One of the shining stars of R&B music headlines the gala at the Bardavon Opera House. Gladys Knight, a seven-time Grammy Award winner and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, comes to town with a 24-piece orchestra and a song list as long as your arm. Knight’s most recent album, Before Me, features classics from the “golden era” of song (favorites like “Stormy Weather” and “The Man I Love”). But most of Knight’s chart-toppers — “Every Beat of My Heart,” “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” and “Midnight Train to Georgia” — are also on the bill. Proceeds from the event help fund arts events for children and senior citizens sponsored by the Bardavon. Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. $75-$175.
35 Market St., Poughkeepsie
. 845-473-2072 or www.bardavon.org
Mural, mural on the wall
The years of the Great Depression of the 1930s and ’40s were arguably the high-water mark for American mural paintings. Spurred on by Roosevelt’s New Deal, artists were commissioned to paint the walls of post offices and museums, hospitals and housing projects. For the People: American Mural Drawings of the 1930s and 1940s, the current exhibit at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, is a collection of 30 preliminary drawings, paintings, and sketches used to create these public artworks. Culled from the college’s permanent collection, the show includes studies for the post office murals in Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie, as well as drawings by artists Ben Shahn, Arshile Gorky, and Olin Dows. Archival photographs of the actual murals, both as works in progress and in their completed form, are also on view. Through March 11. Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 1-5 p.m. Vassar College campus.
124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie
. 845-437-5632 or http://fllac.vassar.edu
Diversity is the order of the month at The Egg, which features music and dance performances showcasing several different cultures. An energetic display of traditional Guinean music and acrobatics, Les Ballets Africains uses ancient tribal instruments and dance movements to tell its tales (Feb. 10). Flamenco Vivo, with Carlota Santana, is another “don’t miss.” This troupe combines Caribbean, Latin, and Afro-Latino styles for a unique evening of flamenco dance (Feb. 17). Expect toe-tapping good times with the New Riders of the Purple Sage, the 1970s country band that rocked the house in a sold-out show at the Egg last year (Feb. 22). Call for times and ticket information. Empire State Plaza, Albany. 518-473-1064 or www.theegg.org Frosty fun “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” according to the old saw. And that goes for the weather, too. Celebrate the cold and snow at the one-day Winter Festival at the Ashokan Field Campus in Ulster County. Snow-tube down a hill onto a frozen lake, then take a few laps around it on your ice skates. Hike out to the maple sugar shack, and watch sap transform into syrup. Warm up by the wood stove at the Pewter Shop (one of several Colonial craft shops at the site). The truly hardy can do all this and much more at the Winter Weekend overnight event (which includes an appearance by legendary Catskills musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason). Festival hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Feb. 10. $8 per car.
477 Beaverkill Rd.
, Olivebridge. 845-657-8333 or www.ashokanfieldcampus.org
SAD no more
Cornwall-on-Hudson’s Museum of the Hudson Highlands offers several cure-alls for cabin fever this month. For kids: meet the museum’s animals during feeding time at their indoor pond, and learn all about New York’s state bird, mammal, flower and other symbols at a special exhibit (Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month). For grownups: the Thursday evening Speakers Series at nearby Painter’s Tavern hosts local authors who hold forth on a variety of subjects (hear all about Bannerman Castle on the 8th). For everyone: search the woods for owls in a special evening program (Feb. 17), or take the popular maple sugar tour at Kenridge Farm (Feb. 17-18 & 24-25). Call for exact times, locations, and fees. 845-534-5506 or www.museumhudsonhighlands.org
Intriguing contemporary art is on the walls (and floors) at the Fine Arts Gallery at Westchester Community College. Entitled Looser, Smoother, Faster, the exhibit features works by Eric Hongisto, Shoji Kato, and Matt King. Each artist explores the modern concept of physical space, comparing our sense of its fluidity to the ideas held in earlier decades. The artists’ paintings and assemblages emphasize volume, distance, and the all-important spaces in between. Through Feb. 24 (gallery talk on Feb. 14, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.). Gallery hours Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Thurs. 6-8 p.m. Third floor, Academic Arts Building.
75 Grasslands Rd.
, Valhalla. 914-606-7867.