The River is a Magic Thing

Celebrating the art, history, ecology, spirituality, and future health of the Hudson River and its communities

May 6, 2006

MOBIA (The Museum of Biblical Art)
1865 Broadway at 61st Street
New York, NY


The program begins with a retrospective look at the group of artists who became the first genuinely American art movement, the Hudson River School. These artists take us back to an earlier period in American history -- before the Civil War and the Scopes trail -- when science and theology were seen as allies in the study and appreciation of the natural world, and when the Hudson River and its surroundings, were seen not only as a glorious example of the beauty of the American landscape, but as evidence of the glory of God.

In the last century, by contrast, there was an ever widening gap between the natural and the supernatural; for many, science and religion came to be been seen as entering a state of war with each other, nature was viewed, not so much as a source of inspiration, but a resource to be exploited. A century of rapid industrial development resulted in a river no longer safe for swimming and fishing, its tributaries becoming open sewers.

The promise of the twenty first century is not a return to the romanticism of the 19th century, but a new ecological consciousness through which human communities learn to take responsibility for the health of the natural world, and, in turn, nature once again becomes a source of inspiration and health. Already, the river is being renewed, and the villages, towns and cities of the region are being revitalized. Both religion and the arts have a crucial role in this process.

The rebirth of the Hudson River and its region can and will continue, however, only as the wider public remains engaged. Artists, environmentalists, religious leaders and social activists must continue to lead and inspire, but only as an enlightened citizenry is fully committed will the mission be accomplished. For this,  all of us will need to remember that the task of maintaining and repairing the world is the soul work that can make us whole.

Program Schedule:

9:30 am Rolls and Coffee

10:00 am  Charles Henderson: Welcome and Introduction of the Program

Interlude: The Hudson: Sound and Light

10:30 am  J. Taylor Basker:  The River as a Source of Spirit

11:00 Patti Ackerman: Garrison Institute’s Hudson River Project

11:30 Dr. Mike Magee:  Healthy Waters

Respondents and Discussion
Interlude: Hudson River Arts Award

12:30  Lunch

1:15    Interlude:   A Tour of the MOBIA Gallery and its current exhibition: This Anguished World of Shadows: Georges Rouault's Miserere et Guerre  Ena Heller

2:00   Fran Dunwell:  A Vision For the Future
Respondents and Discussion
Interlude:  Hudson River Arts Award

3:00   Donna Schaper:  Enchantment as Environmental Strategy
Interlude: Hudson River Sound and Light
Respondents and Discussion

4:00   Wine and Cheese Reception with program participants and artists

The program will also include presentations by artists who are recipients of the Hudson River Arts Award and whose work reflects our theme.

For more information on the program participants.

Registration information:

Members/Fellows $55
Non-Members  $60; Students $15
Fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and reception.
($5.00 extra at the door.)

To register
 please contact Charles Henderson
Tel: 212-870-2544 or

You may use our secure website to register now.

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More about ARC
including membership information and news about our recently published book:
 The ARC Story


From time to time the Board of Directors elects as Fellows individuals it identifies as having made a distinguished contribution to their respective fields. The list of Fellows elected over a period of nearly four decades thus exemplifies what the Society understands as the necessary and vital connections between art, religion and culture.

ARC Fellows


Fall 2005
Dance, Dance, Wherever You May Be

Spring 2005
Theology and the Arts as Play

Winter 2005
Uncertainty Principles in the Atoms of Language

Fall 2004
Languages that Shape the Soul

Spring 2004
The Moving Image

Winter 2004
Religion and the Visual Arts

Fall 2003
Theology and Music

Spring 2003
Theology and Poetry:
Languages that Shape the Soul

Winter 2003
Tracing the Garden

Fall 2002
Drawing on the Human

Spring 2002
Alfred Barr and
the Religious Dimension of Modernism

Winter 2002
A Theology of Beauty

Fall 2001
Lifting the Veil

May 2001

February 2001
Performance and Symposium

November 2000
Illuminations & Transformations:
Cross-Cultural Spiritual Dynamics 
in Music, Text, Dance and Film

May 2000
Alternative Readings: 
Sacred Text Embodied in Visual Art

February 2000
The Meaning of Myth

November 1999
Myth, Ritual and the Mediation of Violence

May, 1999
Writers' Ways with Loving and Dying

February, 1999 
The Divine Image
Implications for a changing image of God.

October, 1998 
Uneasy Constellations of Meaning
Theological Perceptions and Visual Images in Sixteenth Century Europe &
The Religious Art of Andy Warhol

hares.jpg (5471 bytes) wharhol

May, 1998 Meeting
AYNI: The Andean Concept of Reciprocity

Webpage design courtesy CrossCurrents
Charles Henderson, Executive Director



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