Opus 40 Gears Up for a New ED & A Fresh Season | Visual Art | Hudson Valley

Things are afoot at Opus 40. On March 31, the sculpture park and museum in Saugerties will host a Spring Celebration featuring an egg hunt and baby animal corner, at what Architectural Digest has called “one of the largest and most beguiling works of art on the entire continent.” And by the end of April, the nonprofit responsible for maintaining the 63-acre property and its crown jewel—the 6.5-acre stonework masterpiece hand-laid over 37 years by the late Harvey Fite—will welcome a new executive director.

“The board received some excellent applications for my replacement and is currently reviewing them,” said current ED Caroline Crumpacker in a March 18 email, adding that she expected the interview process to begin soon. “The goal is for me to overlap with the next ED for a couple of weeks before I leave. And I plan to be present in a few different ways after that, including as an audience member for the amazing programs that Mike (Amari) has put together for this season.”

Crumpacker became the first official ED of the organization in 2018. Fite’s stepson Tad Richards, who’d been managing the nonprofit Opus 40 Inc. since his mother’s passing in 1987, had just turned over the reins of the organization to Alan Seigel, onetime head of the Thompson Family Foundation, whose intention was to build out the organization and facilitate the purchase of the residence, Fite House, which was still held by the family.

Unfortunately, Seigel died in 2019, leaving much unresolved, and there followed considerable wrangling over how best to proceed. For a time, Richards’s grandson attempted to operate the residence as a rental, campground, and party space, running so far afoul of the nonprofit that the kerfuffle caught the attention of the New York Times. But finally, with help from the Thompson Foundation, the state assembly, Bard College, and the town of Saugerties, Opus 40 was able to purchase the house in February of 2023, unifying the site once more. Renovations are expected to take up to five years, after which the house will be integrated into the public site as a visitors’ center, performance space, and archive.

Visitors will be welcomed from this weekend on through the season to marvel at what a genius did with a huge pile of bluestone. “We have events every weekend starting in May,” says program manager Amari. “Something that has become a real staple is Sun Ra Arkestra, and we have two nights this year July 5 and 6. We have a Sunday afternoon concert series that features up and coming acts, which is a great way to explore the site and museum, and catch a concert. We host Nature Walks—mushroom foraging with Chicory Naturalist is a popular one—workshops, and weekly yoga and qigong classes.”

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