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New InterArts Center in Patterson Promotes the Arts as Therapy

Hudson Valley InterArts Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vicki Sylvester, center, credits the assistance of Eric Archer and Taylor Martin in turning their dream into a vibrant arts center. Photos by Rob Sample

By Rob Sample

A sleek new facility in Patterson that will provide an expansive space for people of all ability levels to learn and engage in the creative arts made its debut May. 10.

Hudson Valley InterArts is a 15,000-square-foot facility that sprawls across three floors, although the organization plans to occupy an additional 12,000 square feet of space in the existing building at 40 Jon Barrett Road. The newly remodeled and repurposed space encompasses ceramics and painting workspaces, a sound studio, dedicated spaces for movement and performing, as well as other arts areas and a gallery.

The grand opening marked the culmination of an ambitious remodeling project, turning what had once been an office building into Hudson Valley InterArts. It was the brainchild of Dr. Vicki Sylvester, chief executive officer, and Bhakar Singh, chief strategy officer, both of Community Based Services, Inc., of North Salem – a nonprofit organization that chiefly serves people with disabilities.

“About two and a half years ago we started a new company, Hudson Valley InterArts, and you’re here in the building right now,” said Sylvester. “When we first came here, this was a dump. But we had a vision – the idea that, boy, this place could really be turned into something great. And as you see, it really is something.”

Congressman Mike Lawler, R-Rockland County, noted that Hudson Valley InterArts provides a vital service to the community by giving people of all abilities an outlet to explore and create.

“First of all, it’s fantastic to see the art displayed here,” he said. “Art is something that brings us all together as a community. This is a fantastic program and one I’m happy to be here in support of today. As a society, we have an obligation to provide for and take care of our most vulnerable citizens. Having a community-based program like this is critical. Thank you for the work that you do, that your team does, and thanks to all the volunteers and families, as well.”

In the weeks before the ribbon-cutting, the center was already hosting more than 200 people each week for classes taught by about 20 professional artists, musicians, dancers, yoga practitioners and other specialists. Sylvester has tentative plans to add culinary arts to that mix.

The mission of CBS is to provide people with disabilities with the best possible quality of life, through residential and community-based opportunities, including employment and involvement in the arts. Hudson Valley InterArts is thus an important addition to its array of services. It will serve people in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and Orange counties, as well as the capital region.

Sylvester’s vision has always been to open the doors of Hudson Valley InterArts to people of all abilities, including both novices and seasoned artists. In particular, it aims to help individuals who have suffered from the isolation and psychological distress exacerbated by the COVID shutdowns of 2020-21.

“Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has stated that one in four Americans suffers from isolation from others,” said Sylvester. “Much of that already existed before the pandemic, but the pandemic worsened it. He put out a call to action by community organizations such as ours to reach out to these people. Here, they can come and interact with others and learn something new. We’re all about building connections and healing.”

Sylvester said the arts have a proven “stressbusting” impact on people. “When your hands are up to your elbows in clay, it’s hard not to loosen up a bit,” she said.

During the grand opening, ceramics instructor Miranda Fergus was hard at work on a clay vase. Fergus teaches a few classes each week at Hudson Valley InterArts, in addition to her daily job as a teacher at a private school for students with special needs in Stamford, Conn.

“When I first came here, the building was completely gutted and we had to walk across boards to get to our workspaces,” she said. “It became more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.”

Sylvester gave a special nod to Creative Director Eric Archer and Program Director Taylor Martiz, who helped build the arts expertise that distinguishes Hudson Valley InterArts.

“We don’t know anything about art – they do,” said Sylvester. “Eric and Taylor put everything together and recruited artists to come here on a weekly basis to run classes. Thanks to them, this center is what you see today.”

“Vicki’s the first to tell you she’s ‘not an artist,’ but her creativity and vision are what made it happen here,” said Archer, whose artistic wood carvings adorn walls throughout the center. “It’s been amazing to watch this all take shape – giving people an opportunity they might never have had.”

CBS client Daniella C. summed up just why Hudson Valley InterArts is a vital addition to the communities it serves.

“My sister is very artistic, and I feel inspired by her,” she said. “I’ve been taking art classes for over a year, and that makes me very happy. I really love all the teachers here and most of all, I feel very lucky to have the center.”


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