Some people look at the City of Newburgh and see crumbling houses and vacant storefronts. Others see world-class architecture and blank canvases for new ideas. It is no surprise the creative community sees the latter in the City of Newburgh. Helen O’Leary is one of them. As she says, “I liked Newburgh from the getgo.”
Helen just bought a home in front of Downing Park last fall and she is excited about Newburgh! She is an Irish artist currently living in Brooklyn who has had solo exhibitions all over the globe, from Melbourne to New Delhi. One of her most recent shows was at the MAC in Belfast. She has won many awards including a Joan Mitchell and Guggenheim fellowship. And she is a full professor at Penn State.
DIA Beacon is a favorite destination of hers over the years, and this Spring, like many others, she decided to do a bit more exploring of the surrounding area and ended up in Newburgh. As they drove through Newburgh she says, “I was instantly taken with the city, the architecture, and the beauty of the place. It’s a real city, it’s not disneyfied and has great people with a community spirit.”
They looked at property near the river, but kept returning to Downing Park and admiring it’s beauty. Helen is an avid gardener, but due to a busy travel schedule she has neglected her garden. She says, “having thirty five acres of a world class park across from my home and studio was a deal clincher.”
The property they ended up with will need quite a deal of repair. Work will begin in the spring, and hopefully they will move in soon after.
Newburgh is excited to have you Helen! Thank you for sharing your story.
You can learn more about Helen’s work in this video interview below: