In 1991, Hudson was a very different place. There were only two restaurants in town; now-bustling Warren Street was a sea of empty storefronts, slowly being populated by a handful of antiques dealers; and the city had just gotten its first fine art gallery, Carrie Haddad’s aptly named Warren Street Gallery, which would pave the way for many more to come.

“I just thought Hudson was beautiful,” says Haddad. After relocating to Columbia County from New York City, she found herself drawn to Hudson’s historic architecture and diverse cultural identity, which reminded her of her native San Francisco. “I really had a hunger for being in the city,” she says.

Encouraged by several of her local artist friends, Haddad decided to open the gallery much in the spirit of the old adage, “right place, right time.” “By then, I just knew so many artists,” she says. “So we thought, ‘Why not open a gallery?’”

That first year, Haddad began showing the work of a dozen or so artists, who quickly found a devoted audience among the antique dealers and designers who frequented their stores. “The dealers made us thrive,” she says. For the launch of the gallery, Haddad’s friend and artist Howard Crouch made a desk to exhibit in the space. “We put in the window, and on our first day an interior designer bought it,” she says. “I think Howard was the main reason we did so well in the beginning.”

Haddad quickly became known for the affable, experimental style of her exhibitions. One show, juried by artists Kiki Smith and Laura Battle, required visitors to pass over 20 feet of bathroom scales, all calibrated to different weights, to enter the gallery. For another, themed around chairs, an artist made a chair-shaped cake to exhibit alongside its utilitarian brethren.

In her second year, Haddad helped found the yearly ArtsWalk, which installed art in many of Warren Street’s empty storefronts. A fixture of the decade-long event was the artwork she would exhibit from local students, which helped bring families to Hudson to visit. “In that way I think we really did encourage art appreciation in the community,” she says. Two years later, the newly renamed Carrie Haddad Gallery relocated just a few blocks east to 622 Warren Street, where its home has been for the past 31 years—a stable presence among the city’s explosive growth.

To this day, you never quite know what you will see when you walk in the front door; oil paintings depicting local landscape views, grand scale installations, or darkly humorous photographs – the offerings reflect the rich variety of talent that is drawn to live and work in the Hudson Valley.

“To have the ability to work in a creative environment with these artists year after year, to be engaged in how they see and interpret the world has been such an enriching experience.  And they’re gutsy!  These artists really put themselves out there.  I’m so proud to be a part of that and to introduce the work I love to wonderful people who want to buy it,” says Haddad.  “Happiness, for me, happens every time I visit an artist’s studio.”



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