Hudson Gallery Owner Carrie Haddad
Gallery owner Carrie Haddad celebrates two decades of art openings and hip happenings in Hudson
Painted lady: How a New York City transplant helped the city of Hudson hone its artsy image
Photograph by Jennifer May
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It’s no secret: Hudson is hot when it comes to the arts. Why, on Warren Street alone there are almost two dozen galleries. Yet just 20 years ago, this once-gritty city — the seat of Columbia County — had much more in common with its notorious past as a center for gambling and prostitution than anything artsy.
It was during this moribund period, in the spring of 1991, that Carrie Haddad opened her eponymous gallery at 622 Warren Street. A transplant from New York City to Dutchess County, Haddad was “inspired” by her two children. “Staying home with my kids was making me crazy,” she says.
Actually, she credits good friend and artist Howard Crouch with urging her to open the gallery, which occupies the empty storefront of a building she’d purchased as an investment to help pay for her children’s college. Long interested in art, she had noticed that there were very few galleries in her area of the Valley — and none at all in Hudson. She and Crouch did much of the renovation and decorating themselves. “I rented a sander and did the floors,” she says. The gallery was an immediate success.
The first customers were mainly decorators and designers from New York City and New Jersey who took advantage of affordable-but-original art that was close to home. About all that she could sell then were “landscapes, landscapes, landscapes,” she remembers — but eventually abstracts began gaining favor.
Success bred success. To date, Haddad has exhibited works by approximately 1,200 artists, including famous names such as Ellsworth Kelly, George Rickey, and William Wegman. “But that’s not what Hudson is about, or what my gallery is about,” she says. “You can’t sustain a gallery in Hudson and show artists whose works cost $400,000. My goal is to show the artists of the Hudson Valley.”
Haddad’s enthusiasm for her job has not waned. “I love to go to work,” she says. “If I go away on vacation, when I come back, there are all my friends, hanging on the walls.” And room for her “friends” is growing: In 2008 she opened a second gallery, Carrie Haddad Photographs, a few blocks away.
Beginning this month, the art gallery hosts a 20-year anniversary show featuring the works of David Paulson, Allyson Levy, Louise Laplante, Vincent Pomilio, and Darshan Russell (Apr. 21-May 20). In June and July, Haddad presents the otherworldly photographs of the collaborative duo Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn.
Next, Haddad shares the secrets of her success.