The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz (the Dorsky), located at the geographic center of the SUNY New Paltz campus, is one of the largest museums in the SUNY system, with more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space distributed over six galleries. The Dorsky's permanent collection comprises more than 5,000 works of art, with areas of focus that include American Art, with an emphasis on the Hudson Valley and Catskill Regions, 19th, 20th and 21st century photography and metals. A small but excellent "world collection" of art and artifacts dating back to ancient times and representing diverse cultures enhances the museum's exhibitions and educational programs. Through its collections, exhibitions, and public programs, the Dorsky supports and enriches the academic programs at the college, presents a broad range of world art for study and enjoyment, and serves as a center for Hudson Valley arts and culture.
The museum, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011, is fast gaining recognition as the premier public showplace for exhibition, education, and cultural scholarship about the Hudson Valley region's art and artists from yesterday, today, and the future. The Dorsky's temporary exhibition program includes exhibitions drawn from the museum's collection as well as exhibitions, installations, and projects by nationally and internationally recognized artists. Each summer the Museum sponsors thematic exhibitions of work by Hudson Valley artists, featuring works by artists living in the mid-Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain regions.
Samuel Dorsky was a self-made and self-realized individual who came to the art world relatively late in life after achieving success in the garment business. Emerging from the Great Depression, World War II, and the post-war boom years with the desire and the wherewithal to pursue both art and philanthropy, he opened an art gallery in 1963. Until his death in 1994, his gallery presented hundreds of exhibitions, featuring such well-known artists as Henry Moore, about whom Dorsky was a recognized authority, Richard Hunt, Willem De Kooning, Larry Rivers, and Robert Rauschenberg. Sam also generously championed the work of numerous lesser-known artists, whom he often befriended. The Dorsky gallery closed its doors to the public in 2001 after which Sam's children David, Noah, Karen, and Sara established Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs (DGCP) in Long Island City, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting contemporary visual arts.
The dedication of the Dorsky Museum brought to fruition a project that had dominated the last decade of Sam Dorsky's life. Sam's lead gift to the SUNY New Paltz Foundation provided the impetus for the construction of the new museum building as well as the complete renovation of the former College Art Gallery to become part of the museum. The Dorsky Museum now comprises six galleries, offices, and a small teaching space.
The Dorsky family continues to be a major supporter of the Dorsky Museum and SUNY New Paltz. David and Noah Dorsky serve as trustees of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation and also serve on the Advisory Board of the Dorsky Museum with their sister, Karen.