· Three new members join the board
· Grunberg family reaffirms its commitment
· First look at our 2021 Season
PS21 welcomes Jamal Jackson, Susan Kramer, and Tony Muoser to the board of directors, has received renewed support from the Grunberg family, and announces plans for a robust Summer ’21 Season and expanded year-round activities. The rich season of diverse and engaging performances will continue to conform to evolving COVID-19 guidelines.
Jamal Jackson is the founder and artistic director of Jamal Jackson Dance Company, where he has created choreography that redefines ideas of community and celebrates the beauty of individual cultures. Susan Kramer, a historian of medieval Europe who was previously a corporate tax attorney, has taught and lectured widely and published numerous articles as well as Sin, Interiority, and Selfhood in the Twelfth-Century West (2015). Tony Muoser recently retired from a career in finance at Rabobank, HSH Nordbank, Citigroup, UBS and Credit Suisse.
The Grunberg family affirmed their commitment to PS21 to continue supporting the work of advancing founder Judy Grunberg’s groundbreaking vision and the theater and programming that builds on it.
Music, opera, circus and processional arts underpin the 2021 Season, when performances will once again benefit from PS21’s unique open-air Pavilion and breathtaking 100-acre campus, unmatched physical and environmental assets that ensure safe spaces for audiences. Artist residencies, offering opportunities for collective art-making and exploration, are continuing, with American Ballet Theatre, award-winning Camille A. Brown & Dancers, and other important artists developing new works on our campus, which they will share with the community through streaming, live discussions, and performances.
PS21 Chatham/Pathways—free performances, arts and environmental education programs, and events in partnership with the Town and Village of Chatham—will again take place along the new trail system launched in 2020 and linking PS21’s 100 acres with Crellin Community Park’s 40 acres and beyond.
Despite the COVID pandemic, between July 17 and October 10, PS21 produced 42 programs of music, movement, multimedia, film, visual art, and panel discussion in the Pavilion Theater, in our fields and along the new network of trails. Forty of these events were livestreamed more than 9,000 times.
“PS21 is committed to building on founder Judy Grunberg’s ambitious vision by partnering with artists to create work that realizes the potential of our state-of-the-art theaters and campus,” Executive Director Elena Siyanko said. “By invigorating our leadership with three new board members, we add the perspectives and experience essential to injecting dynamism to our future directions.”
As PS21 embarks on its next phase, our new board members will help professionalize our development, planning and governance efforts; broaden our donor base, and expand our commitment to education and the community.
New Director: Jamal Jackson
Jamal Jackson was born in Brooklyn, New York, and began his formal studies of movement with the Harlem-based Batoto Yetu Dance Company. His interests in biology and dance led him to Brown University, where he received the Weston Award for his contribution to the Fusion Dance Company and New Works / World Traditions African Dance Company from 1996-2000. He performed with Ballet International Africans for two seasons as a principal dancer and founded JJDC in 2004 with the goals of fusing various traditional African dance styles with Modern techniques and diverse contemporary music styles in order to create a new, unique technique that is relevant to a multifarious community.
Jackson is not new to PS21. Partnering with PS21 for over 10 years, his work has combined his commitment both to performance and to education. JJDC has presented three evening-length works at PS21. He also developed the PS21 West African Drum and Dance Workshop, which has brought hundreds of children from Columbia County and the Hudson Valley together to communicate and explore their artistic voices. Jamal has stressed the importance of education within his work and has helped guide organizations, like the 92nd Street Y, as they have expanded their outreach and youth programs. He currently serves on the DanceNow NYC Advisory Board. Jamal has kept his roots in Brooklyn where he lives with his wife Abigail Hooper, a Portfolio Manager, and two children.
As he joins the Board, Jackson observes: “The combination of an elegant and mutable theater with brilliant artistic direction positions PS21 to be a cornerstone of the Arts for the foreseeable future.”
New Director: Susan Kramer
Newly elected Board member Susan Kramer states: “What most excites me about PS21 is that it fosters innovation and creativity in the arts while remaining a place that welcomes everyone—from the student experiencing a first performance to the trained critic or connoisseur. The moment you step onto its campus—whatever your age, roots or background—you feel part of a vibrant and growing community.”
Susan R. Kramer, a medieval historian, specializing in the religious culture of High Medieval Europe, has taught undergraduates and graduate students and has been affiliated as a researcher with Fordham University and the Institute for Advanced Study. Her writing has appeared in a number of academic journals and her book, Sin, Interiority, and Selfhood in the Twelfth-Century West, was published by the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. Before getting her Ph.D. in medieval history, Susan was a corporate tax attorney with Debevoise and Plimpton in New York. She served on the board of Legal Information for Families Today, a non-profit dedicated to enhancing access to justice for children and families by providing legal information, community education, and compassionate guidance and promoting reform of courts and public agencies. She has also worked with The Medieval Academy of America, an organization devoted to promoting excellence in the study and teaching of medieval culture. Susan is married to Kenneth Kramer, an attorney. They have two adult children and divide their time between Brooklyn and Old Chatham, NY.
New Director: Tony Muoser
Tony Muoser and his wife Sara Cashen moved to Columbia County in 2019 after he retired from a 35-year career in financial services. For most of the new century, his career focused on renewable energy finance, most recently as Managing Director of Rabobank’s Project Finance team in New York City. Before joining Rabobank in 2010, Mr. Muoser was the Head of Wind Energy Finance at HSH Nordbank. He previously held senior positions in the project finance and structured finance teams at Citigroup, UBS, and Credit Suisse. He received a Bachelor of Law degree and a Ph.D. in international law from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He brings his background in finance and enthusiasm for the performing arts to PS21.
Muoser observes: “PS21, with its beautiful setting, provides a truly unique stage for music, film, dance and theatre in the Hudson Valley. I look forward to more actively supporting its mission, especially its focus on community engagement and programming for all, and to build on the legacy of its founder Judy Grunberg.”
Co-Presidents Marcia Fardella and Marian Krauskopf are committed to the full range of ambitious plans for PS21 in partnership with its important institutional neighbors. Our entire Board is deeply committed to excellence, positioning PS21 as an essential component of the Hudson Valley’s burgeoning arts scene.
PS21, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century, is committed to:
· presenting innovative performances by leading and emerging artists in our state-of-the-art black-box and open-air pavilion theaters;
· fostering creativity through residencies and collaborations between performers working across disciplines and genres;
· serving the community via free and low-cost workshops, performances, and other programming;
· preserving our more than 100 acres of open spaces, meadows, woodlands, and orchards as an important resource for artists and the community;
· extending opportunities for arts engagement to all, regardless of age, economic status, and cultural background.
Our commitments are incorporated in the design of our new theater and the surrounding grounds: open, inviting, and optimized for the public’s enjoyment and to encourage citizen expression and participation.
PS21’s new theater, completed in 2018, is a 350-seat open-air proscenium stage protected by a pavilion roof, which converts in cooler months to a geothermally-heated and air-conditioned black box seating 99. The new facility is built with technologically advanced systems that can accommodate all levels of artistic needs – from the analog use of our extensive system of sprung dance floors so critical for the safety of movement-based performance, to our state-of-the-art lighting and sound capacities. The theater features one of the only fully LED green theatrical lighting systems in the country.
Our new building sits above a nineteenth-century apple orchard at the apex of over 100 acres of beautiful Hudson Valley land, at the foothills of the Berkshires. Just five acres have been developed; the rest are meadows and woodlands. Nearby are the Dance Barn, a rehearsal and performance venue, and two artists’ residences accommodating sixteen visitors. The PS21 property is also host to the Chatham Farm Animal Rescue.