Carrie Haddad has been a staple in the city of Hudson’s thriving arts and cultural scene since long before the city’s relatively recent transformation to a tourist-driven destination. She’s represented Hudson Valley-based artists at Carrie Haddad Gallery for nearly 30 years, which is no small feat for any business owner who’s had to ride the waves of economic ups and downs that the last three decades have brought.
Her passion for the arts extends to the artists themselves; she is known for having created long-lasting relationships with regional painters, photographers, sculptors, and mixed media creators, thanks to her determination and efforts to promote local art, as well as to increase art tourism in Hudson. “I try to show artists who are women as much as I can; in the art industry, it’s not always easy to make sure women are seen, since more men apply,” says Haddad, who is a trained dancer and former model. But she says that it’s important to her to encourage and include women artists in shows.
Carrie Haddad Gallery showcases seven impressive group show exhibits annually; the work of every artist who shows then goes on the website, expanding the audience reach for local artists.
What has been your proudest moment as a long-term business owner?
When I first saw Hudson, about 35 years ago, I completely fell in love with it. I grew up in San Francisco and then moved to New York City, so I am a real “city girl.” Finding myself married with two small sons in a country farmhouse was great, but when I discovered Hudson, I was in heaven.
Of course, it didn’t look like it does now. Many buildings were boarded up. I noticed people were hesitant to come to town, so I started the ArtsWalk events and showcased artwork from children in schools all over Columbia County. Parents and grandparents had to come take a look and I believe they were happily surprised to find the city safe and the local population friendly and approachable.
Many of the empty storefronts were rented soon after and commerce greatly increased. And art was the instigator.
What does it take to be successful through a recession and other economic ups and downs?
Stay open; just be there. That’s why people come to the gallery; they know I’ll be there.
What energizes you about being an entrepreneur?
The business I’m in, an art gallery, is pretty exciting because you’re dealing with such incredible talent and you’re working with some very exciting people. They’re creators; our artists; our soothsayers.