Fringe fascinations in downtown Poughkeepsie

The exhibits and events at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, located on Main Street in Poughkeepsie, are helping to revitalize the city’s historic downtown. This month it is featuring “Beyond the Fringe,” a show of textiles ranging from embroidery to rug-weaving that celebrates the works for their artistic qualities, as well as delineating their important role in the economy of indigenous communities. A dozen artisan groups are represented, and fair-trade items will be for sale. The show also features two demonstrations, tapestry weaving by Mary Flad and the making of a soft sculpture by Diana Salsberg.

The show is complemented by a series of free talks every Tuesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m., which will be accompanied by cups of tea and are designed as “an open-door conversation” about the traditions and techniques of the fiber arts, from how they were made and by whom to the functions and rituals that were assigned to them. On January 10, Jackie Abrams, a basketmaker from Brattleboro, Vermont, will present an overview of contemporary baskets from around the world and discuss basketmaking techniques. On January 17, Dr. Lucy Johnson, professor of Anthropology at Vassar College, will present “Textiles and Culture,” focusing on the role that textiles play in various cultural expressions. It will be followed on January 24 by “Embroidered Samplers from the Nine Partners Boarding School,” a talk about 19th-century samplers made at a boarding school in Dutchess County by historian and archivist Kathy Moyer. On January 31, the Center is hosting a closing reception for the textiles exhibition, which will feature hot tea and a lecture.

If you’re visiting Poughkeepsie before January 11, stop by the Adriance Library, located at 93 Market Street, for the show of 35 watercolors by local artist Diane-Ellen McCarron in the rotunda.

The Mid-Hudson Heritage Center is also the headquarters for Hudson River Housing’s Middle Main Revitalization (MMR) program, which seeks to improve the neighborhood by organizing community meetings and events, subsidizing property-owners for building upgrades and instilling a sense of pride in residents. Celebrating the various ethnicities within the downtown area and the cultural contributions of that population, past and present, is another facet of MMR’s activities.

Located at 317 Main Street, the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center is open from 12 noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Wednesday. For more information call (845) 214-1113 or (845) 485-6911.


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