A New Start for Unison Arts

The Unison Arts Center plans to move from its historic location on Mountain Rest Road to an office in the Village of New Paltz.

According to the Unison Art Center’s website, the center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The organization is dedicated to enriching the community and life in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley by providing high quality arts, performances, gallery shows, workshops and educational experiences.

The Unison Arts Center was originally “Friends of the Mountain” started by a group of local residents who included Stuart  and Helene Bigley. In 1975 it was incorporated as Unison Learning Community Inc.

“Friends of the Mountain” transitioned from its original role as a pre-school, it began its transition to the Unison Arts Center, a place dedicated to performance.

Also stated on the website, the center has won various awards for their performances and the space the center offers. Such awards include “Performers Favorite” for their dedication to music and theater.

In addition, in 2006 and 2007, Unison was a recipient of a special fund under the New York State Music Fund series. This is a two year program that allowed Unison to present various jazz artists and hosted one of the last performances given by Odetta.

“And audiences appreciate this spotlight on the artists as well. Unison was voted ‘Best Performance Space’ by Chronogram Magazine readers,” said the Unison website.

Tom Nolan, the president of the board at the Unison Arts Center, said the center is being relocated for economic reasons.

In order to provide a smooth transition for members and the community, Nolan said the center will keep their performance venues local.

In accordance, art appreciators, union members and non-members of the community can become members, attend performances and volunteer to work shows to support the Unison and its cause during and after the move to its new location in the village.

Nolan described his feelings about the move as “cautiously positive.”

“It is positive because it will revitalize the organization and make it more available to the people of New Paltz,” Nolan said.

In addition, Nolan hopes this move will attract a broader audience to Unison that includes students. Some performances will take place on campus.

“Local art organizations historically have a positive effect on the communities they serve” Nolan said. “By locating Unison within the village, it becomes an integral part of the community rather than a place on the mountain that few people know about.”

The exact address of the new location is not yet confirmed, but a spring schedule is in the works.

Students and the Hudson Valley can look forward to the growth of Unison as an organization as they begin a new journey in the Village of New Paltz.