Western Ballroom houses the arts
CALLICOON, NY — The Western has served as a historical fixture in Callicoon since 1852, playing host to presidents and suffragette meetings—but its latest ambition is to expand its reach with the Western Ballroom, a newly renovated space that’s ready to serve the artistic community of the region.
The Ballroom, in fact, has already done plenty to aid the cause of local art: hosting photography exhibitions, performances by the Catskill Dance Company and the Delaware Valley Opera, and rehearsal space for members of the NACL Theatre. The last most recently used the site to rehearse its touring show “Small Miracles” and Tannis Kowalchuk’s performance of “Shakespeare’s Will,” which could be seen in New York City throughout March.
Music is another medium that has played and will continue play an important role in The Western’s events. Past guests who have performed there include Mountain Wave, Shlomo Franklin and Cliff Westfall; future guests will include the Eilen Jewell Band. “We are working on hosting and inviting nationally touring bands of diverse musical genres… to boost the local music scene and provide the highest caliber of music for the community,” says Irene Nickolai, owner and operator of The Western. “Our goal is to build up The Ballroom as an anchor music venue—fostering a music and art scene where artists and bands can come together, collaborate and create an exciting scene.”
These plans extend well into the next year: to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival in 2019, The Western will be putting together a summer-long program featuring DJs and musicians from the blues, folk and rock genres.
The Ballroom has plenty in store for the rest of 2018 as well. Following its success in February, the site will host a second Beer Garden event—once again featuring local bands and breweries—on May 5 (12 noon to 10 p.m.). Then, on May 12 (12 noon to 5 p.m.), you can attend the Mystic Spirit Fair, where oracle and tarot readings will take place alongside local vendors selling crystals, jewelry and oils. And when the Catskill International Film Festival comes to town on September 7 to 9, The Ballroom will host several events to support it, including Q&As and an opening celebration to precede the festival’s first film, “A Line Between All Things.”
Providing space for the artistic community has been a guiding principle for Nickolai, who founded the Callicoon Art Walk in 2014. “I have a background in the arts—I used to have an art gallery in New York City—so showcasing… and incorporating the arts into the hotel and having it as a space for the community [are] really important to me… Hopefully, in the future, when the building is completely and more fully renovated, [we can establish] an arts residency... where people can stay at the hotel and maybe perform in The Ballroom… as part of their stay, and give back to the community. That’s kind of a vision of the future for me.”
In addition to its schedule of events, the Western Ballroom is also available for weddings and other functions. For more information about The Western, the Western Ballroom, and prospective events, call 845/887-9871, visit www.westerncallicoon.com/ and the Ballroom’s Facebook page at tinyurl.com/yc66o2hx, or email email@example.com.