Good news for Hudson Valley art lovers! For its September program, the Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society (TOLHPS) will bring back Dr. William Rhoads, professor emeritus of art history at SUNY New Paltz, for a presentation on Elverhoj (Danish for “hill of the elves”), an early 20th century arts and crafts colony in Milton. The program will be held on Monday, September 9, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Vineyard Commons Theater in Highland,
In previous programs for TOLHPS, Dr. Rhoads described the region’s historic architecture, featuring both buildings of note and the more mundane, some long gone and some still standing. The new program will take a look at Elverhoj’s buildings too, as they relate to the history and social impact of the colony as well as the works of the artists and craftspeople who lived and worked there.
“I want to bring to light this very little known, but important, colony,” Dr. Rhoads says. “There is a great deal of interest now in the arts and crafts movement, based on the ideal of works by individual craftspeople as opposed to mass-produced industrial products.” The movement, Rhoads explains, represents “social idealism, cooperation among individual artists rather than dog-eat-dog industrial production.”
Dr. Rhoads will describe how Elverhoj was founded in 1913 by two Danish-American silversmiths, in a period when the beauty of the Hudson Valley drew artists from all over. Original drawings by Elverhoj artists for jewelry and metalwork will be on view immediately before and after the slide lecture. The arts and crafts movement went into a slow decline beginning in WWI, Dr. Rhoads says. Still Elverhoj continued until the 1930’s when the Depression forced its demise, and the property was acquired by followers of Father Divine.
Dr. Rhoads taught at SUNY New Paltz from 1970 to 2004. He studied art and architectural history at Princeton University. At New Paltz he regularly taught a survey of the art and architecture of the Hudson Valley. Dr. Rhoads included a brief history of Elverhoj in his Ulster County, New York: The Architectural History & Guide (Black Dome Press, 2011), and has written about early 20th-century American craft in “Colonial Revival and American Craft,” in Revivals! Diverse Traditions 1920-1945 (Abrams and American Craft Museum, 1994).
TOLHPS sponsors free monthly public programs from September to June, usually on the first Monday of the month (except when – as happens in September – the first Monday is a holiday). Vineyard Commons is at 300 Vineyard Avenue, about a mile and a quarter from the Hamlet of Highland on Route 44/55, just south of the Hudson Valley Rehabilitation Center. To reach the theater, turn into Vineyard Commons and follow the signs to Building 6. At the request of Vineyard Commons management, audience members are asked to park their cars in the lot at the far right (west) end of the row of buildings that includes Building 6.
For more information about TOLHPS programs and plans, consult the organization’s website, www.TOLHPS.org, look for Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society on Facebook, or call 255-7742.