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Thomas Cole Site Announces "Spring Lights"

Written By Editor on 3/17/21 | 3/17/21

Thomas Cole National Historic Site Announces “Spring Lights,” A New Outdoor Nighttime Walk-Through Public Program in Catskill, New York, Inspired by the Artist Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and His Love of Nature.


The New Experience Includes a Building-Wide Projection by Contemporary Artist Brian Kenny and Immersive Light & Sound Environments Designed by Clerestory Light, a leading “Son et Lumière” Creative Agency. The Experience Features Audio of Thomas Cole’s Writing, Brought to Life by the Film Actor Jamie Bell.


Thanks to Underwriter Support, the Ticketed Experience Includes Free Community Fridays Starting Friday, April 16.


Catskill, NY – Wednesday, March 17 – The Thomas Cole National Historic Site announced today a new outdoor nighttime walk-through public program called “Spring Lights,” inspired by the artist Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and his love of nature. Spring Lights will take place in the gardens and grounds of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site after nightfall. The ticketed experience will be offered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night starting on Friday, April 16.


Visitors with timed tickets will walk through a one-way looping path to encounter a building-wide projection by the contemporary artist Brian Kenny and immersive light and sound environments designed by Clerestory Light, a leading “son et lumière” creative agency. The experience features audio of Thomas Cole’s written words, brought to life by the film actor Jamie Bell, with special thanks to Brian Swardstrom. Spring Lights is made possible by a generous grant from The Bay & Paul Foundations in support of using light to inspire new experiences.


Spring Lights will be open by advance reservation at timed intervals every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from Friday, April 16 to Sunday, May 9. Advance reservations are required. Reservations are available online at Tickets are $20 General Admission, $17 Members, $5 Teens ages 13 to 19 and FREE for kids age 12 & under. Reservations are available while supplies last. Capacity is limited. Spring Lights will adhere to all New York State safety guidelines.


Thanks to generous Underwriter support, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site is offering the following benefits to the local community.


• FREE Community Fridays: Free admission every Friday for families with K-12 students in the Greene and Columbia County public schools or Catskill Library card holders. Advance reservations are required.

• FREE admission for all kids ages 12 & under

• Discounted $5 admission for all teenagers age 13 to 19

• Free luminary lanterns to all kids age 12 & under


Advance reservations are required for all types of tickets, including kids, teens, adults, paid and free. Online reservations are available via


Underwriter support is provided by Community Underwriter Lisa Fox Martin; Elementary Students Underwriters Nina Matis & Alan Gosule and Anne Miller & Stuart Breslow; High School Students Underwriter Gary DiMauro Real Estate Inc.; Sustainability Underwriters Betsy & Al Scott, Warner Shook & Frank Swim and Maynard & Kay Toll; Luminary Underwriters Susan Ball & John Brigham, Sara & Tom de Swardt, Foreland Catskill and Alison Lankenau; and Friend Underwriters 335 Main Street LLC, Jimmy & Micaela Bulich, Ginnie Gardiner, Linda & Tom Gentalen, Guy Griggs & Greg Ventra, Robert Palmer, Susan H. Perkins, Pro Printers, Nancey Rosensweig & Dan Arshack, Edward Rothfarb & Thomas McManus, Stephen Shadley and Hudson Talbott & Jay Lesenger.


Underwriters are invited to an Underwriter’s Opening night on Saturday, April 10. Underwriter reservations are still available. Capacity is limited. Opening Night will include sweet & savory small bites catered by The Athens Rooster. Additional information can be found at


The creative team behind Spring Lights is:


Chris Bocchiaro, Creative Director & Lighting Designer, Clerestory Lights

Chris is a lighting designer with a passion for movement theatre and the synthesis of old and new technologies. Chris' work includes projects with Madison Square Garden, New York Life and New York Harbor Lights.


Brian Kenny, Artist

Brian is a multidisciplinary artist exhibited in the US, Canada, Russia, Israel and across Europe. Using an array of mediums including drawing, painting, textile, video and performance, his artwork is bright and vividly expressionistic. Brian’s work includes collaborations with Christian Lacroix, Paris, and The Highline Park, NYC.


Greg Hanson, Sound Designer & Composer, Clerestory Lights

Greg is a sound designer, audio systems designer, audio engineer, and musician. He serves as the Head of Audio and in-house Sound Designer at the McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, in NYC.  


Megan Kinneen, Associate Creative Director & Scenic Designer, Clerestory Lights

Megan’s work draws from her training in theater design, architecture and illustration. She works in project management for historic preservation by day. Megan's work includes projects with Castle Hill on the Crane Estate.


“We cannot wait to welcome the community safely to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site gardens and grounds for a totally new experience after nightfall,” said Betsy Jacks, Executive Director of the Thomas Cole Historic Site. “We hope that ‘Spring Lights’ will push the bounds of what a historic house museum can be, and what this organization can offer to the local community that we serve.”


“We are thrilled to be working with this amazing team of leading creatives at Clerestory Lights and the contemporary artist Brian Kenny. None of this would have been possible without the generous support and encouragement of The Bay & Paul Foundations that gave us the freedom to explore using light to inspire new experiences. We are so grateful to our Spring Lights Underwriters for making this event free and accessible to local community members.”


ONGOING EXHIBITION at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site

+ The Pollinator Pavilion: A walk-in public artwork created by Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood offers visitors an opportunity to encounter local pollinators. The outdoor sculpture is free and open daily year-round from dawn to dusk.


THE THOMAS COLE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE is an international destination presenting the original home and studios of Thomas Cole (1801-1848), founder of the Hudson River School of painting, the nation’s first major art movement. Located on six acres in the Hudson Valley, the site includes the 1815 Main House; Cole’s 1839 Old Studio; the reconstructed 1846 New Studio building; and panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains. It is a National Historic Landmark and an affiliated area of the National Park System. The Thomas Cole National Historic Site operates as a forward-looking non-profit organization. It is responsible for raising over 90% of its annual operating budget to supplement ongoing government support facilitated through the National Park Service.


Thomas Cole Site’s activities include guided and self-guided tours, special exhibitions of both 19th-century and contemporary art, print publications, extensive online programs, activities for school groups, free community events, lectures, and innovative public programs such as the Hudson River School Art Trail—a map and website that enable the public to visit the places that Cole and others painted. The goal of all programs at the Thomas Cole Site is to enable visitors to find meaning and inspiration in Thomas Cole’s life and work. The themes that Cole explored in his art and writings—such as landscape preservation, the need for public art museums, and our conception of nature as a restorative power—are historic and timely, providing the opportunity to connect to audiences with insights that are highly relevant to their own lives.

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