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She won’t be forgotten: Hudson’s Mrs. Greenthumbs.

Remembering Mrs. Greenthumbs

Several Hudson organizations have banded together to make July 21 the first annual Mrs. Greenthumbs Day: a day celebrating the life and work of the late Cassandra Danz, a longtime Hudson resident who has, through books, plays, and television appearances, become known to the rest of the world as her alter-ego, Mrs. Greenthumbs.

Several open-to-the-public events have been officially planned for Mrs. Greenthumbs Day by groups such as Fourthdown, 7-Up (the new coalition of Warren Street merchants and residents above 7th street) the Hudson Opera House, the Hudson Gardeners, and the Promenade Hill Restoration Committee, but the event is not officially sponsored by any particular group. All interested Hudson residents are encouraged to contribute to the further beautification of the area. Plans already in place include decorating of shop windows with plants or cut flowers, starting a garden in an undeveloped patch of Hudson ground, and opening a personal garden to the public for the day. Of course, refreshments will be served. “Every year [Fourthdown] does a clean-up day and spruces up their area,” said Danz’s longtime friend and Hudson resident Don Christensen. “They decided that this year they’d make it Mrs. Greenthumbs Day. There are now some magnificent gardens right on Warren Street.”

Since she moved to Hudson 18 years ago (she was one of the first people to help transform it into the cultural center that it’s become), Danz—who melded her love of sometimes ribald comedy with her passion for gardening—has become widely known for her critically acclaimed books (1993’s Mrs. Greenthumbs: How I Turned a Boring Yard Into a Glorious Garden and How You Can, Too and 1998’s Mrs. Greenthumbs Plows Ahead) and television appearances on programs such as Live With Regis and Kathie Lee and The Rosie O’ Donnell Show. However, before the world discovered her, she was known in Hudson for her exuberant personality and her magnificent, idiosyncratic garden. “Her garden in Hudson, though she wasn’t famous at the time, was important,” said Christensen. “People would come into Hudson and drive out of their way to pass her garden.”

Danz, a wife and mother who also cofounded the all-female comedy group the High Heeled Women in 1980, produced and directed Mrs. Greenthumbs Plows Ahead on the New York City stage, and had small roles in films such as Tootsie and 9½ Weeks. She died of breast cancer at the age of 52 on May 26. “Inspiration was what she offered,” said Christensen. “It’s a great loss.”

—Ben Sher

ARt BEAT

New York Foundation of the Arts will conduct a free informational seminar on NYFA Artists’ Fellowships at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on Tuesday, July 23, at 6 PM. The informational seminar will address questions about the application process for NYFA’s $7,000 cash grants, which are offered to New York state artists of all disciplines. The seminar will also inform artists about other funding opportunities and areas of career development. Customarily, 150 to 170 artists are selected for fellowships via a peer-panel process. One of the fellows will receive the annual NYFA Prize for “exceptional promise,” which bestows an additional $25,000. To be eligible for a NYFA fellowship, an artist must have resided in New York for at least two years at the time of application and cannot be enrolled in a degree program of any kind. Applications will be available at the seminar. Application deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 1. For more information, call (212) 366-6900. . . . Artist Jessica Menrath of Delmar was honored last month when her graphite pencil sketch, Flight Through the Forest, was unveiled along with winning entries from across the country as part of An Artistic Discovery, a yearlong exhibit in Washington, D.C. Menrath was the winner of the 2002 Congressional Arts Competition from New York’s 21st Congressional District, which includes all of Albany and Schenectady counties, most of Montgomery County, a portion of Rensselaer County, and the Town of Waterford in Saratoga County. Menrath and her family were flown to Washington, D.C., where Menrath and her father met Congressman Michael R. McNulty (D-Green Island). McNulty joined them at the exhibit’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Canon House Office Building on July 25. . . . Send your Art Beat items to metroland@metroland.net.


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