Hudson Valley Word of Mouth: Kelly Schroer of Strongroom (Audio)

Jun 02, 2021
Produced by Julia Joern.

In the latest Hudson Valley Word of Mouth segment, Julia Joern heads to Newburgh to meet with Kelly Schroer, founder of Strongroom, a non-profit arts organization producing site-specific contemporary art installations and public programs.

Learn about ‘A Home with a Garden’, a magical secret urban garden and ‘plant concert’ conceived by the artist, Martin Roth (1977-2019), who tragically died just as he was to begin the project’s installation inside one of the city’s most historic buildings.

Originally built as a private home in 1852 by one of America's most influential landscape designers and horticulture writers, Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852), together with architect and landscape designer, Calvert Vaux (1824-1895), the house was later converted into the Newburgh ‘City Club’. Over the years it suffered a fire and was swallowed up by nature, with a jungle of trees growing inside and vines of ivy crawling up the exterior walls. Even though its windows are boarded up and it remains without a roof, the massive brick structure is significant, as it’s one of the last standing buildings by Downing. By entering the secret garden, the historical relevance of the building — and both Downing’s and Roth’s shared intention for architecture and nature to live in harmony — can be experienced in a new and poetic light.