Omi International Arts Center

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Omi International Arts Center is a nonprofit international arts organization located in Columbia County in upstate New York. Omi International Arts Center was founded in 1992 by Francis Greenburger, a New York real estate developer, who serves as chairman of Art Omi, Inc., the residency’s parent foundation. The organization takes its name from Omi, a nearby hamlet in the Hudson River Valley two and a half hours from New York City.

Omi International Arts Center offers four distinct residency programs: the Art Omi International Artists Residency for visual artists for three weeks in July; the Ledig House International Writers Residency for writers of fiction and non-fiction, critics and translators for up to two months in spring and fall; Music Omi International Musicians Residency, which brings together musicians, composers and improvisers in early August; and Dance Omi for dancers and choreographers in late summer. The programs encourage residents to collaborate and explore new avenues of expression and experiment with media and techniques not always available to them at home. Residents are provided with free room and board as well as a congenial place in which to work. Each year a limited number of fellowships are available to help artists with the costs of travel and art supplies. The residency welcomes talented applicants whether they are starting out, in mid-career or are already established. To date Omi has hosted over a thousand residents from 80 different countries and the United States.

Omi invites gallerists, critics, agents, publishers, curators and collectors to give talks and presentations. Their visits also benefit residents by providing them with exposure and access to the New York cultural scene. Omi regularly holds exhibitions, readings, concerts and dance performances to which the public is invited. In addition to the four residency programs, Omi International Arts Center is also home to The Fields Sculpture Park, Architecture Omi and Education Omi.

The main compound is made up of three separate buildings with 18 guest rooms, three conference rooms, a library and communal spaces. Ledig House (named for the late German publisher H.M. Ledig-Rowohlt), a converted 1830 farmhouse, serves as Omi’s home and central meeting place. The principal work space consists of a two-story converted barn and several satellite sheds. The latest addition to the Omi campus is the Charles B. Benenson Visitors Center & Gallery, which opened to the public in the summer of 2008. The 4,200-square-foot (390 m2) Center presents exhibitions of art and sculpture and includes a gift shop and café. The structure has been built using state-of-the-art ‘green’ technology. Omi’s facilities are available for rental for corporate retreats from December through March, when residency programs are not in session.

The Fields Sculpture Park, which is open to the public throughout the year, features over 100 permanent and temporary exhibitions. The Fields occupies approximately 150 acres of the Omi’s campus that has recently[when?] expanded to cover nearly 500 acres of farmland, woods and ponds. In the future architects will be invited to design structures ranging from pavilions to free-standing buildings, some of which may function as autonomous galleries or mini-museums.

Omi International Arts Center raises money primarily from philanthropic and corporate foundations and individual donors. Its major fundraising event is a theater benefit held each spring.

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