Arts Grants Fund (multiple awards)

First Niagara Bank

Fund for Columbia County of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (multiple awards)

The Kinderhook Arts & Humanities Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (multiple awards)

Kinderhook Bank Charitable Foundation (multiple awards)

MHLS Connecting, Collaborating and Contributing Mini-Grant supported by funds from the New York State Library’s Family Literacy Library Services

Humanities New York (National Endowment for the Humanities) Vision and Action Grants, plus hosting art-and-discussion Community Conversation events (multiple awards)

New Lebanon Arts & Humanities Grant of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

NYSEG and RG&E Small Business Energy Efficiency Program

Stewart’s Holiday Match Program Grant (multiple awards)

Taconic Hills Arts & Humanities Grant of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA)

The Art School is a proud member of

New York Council of Non-Profits (NYCON)

CREATE (Council for Resources to Enrich the Arts, Technology, and Education) based in Greene County

Subscribe to the Art School of Columbia County’s mailing list and stay up-to-date with news about art classes, workshops, free demonstrations, gallery opening and receptions and events. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to seeing you.

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