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DIA Beacon: A Feast for the Eyes & Imagination

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A Day at the DIA: Beacon Museum is a day to remember. Exposure to all this creativity under one roof is infectious. ‘Awe-inspiring’ is just one word to describe a visit here.

As a little girl, I loved all things having to do with art. I took photos, I sang and was a dancer (Ballet was my thing) – all at a very young age. I was also an avid ‘Paint-by-Number’ kinda girl.

I could not draw a straight line to save my life and stick figures seemed my specialty. But, other than that, I did other ‘artsy things’ fairly well.

A light exhibit at DIA:Beacon in Beacon, NY

So going to DIA: Beacon for the first time excited me. It is a different kind of art experience. Artwork hung ON walls, hung FROM the ceiling and piled ON the floor. These are just some of the images you will see when visiting this monumental location.

And don’t miss the holes IN the floor. It’s fascinating to see this particular piece of art in person. Photos do not do it justice…

Visiting the DIA: Beacon Museum

Helpful Information in order to plan your visit to
DIA: Beacon

→ DIA: Beacon is a large multi-level space. Be prepared to do a lot of walking.
→ Make sure that you visit the museum periodically, as exhibits & installations often change.
→ The FREE Sunday for HV Residents (last Sunday of the month) is a busy and crowded day. Plan accordingly as parking can be limited.
→ The Museum is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday only during Spring, Summer, and Fall.
→ Although open in the Winter, the days are limited to Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday only.
→ Parking is always FREE on the Museum property.

What is DIA: Beacon?

The entrance to the DIA Beacon Museum is unassuming and simple but people love photographing it.

Wall Art, Sculptures and ‘People Bird Calls’, Oh My!

Yes, I said “People Bird Calls” (I will explain a little more about that later).

DIA: Beacon is a multi-leveled structure that houses permanent pieces of art, as well as, some temporary/traveling installations. Each level provides its own layout and level interest. It is both grand and immersive.

  • The top level is the smallest and only houses a few pieces of artwork.
  • The main level appears to be the largest space with rooms of various sizes. It offers surprises at every turn.
  • The lower level is more open than divided and also houses unique installations sure to intrigue and surprise.
  • And there are also things to see outside: both at the entrance of the museum and also an area that is only accessed through the museum.
The Outside Bushes at DIA: Beacon are tall and welcoming. It's like a small maze right outside the doors of the Museum

A Little History about the DIA: Beacon Museum:

According to Wikipedia:
“DIA: Beacon occupies a former Nabisco box-printing facility that was renovated (by several artists and architects). The museum, which opened in 2003, is one of the largest exhibition spaces in the country for modern and contemporary art.”

Where is it located in the Hudson Valley?

It’s located in Beacon, NY (Obviously) in Dutchess County. This is an eclectic little town accessed from the Metro North Train Station that sits beside the Hudson River.

Beacon, Beacon, Beacon… This little town by the river has built quite a reputation for itself.

A few years ago, Beacon was a small town beginning to make a big statement in the Hudson Valley. This now trendy location is home to art galleries, boutique shops, and eateries owned by chefs showcasing unparalleled cuisines from locally-sourced products.

But that is a post for another day….

The bushes in front of DIA:Beacon are colossal. They create a sense of harmony in the space they fill.

Is DIA: Beacon a Good Day Trip?

Beacon, NY is a wonderful day trip from anywhere in the Hudson Valley, even from NYC. Having the Museum as the focal point to your trip makes this an ideal starting point for your day’s itinerary.

Make sure to arrive early, so you can see the Museum and also have time to enjoy the other activities in the area.

Looking up from the Center of the Bushes outside of DIA:Beacon

LITTLE-KNOWN FACT:
The Metro-North has a special ‘One-Day Getaway Package’. By purchasing this package from the station that your trip originates from, you get a Discounted Round-Trip Train Ticket AND Reduced Admission to the Museum.

How to get to the Museum:

As mentioned above, Beacon is easily accessed by train. It is also easily accessible by car, as it is right off of Interstate-84 and very close to the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.

It is located near the Beacon Train Station. The Hudson Line trains run along this route from Grand Central Station to Poughkeepsie.

*For your convenience, the Hudson Line Trains run hourly during Museum Hours.

Best time to Visit:

The Museum is a popular destination for any Art-Lover. Weekends (Saturday & Sunday) seem to be crowded compared to the other days that the Museum is open.

Even on the ‘FREE Day for Hudson Valley Residents’, the Museum did not feel super crowded. The large space and sense of openness ads to the magic of this place.

All kinds of people come to experience the art at DIA Beacon Museum.

Is the DIA: Beacon Museum Free?

There is an admission fee of: (at time of this posting)

  • $15 – General Admission
  • $12 – Students & Seniors
  • Free – DIA members and Children under 12 yrs

The Museum offers One Free Day a Month (Last Sunday of the Month) for Hudson Valley Residents.

The areas eligible for this free day are as follows: Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Sullivan, Ulster, Washington, and Westchester Counties.

Patrons also enjoy taking photographs during their visit to the DIA Beacon Museum

Residents of Beacon, NY and the communities of Chelsea, Fishkill, and Glenham receive free admission every Saturday and Sunday.

