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The Spencertown Academy
790 Route 203
P.O. Box 80
Spencertown, New York 12165
Telephone: 518-392-3693
Fax: 518-392-8694

The Spencertown Academy is a cultural arts center located in Spencertown, N.Y., a tiny village set in the beautiful, rural countryside of Columbia County in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. In its lovely 1840's Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy presents concerts, readings, and arts and crafts exhibits as well as arts-related workshops and classes. The Academy has four exhibiting or presenting spaces.

The auditorium

The 140 seat auditorium is used to present:

  • classical, folk, jazz and traditional
  • music concerts
  • storytelling and poetry/prose
  • readings
  • small theater pieces
  • puppet shows
  • dance performances
  • classes in art, yoga, music and
  • dance

The Art Gallery

The Gallery shows exhibitions, which change monthly, of the works of regional visual artists, including painters, sculptors, photographers and mixed media artists. The Annual Juried Show is held in February.

The CraftSpace

The CraftSpace is a bright, restored space for the exhibition and sale of the work of the many fine area craft artisans including quilters, ceramicists, jewelers, weavers, textile artists, woodworkers, and many more.

The Backer Room

In this recently restored classroom, art and music classes are offered by visiting teachers. Beginning in Fall, 1999, the Academy is serving as a location for Berkshire Community College's Continuing Education program with writing and music classes.

The Academy is available for community meetings, and for rental by other arts groups and for private parties, schedule permitting.

The lovely Greek revival building that houses The Spencertown Academy was built in 1847 as an Academy for the training of young men and women to become teachers. It was founded by Dr. Timothy Woodbridge, D.D., who was pastor of Saint Peter's Church across the Village Green from the Academy. Woodbridge was a grandson of Stockbridge preacher Jonathan Edwards and a cousin of Aaron Burr. Woodbridge became blind while studying at Williams College. The money to build the Academy was raised by Dr. Woodbridge from members of the community. The Academy was designed and built by Benjamin Ambler.

In about 1879 the Academy became a Union Free School, a two-room schoolhouse for the children of Spencertown grades one through eight. It remained a school until 1970 when the children were bussed into Chatham.

In 1972, seeking to save the classic building, a group of concerned citizens and artists formed the Spencertown Academy Society and established cultural center which serves the community with arts events, classes and exhibits, and has also been restoring the building which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Spencertown Academy is governed by a Board of Directors made up of concerned citizens from the surrounding communities. It is staffed by an executive director, an assistant director, a Sunday Gallery attendant and a caretaker, as well as many volunteers.

Supporting the Academy The Academy is a not for profit organization, funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, the T. Backer Fund, and the Our Town Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Foundation. It is also supported by admissions, the sale of craft and artworks, rentals and by the generosity of its members. The Academy invites you to consider tax-deductible gifts and bequests for an endowment to preserve the building or sustain operations. The Academy as a not-for-profit organization may be eligible for matching funds from your employer.

Admission to the Galleries is always free. Performances are $12 ($10 for members) unless otherwise noted. The Academy's performing arts programs are underwritten in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

Visit The Spencertown Academy on-line at:

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(This interactive feature was penned by S.E. O'Callaghan & edited by
Karyn Mayhew White for the BerkshireWeb. All rights reserved (c) 2001)