Event Plans in Service of Our Mission

As we work toward our mission of empowering communities in the Hudson Valley through the transformative integration of art, holistic health and environmental sustainability, we have envisioned what Unison’s work will look like in the long term, and developed short term event plans to develop our innovative model.

Our Current approach:

In order develop the approach of transformative integration of art, holistic health and environmental sustainability, we are beginning with several themed “Anchor Series” over the next year.  Each will bring together several organizations around a topic relevant to the Hudson Valley, generating learning, healing, and innovation through interdisciplinary exploration.

Examples of Possible Anchor Series Themes:

  • Water and Community: Protecting Our Waterways
  • Food, Nourishment and Creativity
  • Intergenerational Learning, Exploring Past, Present, Future
  • Labor and Sanctuary: From Underground Railroad to Sanctuary Cities

Anchor Series – Fall 2017:


Labor and Sanctuary: From Underground Railroad to Sanctuary Cities


Through this Anchor Series, Community members will have the opportunity to:

Understand connections between current migrant crisis and histories of slavery and migration.

Develop deeper self understanding and self expression to support substantive dialogue and community healing

Deepen ability to communicate with children about current and historical injustice

Build community networks to create solidarity

Though we continue to hire immigrant workers in vast numbers, their physical presence and security is more precarious than ever. We experience this as a current crisis, but it has deep roots in the histories of labor and migration in the United States. In its history and its present, the Hudson Valley is uniquely situated to address the connections between the combined needs of labor and sanctuary. An important nexus on the Underground railroad–providing sanctuary to those forced to labor under slavery–we are also home to some of the most vulnerable migrant laborers today.

Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving provide a backdrop for a deep community exploration of Labor and Sanctuary.  True to Unison’s new integrative mission, we will work in partnership with local and national organizations that bring diverse perspectives and modalities to support participants in creatively exploring the topic through the arts, while building community and engaging in personal and societal healing.

Starting in early September, Unison will partner with Redwing Blackbird Puppet Theatre and the New Paltz chapter of United University Professionals to host a local parade with additional partners to raise awareness and build visibility.  In the following months, a series of curated events (lectures, walking tours, conversations, etc.) will deepen learning, culminating in a community puppet workshop and performance at Unison in November.

The proposed events below provide a platform for participants to feel the connections between the current crisis and the often suppressed histories of violence against those who labor, building personal understanding and a sense of community in action.

Our vision for Unison in 10 years:

  • Additional buildings on the property provide space for classrooms and workshops; and there are spaces for wellness practitioners to work individually and in collaboration.
  • Seasonal celebrations and themed community events that work with a variety of nonprofit organizations.
  • An active permaculture farm supports educational and community programs, with strong programmatic ties to wellness and the arts.  This would include a full-time farmer/educator, food bank, Farm/ Education Gardens, pollination plantings, industrial kitchen, and seed exchange.
  • Several residency spaces that welcome innovators in the arts, wellness, environmental resilience, and activists, each of whom would work on their own projects but also be asked to collaborate with one another on shared  innovations and community projects.
  • An educational program in collaboration with local schools and homeschooling families that focuses on interdisciplinary project-based and place-based learning incorporating sustainability, wellness, and the arts.  The program would include professional development for Hudson Valley teachers and school leaders looking to incorporate these themes and methods into their curricula.
  • A comprehensive wellness program with strong programmatic ties to sustainability and the arts, including workshops, retreats, and community outreach.  Support for local practitioners to reduce isolation and provide more opportunities for integrated treatment.  Participation in Unison networks and programs will also carry continuing education credit for practitioners.
  • Hosting retreats and seminars, perhaps buying adjacent land to create housing for participants, or working with other local housing providers.
  • Programming to tap the experience and wisdom of our community’s elders, alleviate isolation, and build connection across generations.

Timeline for Fall 2017 Anchor Series:

Theme: Labor and Sanctuary: From Underground Railroad to Sanctuary Cities

Some of the events listed below are still under design, and require alignment with partners who are also working on the same topics:

  • September Post-Labor Day Parade with Puppets and Partners
    • Red Wing Blackbird Puppet Theatre one-day puppet making workshop for parade
    • UUP (United University Professionals) and other partners
  • September-November: Conversation Series
    • 1-2 Community discussions and panels organized in partnership with ELEE and other organizations.
    • Discussions will include academics, activists and every-day experts to support deepening dialogue, self-inquiry, and healing around issues of historical and current injustice related to race, labor and sanctuary
  • October-November: 2-3 Workshops and Interactive Events may include:
    • Columbus Day-themed event regarding conquest/displacement/diaspora
    • Workshop or discussion for parents about  on talking about race with kids
    • Walking tours might include native sights in region, slave histories of Huguenot Street
    • Workshops in healing or therapeutic modalities
  • November – Family puppet workshop with Redwing Blackbird Theatre
    • 11/18-19: 2-day workshop allows for more carefully produced puppets for performance
    • November 23 (Thanksgiving Day): Intervention (pop-up performance) at Turkey Trot?
    • Redwing Blackbird performance at Unison