Are There Tours Available of the Museum?
Are Visits allowed without a Tour?

Tours are provided and included with the price of admission. The tour dates and times are as follows:

  • Saturdays – 12:30 pm & 2 pm
  • Sundays – 12:30 pm & 2 pm

You Do Not need to take a tour while at the Museum. It is optional and a nice courtesy for those interested in knowing more about the exhibits.

Also, according to the website, a guided tour of Michael Heizer’s “North, East, South, West” (holes in the floor) is given at 10:30 am until 11 am on days the Museum is open. A reservation must be made by email.

Michael Heizer's "North, East, South, West" can be seen at the DIA Beacon Museum in Beacon, NY.
North, East, South, West by Michael Heizer

Are dogs allowed?

Dogs are not allowed on the property of DIA: Beacon.

What to See & Do at DIA: Beacon:

DIA: Beacon is a celebration for the senses:

  • The Sense of Sight
  • The Sense of Sound

LOVE ART? READ MORE
about my visit to the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY

Yes, I said, “sound”. Sounds can be heard throughout a visit to DIA: Beacon.

Sounds of:

  • Discussions by the patrons of the Museum
  • Commentary from the tours taking place
  • Children’s laughter
  • Sounds of artist Louise Lawler’s recorded voice in her exhibit, in the West Garden, called “Birdcalls”

The images and exhibitions can be overwhelming to some, empowering to others and, even, fearful to some. For Example: “Mapping the Studio I” is a room with six projectors that each display images of the artist’s workspace, where he was able to capture mice, cats and other critters running around his space.

"Mapping the Studio I" is a room with six projectors that each display images of the artist's workspace, where he was able to capture mice, cats and other critters running around his space.
Mapping the Studio I by Bruce Nauman

Some of the artwork commands attention while other pieces and exhibitions are more subtle. As effortless as some of the pieces seem, they also inspire and empower others.

One of my favorite exhibits is Richard Serra’s “Torqued Ellipses”. These are large scale steel structures, some of which have openings and allow the viewer to step into the art.

One of my favorite exhibits is Richard Serra's "Torqued Ellipses". These are large scale steel structures, some of which have openings and allow the viewer to step into the art.
Richard Serra’s “Torqued Ellipses”

Another favorite installation is by Louise Bourgeois called “Crouching Spider”. As you see in the photos, the spider is very large and intimidating, especially for a person that does not like spiders, like me.

Crouching Spider by Louise Bourgeois

Homespun Cafe

The Museum has a Cafe on site that offers soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Seating is available both inside and outside.
The Cafe operates during days and hours the Museum is open.

The Museum Bookshop

The Bookshop offers an assortment of Art Books for young art lovers, as well as, older art lovers. It offers a wide variety of books about art, artists and the Hudson Valley. They also have a section for children’s books.

The DIA Beacon Museum Bookstore offers a wide variety of books about art, artists and the Hudson Valley. They also have a section for children's books.

You can visit the Bookstore and Cafe without buying an Admission to the Museum.

Is the DIA: Beacon Museum Child-friendly?


DIA Beacon is an extraordinary place to expose children of all ages to art.

The best part is that children under the age of 12 yrs old have Free Admission.

DIA Beacon is an extraordinary place to expose children of all ages to art.

VISITOR TIP:
One must be mindful, though, that this is NOT a ‘touch’ museum and you really need to know your child and how they will react to the stimulus and urge to touch some of the art.

DIA: Beacon -vs- Storm King Art Center

DIA:Beacon and Storm King Art Center (in New Windsor, NY) are two exceptional examples of the power of art and how impressive it can be.

READ MORE
about my Visit to Storm King Art Center & about their Special Events, such as their Moonlit Walks

Both places are Magical and both showcase the brilliance of art. They showcase art in a profound and very different manner.

Storm King Art Center is set along hundreds of acres in the Heart of the Hudson Valley while DIA: Beacon showcases the art in a warehouse-style format.

A white light installation by Dan Falvin photographs in different colors.

Is this Museum worth the trip?

If you’re an art lover then I would recommend a visit. For the price of admission, you get an afternoon’s worth of interesting, sometimes profound and, also, sometimes thought-provoking art.

If ‘people-watching’ is more your thing, then the DIA Beacon Museum has this and more in a comfortable atmosphere.

A Work in Progress by Charlotte Posenenske

If you’re concerned about the $15 admission price and the possibility that you may not enjoy the experience, I would recommend visiting on the Last Sunday of the Month (when it’s Free only for Hudson Valley Residents).

Contact Info & DIA: Beacon Address:

DIA:Beacon
3 Beekman Street
Beacon, NY 12508

Find out more information:

Website: DIA: Beacon
Facebook: DIA Art Foundation

INSIDER TIP:
According to the DIA: Beacon Website:
The Beacon Free Loop Bus runs Monday through Saturday from the Metro-North Beacon train station to Dia:Beacon, Main Street, and Mount Beacon, before returning to the train station. Passengers may hail the bus at any Beacon Free Loop sign along the route.

Until the Next Adventure…

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About Author

Jackie is the HV blogger behind Hudson Valley Exposed, featuring the hottest things to do, places to see and weekend getaways. Get information from a local who is seeing it all! She lives in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region with her hubby, kids, and doggies.