Renee Darmstadt explains how her Cornell Street Studios’ Retro Rally Car & Motorcycle Show, Musical Gala and Group Art Show, which runs in Midtown Kingston in and around her popular space this Saturday afternoon, June 8, first got started. It was much the same way in which the whole sprawling gallery got going four years ago. Her dad, who owns and runs Darmstadt Doors in a large space on Cornell Street in Kingston, wanted to see the large amount of second-floor space that he had in his new warehouse put to use. And he wanted to see his daughter stick around town and find something to do that would help channel the energy of her many friends, many of them artists or budding new businesspeople in their own right.
“I had been doing a lot of vintage photo shoots here, and then a vintage photo show,” she recalled, amidst preparations for this weekend, when half the street will be blocked off for her 1-to-6 p.m. event. “My father suggested we do an old car show…I’ve long felt like every show we do here brings in a different crowd on top of our base audience. And what happened was that all the old car people did come out – and with their families, too.”
In addition to the greater space for cars, and a host of local sponsors including Volkswagen of Kingston (who’ll be bringing out a new-model Beetle for the occasion), the event will feature continuous music all afternoon and a host of food vendors. That’s not to mention the gallery’s regular June nautical-themed show (featuring a room of Cape Breton and other seaside works by painter Robert Selkowitz) and a new group exhibit of retro works being put together just for this Saturday.
“A bunch of my friends and me will be getting all dressed up for the occasion, and we’re urging everyone to do the same,” Darmstadt added. When we asked what era of “retro” she was thinking of, she noted that the ‘40s and ‘50s seemed appropriate this season – although she added how everything older than the ‘80s was now considered “retro,” at least in car terms.
In terms of specifics, musicians set to play, according to Darmstadt, include Kyle McDonough, Lara Hope & the Arktones, Feast of Friends and deejay Dan Jurow. Artists in the retro show included, as of presstime, the likes of Dave Ryan, Jim Mushett, Jennifer Kiaba, Kim Borell, Heather Gleason, Erica Hauser, Brian Gillette and Morgaine Healy. Plus, prizes were being lined up for costumes, cars, art – and attendees. If it should rain, Renee added, a make-up date of Saturday, June 22 has been set up.
“We’ve had a lot of fun here. Our openings now bring in a regular crowd of 300 or so,” she said. “We’ve built audiences on top of audiences, making each show different. People have appreciated that” – as has Midtown Kingston.
Retro Rally Car & Motorcycle Show, Musical Gala & Group Art Show, Saturday, June 8, 1-6 p.m.; “Making Waves” Art Show through end of June (featured artist Robert Selkowitz until June 14), Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Cornell Street Studios, 168 Cornell Street, Midtown Kingston; (845) 331-0191, www.cornellstreetstudios.com or on Facebook.