The Olana Partnership’s 2014 Frederic E. Church Award Gala will be held on Thursday, June 19 at the New York Public Library in New York City. This year’s Gala, Inside and Out: Celebrating Design and Decorative Arts, honors three individuals for their transformative work in the disciplines of decorative arts, architecture and design: Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Peter Pennoyer, Founder of Peter Pennoyer Architects; and Katie Ridder, Founder of Katie Ridder Design and Decoration. In addition, Sara Griffen will be recognized for her 25 years as a creative leader of The Olana Partnership, which supports the conservation, preservation, development and improvement of Olana State Historic Site, the home of Frederic Church. The Frederic E. Church Award (FEC) is given as a celebration of art, landscape and culture.
Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen is being recognized for her significant scholarly contributions to American culture and decorative arts. During her 30-year career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, she has published widely and curated exhibitions on American decorative art and patronage of the late nineteenth century, with a special focus on the art of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Most recently, she oversaw the reinstallation of the Charles Engelhard Court of the newly renovated American Wing.
“Having spent my career researching, exhibiting, studying and writing about the decorative arts, I am honored to receive the Frederic Church Award and commend the work of the Olana Partnership in preserving this extraordinary legacy,” said Ms. Frelinghuysen. “When working on the 2006 exhibition of Louis C. Tiffany's country estate, Laurelton Hall, I could not help but think of Olana where Frederic Church, 30 years earlier, weaved together a richly textured, highly patterned harmonious work of art in itself—a perfect marriage of art, nature and life. Frederic Church was not only a great artist but, like Tiffany, he was an inspired collector, decorator and designer.”
Mr. Pennoyer, an award-winning architect, is committed to the relevance of history in contemporary design with his eponymously named firm’s commissions ranging from early work for artist Keith Haring to the headquarters for Historic Hudson Valley to garden town developments in China. With his co-author, Anne Walker, Pennoyer has written four monographs, including his most recent, New York Transformed, the Architecture of Cross & Cross. He serves on the boards of the Morgan Library, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation and is an adjunct professor at New York University.
Known for her skillful and fearless use of color, Ms. Ridder, a nationally recognized interior designer, captures an eclectic and playful spirit that reflects the atmosphere of Olana. Ms. Ridder’s work has been widely published and recently featured in her monograph, Katie Ridder Rooms, include houses from New York to California to Buenos Aires and beyond. In addition, she designs lines of fabric and wall coverings that are carried by Holland and Sherry. Ridder serves on the board of directors of The Decorators’ Club and is a member of the New York Botanical Garden Corporation and of the Horticultural Committee of Wave Hill.
“We are especially thrilled to receive the 2014 Frederic Church Award because from our first visit some 25 years ago, we have been captivated by the beauty and mystery of Olana,” said Mr. Pennoyer and Ms. Ridder, who are married and frequent collaborators. “Our fascination with Church and his house led us to travels in Morocco and Turkey where we found traditional Moorish mosaics and lattice that we continue to use in our projects. We are proud to be honored by the Olana Partnership and salute its great work.”
When Sara Johns Griffen first became involved with The Olana Partnership as a board member 25 years ago, it was a grassroots organization with modest operating and capital goals. Now, under Mrs. Griffen’s leadership as president and CEO, the Partnership has grown its operating budget ten-fold, has garnered more than $18 million in grants and donations for capital projects, and has accomplished many achievements, including a major restoration of the Main House and landscape, protection of its viewshed, as well as the construction of the Wagon House Education Center.
Proceeds from the annual gala fund The Olana Partnership’s mission, which is “To inspire the public by preserving and interpreting Olana, Frederic Church's artistic masterpiece." Past Frederic E. Church Award recipients include: Alice Walton, Martha Stewart, Morrison Heckscher, Stephen Hannock, John Willmerding, Franklin Kelly, Betsy Broun and Jack Warner.
About The Olana Partnership
The eminent Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) designed Olana, his family home, studio, estate and working farm as an integrated environment embracing architecture, art, and landscape. Considered one of the most important artistic residences in the United States, Olana is a landmark of picturesque landscape gardening with a Persian-inspired house at its summit, embracing unrivaled panoramic view of the vast Hudson Valley.
The Olana Partnership supports the conservation, preservation, development and improvement of the Olana State Historic Site, which is open to the public throughout the year. Its goal is to inspire the public by preserving and interpreting Olana, and to create the most widely recognized artist’s home and studio in the world, vibrant with the activity of students, visitors and scholars. For more information, please visit olana.org.