Tea & Talk

Eleanor Charwat - September 17, 2017


Eleanor Charwat, author, "Bootlegging in the Hudson Valley"

Ellie is a native of Poughkeepsie, where she attended the Poughkeepsie Day School and Poughkeepsie High School.  After graduation from Cornell University where Ellie majored in government, she went to Washington, D.C. to work for President Kennedy’s Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and later for Howard University.  

After four years in Brazil, where Martin was in the Foreign Service, Ellie and Martin returned to Poughkeepsie and raised their two children. Ellie got involved in many community organizations:   the League of Women Voters, Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, United Way, the Arlington Rotary Club, Literacy Volunteers, Oakwood Friends School, the Dutchess County Historical Society and the Poughkeepsie Public Library District.  Ellie worked at Marist College for 13 years as head of the School of Adult Education and taught political science as an adjunct faculty member.  She was also elected to two terms on the Poughkeepsie Town Board.

Ellie is the author of “Prohibition in the Hudson Valley:  Along the Bootleg Trail” “Small Town Lawyer:  Highlights of Nathaniel Rubin’s Career” about her father; and a memoir “A Life Well-Lived.”

Ellie has received several awards in recognition for her community service: 

  • The Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill medal in 2002
  • Woman of the Year by American Association of University Women in 2004
  • New York State Woman of Distinction in 2005
  • New Horizons Community Leader recognition (with Martin) in 2007
  • Athena Award from Chamber of Commerce in 2009
  • League of Women Voter Community Star in 2011
  • Community Service recognition, Community Foundations Garden Party in 2011
  • Family of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, Family Services in 2017

Barrett Art Center pairs a traditional English Tea with stimulating talks on art, culture, and history.

Sundays,  1:00 - 3:00 p.m.  

Includes locally-sourced tea sandwiches, scones, jams, and full tea service. 

$30 per person, $25 members

Sponsored by Harney & Sons Teas

Rudy Vavra - October 29, 2017

Rudy Vavra, artist, "A Conversation of Random Marks"

Rudy Vavra is a fine artist with an active studio in New York's Hudson Valley. His work has been exhibited nationally. Although mostly known as an abstract painter working primarily in oils, Vavra has also exhibited drawings and watercolor paintings. In the late 1980's in Texas, he was also known for his floor collage installation performances.

Mr. Vavra's early works often referenced the landscape and were explorations of abstracted imagery with a structured sense of place.  His current oil paintings speak more of the painter's search, with mark making, to locate the painting. A painter's painter, Vavra applies layer upon layer of colorful marks, applied over time, to achieve a balance of tonal value, spatial depth and texture that defines the painting.

Mr. Vavra has been reinventing his practice, shifting mediums and redefining his relationship with the natural landscape and the environment through art. Born in Yonkers, NY, and raised in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, Vavra later moved to Texas, where he attended Texas A&M University, earning a BED in Environmental Design (1984) and teaching at the university’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. After returning to New York in 1987, Vavra received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts (1989) and then worked as an assistant to artists Doug and Mike Starn while also maintaining his solo career.


Holly Wahlberg - December 10, 2017

Holly Wahlberg, design historian, "Poughkeepsie's Historic Architecture"

Design Historian Holly Wahlberg researches and writes frequently about Poughkeepsie’s historic architecture. For many years, she has been a leading advocate for the preservation of Poughkeepsie’s historic resources and their important role in Poughkeepsie’s revitalization. She and her husband are restoring a landmark home in one of the city’s historic districts.