Discover the Arts

Learn more about the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts.
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About Us

The Fisher Center develops, produces, and presents performing arts across disciplines through new productions and context-rich programs that challenge and inspire. As a premier professional performing arts center and a hub for research and education, the Fisher Center supports artists, students, and audiences in the development and examination of artistic ideas, offering perspectives from the past and present, as well as visions of the future. The Fisher Center demonstrates Bard’s commitment to the performing arts as a cultural and educational necessity. Home is the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and located on the campus of Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Fisher Center offers outstanding programs to many communities, including the students and faculty of Bard College, and audiences in the Hudson Valley, New York City, across the country, and around the world. Building on a 161-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.

The mission of the Fisher Center is to: 

  • bring leading artists to the Hudson Valley to engage with the public and the College;
  • produce and present adventurous and in-depth programs, including new, rare, and undiscovered works;
  • support the development of new work by artists at all stages of their careers; and
  • provide a home for Bard student and faculty work in the performing arts.



We at the Fisher Center support, produce, and present the work of visionary, courageous, and unconventional artists—art that challenges and inspires—working to more prominently center marginalized peoples both onstage and off. The well-being of and care for our community, particularly those most vulnerable to systemic inequity, will be embraced as a central tenet of our organization.

We dedicate ourselves to pursuing an anti-racist future across our practices and programming. This is a continuous examination of our culture and processes, beginning with articulating the values we hold and why we hold them. 

We recognize that we occupy the ancestral homelands of the Munsee and Muhheaconneok people and uphold ourselves to the values expressed in Bard’s Land Acknowledgement.

We acknowledge the systemic biases deeply embedded in our work, American culture, and society at large. At present, the Fisher Center is a predominantly white institution (PWI). Our staff, leadership, and artists are primarily white. We have often centered histories and voices representative of a primarily white, European, cismale perspective.

With this in mind, the Fisher Center is currently undergoing an organization-wide evolution towards an anti-racist, anti-hatred, anti-oppressive institution. We commit to creating an inclusive, equitable, and respectful environment for all who work, study, create, and engage in and with our programs.


We, the staff of the Fisher Center, commit to living our values as expressed below and expect equal commitment from all who participate in our work. We hold ourselves and our community accountable by following the guidance of our Community Commitment.

  • Exploration & Learning
    • We are a center for artistic research. We support artists whose practices center inquiry, experimentation, new ideas, complexity, thorough investigation of the past, and deep thought. We support artists whose work extends what is possible in the arts. We invest in ideas and artistic journeys without always knowing what the outcome will be. We delight in the unpredictable and share that delight with our audiences, within and far beyond the Fisher Center. We use our knowledge of the artists and projects we support to provide a rich context in which students and audiences can experience them.
  • Transparency & Intentionality
    • We invite constructive feedback and are prepared to listen, respond, and change.
    •  We strive to create a welcoming, approachable, and hospitable community for all who participate in our mission. The integrity of our work and our culture is paramount. All are welcome and have the right to examine and question our operations, history, and future goals.
  • Community & Contribution
    • We work for and amongst many communities, including the students, faculty, and staff of Bard College, audiences and artists in our region and well beyond, as well as people traditionally excluded from the performing arts.
    • We are mindful and intentional about our relationship with each of these communities. Our relationship serves to; contribute value and meaning wherever we can; be conscientious colleagues and partners; and create an environment where conversation, insight, and introspection are exchanged.

SummerScape and
the Bard Music Festival

During the summer season, the Fisher Center produces SummerScape, one of the most ambitious and highly anticipated performing arts festivals in the country. In July and August, SummerScape comprises the annual Bard Music Festival (BMF) and seven weeks of opera, dance, music, theater, cabaret, and film related to the BMF’s theme, which focuses on a different composer each year.

Live Arts Bard

Live Arts Bard (LAB), the Fisher Center’s residency and commissioning program, is a laboratory for professional artists in theater, dance, and performance to test ideas and develop new projects, many of which premiere at the Fisher Center. Each year, LAB invites a number of artists and ensembles from the United States and abroad to be in residence on Bard’s campus. 

Student Programs

Two programs in Bard’s Division of the Arts—the Theater & Performance and Dance Programs—are housed in the Fisher Center. The Theater & Performance Program offers studies in acting, directing, and playwriting. The Dance Program focuses on contemporary practices and offers courses including dance composition, technique, performance, and production.

Guest Artists

The fall and spring seasons include original productions, special one-night-only concerts, and touring artists from around the globe.