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Caramoor Announces Inspire Capital Campaign Leading to 75th Anniversary in 2020

Caramoor is proud to announce the launch of the Inspire capital campaign, leading up to its 75th anniversary celebrations in 2020. The campaign is focused on the twin goals of securing the financial and programmatic future of the institution by increasing Caramoor’s endowment, as well as restoring and modernizing the grounds and gardens to make it a true meeting place for the community. The campaign has raised 80% of its $40 million goal so far and looks to raise the remaining $8 million to support Caramoor’s next major initiatives. The Westchester estate – 90 acres of picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens, just an hour’s drive from Manhattan – is positioned at the center of the most culturally rich region in the country. With leading cultural and arts centers in every direction, Caramoor’s magnificent setting for music is both enviable and unparalleled. The Inspire campaign will build on this wealth of potential, fostering Caramoor’s twin values of audience enjoyment and artistic innovation so that every aspect of the visitor experience lives up to the world-class quality of music for which Caramoor has long been known. Thus honoring its unique history as it continues to grow, Caramoor is positioning itself both as a vital regional hub of music, art and culture, and as a global destination on par with the finest music series and festivals in the world.

At a time when arts institutions are facing many challenges, Caramoor is thriving. The revamped leadership team, led by CEO Jeff Haydon and Board Chair Jim Attwood, immediately prioritized solidifying Caramoor’s financial foundation through the building of its endowment. This has now been accomplished, with the endowment quadrupling from $7 million to over $28 million in the last five years.

Speaking about the campaign, Attwood says:

“When I became board chair in 2011, one of my principal objectives was to get Caramoor on firmer financial footing with a path to long-term financial sustainability. We worked hard with our most generous donors to secure the endowment first, knowing that we would turn our attention to capital projects in the campaign’s public phase. Caramoor is truly a gem – an incredibly intimate place to experience music and interact with world-class artists. With the launch of this final phase of our Inspire campaign, we now embark on a new journey to further enhance the Caramoor experience.”

Haydon further comments:

“Caramoor’s recent success in increasing its endowment now allows us to further invest in our programming, offer more affordable and free events for families and the community, and better maintain our property. We now turn our attention to raising money to support some very exciting, forward-looking, tangible projects. We will now bring the rest of Caramoor up to the quality of its music – expanding on the belief that Caramoor is the totality of the music, the setting, and the people involved. This campaign honors our legacy and invests in Caramoor’s future.”

The second goal of the campaign is to elevate the gardens and grounds and visitor experience up to the level of the art and music-making. Lucie Rosen, who founded the estate and festival with her husband, Walter, commented in the early 1960s: “I’d like Caramoor to stand for the small delights in life, along with the big ones, and I don’t ever want to have to decide which is better.” The idea of the capital campaign is that each detail of Caramoor’s intimate setting and landscape can be one of those “small things,” capable of enhancing and amplifying the superlative musical experience. Updates to the Music Room facilities have already begun, and other initiatives include a campus-wide nighttime lighting plan; a re-imagined Friends Field dedicated exclusively to programming and audiences; reconfigured parking and improved vehicle circulation; improved campus accessibility; a permanent box office near the outdoor venues; additional seating and dining amenities; two new plazas where audience members can gather; a more convenient entrance to the Venetian Theater; and much more. The campus-wide overhaul will culminate in the 2020 summer season.

Finally, building on 2014’s In the Garden of Sonic Delights and the 2017-18 Sonic Innovations exhibits, Caramoor will work with curator Stephan Moore to create the country’s first permanent sound-art collection. Renowned artist Trimpin, whose Piano House was featured in the 2014 exhibition, has been commissioned to create a site-specific sound-art piece for Caramoor’s 75th anniversary in 2020, which will also be his first permanent work in the Northeast and will anchor the collection. The sound-art installations will complement Caramoor’s magnificent grounds, encouraging visitors from the community to come to the campus year-round, and will align with Caramoor’s long history of embracing innovative sound and music, from Lucie Rosen’s enthusiasm for the theremin in the 1920s to the consistent commissioning of new music which continues today. With 2018’s Sonic Innovations installation, audience members will get a preview of what a trailblazing, public sound-art collection will mean for the community at large.

About Caramoor

Caramoor is a performing arts center located on a unique 90-acre setting of Italianate architecture and gardens in Westchester County, NY. It enriches the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality. Its mission also includes mentoring young professional musicians and providing educational programs for young children centered around music. In the fall and winter, concerts are presented in the magnificent Music Room in the Rosen House, an intimate setting with a maximum capacity of 180. Tours of the stunning Rosen House are available by appointment Monday to Friday. In summer, concerts take place in two outdoor theaters: the acoustically superb Venetian Theater, which seats approximately 1,500, and the romantic Spanish Courtyard, which seats around 470. Caramoor’s gardens, also used for concerts and sound-art exhibitions, are well worth the visit and include nine unique perennial gardens. Among them are a Sense Circle for the visually impaired, the Sunken Garden, a Butterfly Garden, the Tapestry Hedge, and the Iris and Peony Garden.

Getting to Caramoor

Getting to Caramoor is simple by car, train or public transportation. All parking is free and close to the performance areas. Handicapped parking is also free and readily available.

By car from New York City, take the Henry Hudson Parkway north to the Saw Mill River Parkway north to I-684 north to Exit 6. Go east on Route 35 to the traffic light (0.3 miles). Turn right onto Route 22 south, and travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road where there is a green Caramoor sign. At the junction, veer left and make a quick right onto Girdle Ridge Road. Continue on Girdle Ridge Road 0.5 miles to the Caramoor gates on the right. Approximate drive time is one hour.

By train from Grand Central Station, take the Harlem Division Line of the Metro-North Railroad heading to Southeast, and exit at Katonah. Caramoor is a 3.5-mile drive from the Katonah station, where taxi service is always available. For current information, check the Metro-North schedule.

All concerts made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with funds from the Westchester County Government.

All concerts made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The 2018 Summer Music Festival is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

© 21C Media Group, April 2018

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