Hudson Valley MOCA, formerly known as Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and education organization founded in Peekskill, NY, by Livia and Marc Straus. Our mission is to be the MOCA for the Hudson Valley and beyond through the presentation of challenging exhibitions and programs that spark dialogue, enrich lives, and deepen our understanding of contemporary art.
Hudson Valley MOCA is also devoted to the enrichment of Peekskill, NY, a diverse, post-industrial river community that is fast becoming a major arts destination. Hudson Valley MOCA operates a 12,000 square foot exhibition space and is the primary sponsor of the Peekskill Project, a bi-annual, citywide celebration of site-specific installations by international contemporary artists.
Hudson Valley MOCA, formerly known as Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, was founded in 2004 by art collectors Livia and Marc Straus.
Dr. Livia Selmanowitz Straus is an educator who has lectured widely on art and spirituality. She is Professor Emeritus of Education and Jewish Religious Thought at The Academy for Jewish Religion and was Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fordham University. From 1994-1997, she was Adjunct Professor of Education at Hebrew Union College. Livia Straus earned her Doctorate at New York University in Judaic Studies with a concentration in Medieval Jewish History.
Prior to her work in academia, Livia Straus was Director of Education at Bet Am Shalom, a Reconstructionist Congregation in White Plains, NY, at Park Avenue Synagogue (Conservative) and at Central Synagogue (Reform), both in Manhattan. She has participated in various inter-religious dialogues, including the Valparaiso Project. In 1989, she was Program Chair for the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE) Hofstra Conference and from 1987-1990, Chairperson of the Editorial Board of CAJE Jewish Education News. From 2004-2006, she was Chairman of the National Jewish Book Council Awards. Dr. Straus has lectured widely and published many articles as well as a text on Contemporary Jewish Medical Ethics.
Livia Straus was on the Board of the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, New York, the Hebrew Union College Museum in Manhattan, and the Contemporary Acquisition Committee at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. She also served on the Advisory Board for the Cincinnati Museum of Contemporary Art and as Curatorial Advisor for Riyadh Metro, Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Marc Straus ran an oncology practice in White Plains, NY, and authored the seminal textbook on lung cancer. He was President of the Board and Head of the Exhibition Committee of The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut, during which time the museum garnered numerous grants and an international reputation for its groundbreaking school educational programs and its prescient exhibits of emerging artists. He has curated a number of museum and gallery exhibits, including 1994’s “The Lineage of Eva Hesse” and he has written critical essays for several art publications.
Marc is also a well-known poet who has written three books of poetry, Symmetry (2000), One Word (1994) and NOT GOD (2006), all published by TriQuarterly Books, Northwestern University Press. NOT GOD, a play in verse has been performed Off Broadway twice and was the basis of a museum exhibit at Lehigh University Zoellner Art Galleries 2004 (“The Bridge”) in collaboration with artist, Rick Levinson.
Dr. Straus was the recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Award in poetry from Yale University. He is a regular contributor to Providence Art Review. He also served on the Advisory Board for the Cincinnati Museum of Contemporary Art and as Curatorial Advisor for Riyadh Metro, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Straus has published some 100 scientific papers on cancer medicine and edited three textbooks on lung cancer.