134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY 10536
“No one can whistle a symphony,” the saying goes. “It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” And to achieve the crucial goal of attracting a greater number of people to Katonah’s renowned cultural offerings it requires nothing less than a group effort by a dream team. Cultural Katonah, the newly-formed partnership of Jay Street sites the Katonah Museum of Art, John Jay Homestead and Caramoor, is embracing its mission as an alliance with a commitment to collaborations through themed events, lectures and family programming. The goal is to promote cultural tourism along Katonah’s “Museum Mile” not only among local communities but farther afield to Connecticut, Long Island and Manhattan.
Each institution will complement Cultural Katonah’s strategic vision as a platform for art, music and historical scholarship that moves across all disciplines both indoors and on their magnificent grounds. Says John Jay Homestead Executive Director Wendy Ross, “The partnership plays to the strengths of each organization. Rather than viewing ourselves as individual ponds, we can, on occasion, be part of a big stream that flows through Katonah with a strong current of complementary activities.”
Every season, each of the three cultural institutions will present a program on a shared theme. First up, in March 2014, Cultural Katonah presents American Icons, a lecture series that celebrates outstanding figures that made immeasurable contributions to American history, visual art and music. On Tuesday, March 11, 7:00 pm at John Jay Homestead Philip Kunhardt will discuss young Abraham Lincoln in “What Makes a Transformative Life?” On Wednesday, April 2, 7:00 pm at the Katonah Museum of Art, new KMA Executive Director Darsie Alexander will present “Jasper Johns, In Time with Merce Cunningham,” about a fascinating chapter when the artist was artistic director of the legendary dance company. Finally, on Tuesday, May 13, 7:00 pm in the Caramoor Music Room, Richard Kogan, MD, will deliver “The Mind and Music of George Gershwin,” an exploration of the psychological factors and psychiatric illnesses that influenced the creative output of the composer. The program will include short performances of Gershwin’s music. Comments KMA Interim Executive Director Belinda Roth, “Through joint programs like the American Icon series, Cultural Katonah will help expand each organization’s audience. A visitor who may have been first drawn to art will discover that within a mile there’s outstanding music and American history. It’s a natural partnership that will grow in exciting and unexpected ways.”
There was something of a trial run of Cultural Katonah in last November’s “Familiar Faces: A Portrait Tour of Katonah’s Cultural Gems.” Inspired by the KMA’s fall exhibition “Eye to I…3,000 Years of Portraits,” the community was invited to join an organized caravan to all three organizations to see portrait masterpieces and enjoy lunch in Caramoor’s Summer dining room. Recalls Wendy Ross, “Since the Homestead has its own art treasures, including John Singer Sargent and Gilbert Stuart portraits and a Houdon bust, it was only natural we’d participate. We knew instantly working together was a good idea, because “Familiar Faces” sold out immediately.”
As cultural institutions and historic sites vie for the attention of increasingly busy, media-saturated individuals, Cultural Katonah has the advantage of cross-promotion, multiple points of view and triple-strength teamwork. “Creativity and inspiration don’t happen in a vacuum, but are the result of incredible synergy among people, ideas and place,” says Caramoor’s Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Haydon. “We’re also so very lucky to be in such a vibrant community. Cultural Katonah is the start of a broader conversation with an audience that’s truly thirsty for inspiring experiences.”
For tickets, please call the appropriate institution where the program will take place. KMA (914.232.9555), Friends of John Jay Homestead (914.232.8119), and Caramoor 914.232.1252). Ticket Prices: $20 members of KMA, Friends of John Jay Homestead, and Caramoor; $25 non-members; Free for students (limited availability).