The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art sits on the campus of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden as an art gallery, but holds significant historical value. Snug Harbor was once a retirement home to sailors in the late 19th century. The gallery, known as building C, served as the administration building during that time, and also included dormitories for 37 sailors on the second floor. The interior ceiling is well worth the trip (besides the art of course!) showing nautical influences in the stained glass and woodwork. More detail from Snug Harbor’s website:
“The clerestory windows at opposite ends of the hall depict the sun and the moon. There is a special attic room behind the sun window that is lined with reflective metal and a mirror which directs light into the rotunda. The sunburst rays in this window track the ellipse of the sun over the Visitor Center becoming brighter from right to left.
Blue-glass etchings in the upper clerestory depict various constellations, such as Ursa Major (the Big Dipper), that would have been familiar to sailors who used them to navigate on the seas. The ceiling mural, towering sky-lit dome and weathervane were restored in 1994.
Neptune’s image punctuates the north and south ends of the ceiling. Ropes, anchors and parrots also appear throughout the ceiling mural. A nautical compass in the hardwood floor honors the legacy of the sailors and a Greek key motif around the perimeter was common element in Neoclassical interiors.”
Art performances and exhibits rotate throughout the gallery all year, featuring local and guest artists. They often have artist talks, where visitors are able to speak directly to the creator of the work found in the galleries. For more information and events, visit snug-harbor.org.