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Breaking Ground


Twenty years ago, the Fisher Center’s founders—the late Richard B. Fisher chief among them—envisioned a landmark building that would be a cultural beacon in the fast-changing Hudson Valley: a home to the Bard Music Festival, the newly formed SummerScape Festival, and Bard’s academic programs in the performing arts. They made a commitment to great architecture and performance without knowing what might be created in the building. In 2003, the Fisher Center was a blank canvas, a story waiting to be discovered.

Over the past two decades, that story has been written by the artists, faculty, and students who have created new and groundbreaking performances in the Frank Gehry–designed building, and by the audiences who have experienced them, in Annandale and around the world. Collectively, the Fisher Center’s professional and academic programs have formed an institution that is unique in the American cultural landscape—a creative home for artists across disciplines, where the priority is on artistic research and the development of new work from inception to production.

The 20th Anniversary Season: Breaking Ground is a celebration of the artists, audiences, students, faculty, and communities that have written the Fisher Center’s story for its first two decades and will imagine it into the future. It includes a rich and diverse program of world premieres and special events emblematic of the artistic range and innovation for which the Center is renowned.

As we celebrate two decades of artistry, we are also looking to the future. The 20th Anniversary Season will culminate in the groundbreaking for a new studio building, designed by Maya Lin, which will perfectly complement the Gehry building’s stages, augmenting and enriching this world-class creative home for artists and audiences for generations to come.

Thank you for being part of the Fisher Center community and breaking ground with us. We can’t wait to celebrate our first 20 years together!

Best wishes,
Gideon Lester
Artistic Director and Chief Executive