If there is something you do that you would like to share with Unison, we would like to hear about it. Contact us!
Send us a note describing your ideas. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you!
For some inspiration, here’s our story.
Founded in 1975 as the Unison Learning Community, Unison is located on 13 acres at the foot of the Shawangunk Mountains in the Town of New Paltz, New York. The Unison property was farmed by the Bartz family until it was purchased by the early founders of Unison, including Stuart and Helene Bigley, who own the property to this day. In the early 1980s, the organization transitioned away from its role as a pre-school and began its evolution into Unison Arts Center, a multi-arts performance venue and visual arts gallery space. On the cutting edge from the very beginning, Unison presented poet Allen Ginsberg, Galen Blum, John Herald and was one of the first venues for Playback Theater.
Over the years, Unison earned a reputation as a “Performer’s Favorite.” It has been voted “Best Performance Space” by Chronogram Magazine readers. In 2000, Unison received a Certificate of Merit from the New York State Assembly and a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts by Congressman Maurice Hinchey in honor of its 25th Anniversary. In 2004, with the help of luthier Tom Humphrey and financial support from La Bella Strings, Unison began a three year whirlwind of presenting the finest classical guitarists in the world including Sharon Isbin, Eliot Fisk, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and David Starobin. In 2005, Hudson Valley musicians Natalie Merchant, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Happy and Artie Traum, Mike and Ruthie, Leslie Ritter and Amy Fradon celebrated Unison’s 30th Anniversary with a Gala Benefit Concert. In 2006 and 2007, Unison was one of the recipients of special funding under the New York State Music Fund series. This two year program enabled Unison to present performances such as Pink Martini, Josh White, Jr., Portland Taiko, Roswell Rudd, Trio Globo, Isle of Klezbos and—in an unforgettable appearance—the legendary Odetta.
In 2012, founding executive director Stuart Bigley retired, after leading Unison for 37 years. Carol Robins stepped in during the transition period as Unison searched for a full-time executive director and in September of 2012, Unison welcomed Christine Crawfis into this role. In the fall of 2014, Alyssa Tullin accepted the role of interim executive director. In the spring of 2015, Heather Ohlson was recruited as full-time executive director to lead the organization. A 15-year veteran of the nonprofit sector, Heather is a long time Ulster County resident and serves as president of the Kingston Library Board.
Unison has over 400 individual members. Its performances, gallery showings, lectures and workshops are attended by over 1,000 individuals annually.
What’s next? We invite you to become a member and be part of it!
The Unison Movie
In 2008, we had the wonderful experience of working with Mark Tyler Walsh, who will some day be a Sundance Film Festival Winner.
This is a 16 minute film that gives a little bit of history and a lot of reasons to remember why you love Unison. So get comfortable, invite whoever else is around to join you and gather round for (drum roll please) Unison: The Movie. (Maybe you’ll be inspired to make a donation of what a movie tickets costs — or more!)
Enjoy the movie.