Editorial Notebook

Exploring the hidden art scene: Art beyond the “Met” and the “MoMA”

Editor's Note: This article was meant to be published on January 24, 2024.

Most times, when you ask someone about their favorite museum or art gallery that they’ve visited or wanted to visit, they will reply with “the Met” or “Museum of Modern Art” or another well-known museum. These places attract millions of tourists every year. However, there are thousands of other smaller and less-known galleries and museums that, in my opinion, are way better.

To start with one that’s semi-accessible to Rensselaer students, Art OMI is an indoor-outdoor art and sculpture park that is great for all ages. In just a forty-minute drive from the RPI campus, you can visit Art OMI in Ghent, New York at 1405 County Rte 22. This hidden gem provides an amazing experience as you can walk through the whole park and find different art and architectural sculptures. Not only is the 120-acre park open from dawn to dusk, but it is completely free—you just have to park and explore to your heart’s content. However, if you want to visit the visitor center, it’s only open from 9 am to 5 pm from April through October. From November through March, it’s open from 11 am to 4 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 4 pm on weekends. This visitor center includes an additional indoor gallery and cafe if roaming the grounds makes you hungry. For those who love the winter weather, you can even cross-country ski or snowshoe on their trails if you bring your own equipment. With a circulating inventory of sculptures and architectural pieces, Art OMI is a fun year-round attraction. You can learn more about them at their website here or Instagram, @art_omi.

If you’re in the mood for a longer adventure, Storm King Art Center is a sculpture park located an hour and forty-minute drive from the RPI campus at 1 Museum Road in New Windsor, New York. This 500-acre park lets you experience its giant sculptures and site-specific art commissions, including a combination of permanent exhibitions and seasonal installations. Although closed from December through March, they are open the rest of the year from 10 am to 5:30 pm every day except Tuesday. Unlike Art OMI, a general ticket is required to visit the park, but a student discount is available. Storm King also includes its own museum building in addition to its outdoor park. To learn more about this sculpture park, you can visit their website here or their Instagram @stormkingartcenter.

Although it may be easy to pick a well-known museum or art gallery, it creates a special experience to find and visit an art gallery or museum that is special to the area you are in. You can find parks like Art OMI or the Storm King Art Center online or on social media. This can create an exceptional addition to a vacation or be a fun adventure on the weekend. Places like Art OMI and Storm King are unique to their area and offer experiences that you can’t get in a well-known museum.