With his cartoonish, deceptively crude Outsider/Pop aesthetic and ubiquitous presence on our streets and in our shops and restaurants, Ryan Cronin might fairly be called New Paltz’s answer to the late great Keith Haring. If our town had subway stations for him to work in, his stuff would be there, for sure.
Equal parts appealing and baffling, his brightly colored, instantly recognizable Rust-Oleum paintings must be selling well, because the artist has added a philanthropic arm to his Water Street Market headquarters, Cronin Contemporary. The new initiative is called 12 Months of Giving, and the gallery has announced its intent to designate two local not-for-profits each year to be recipients of the artist’s charitable giving. In this inaugural year, the lucky designees are Go Doc Go, a Hudson Valley-based women’s health care initiative that establishes and maintains cervical cancer screening programs around the globe, so far including Ethiopia, Senegal and Haiti; and the TMI Project, which offers transformative memoir workshops and interactive performances that use storytelling as an agent of personal and social change.
To launch the campaign with appropriate hoopla, Cronin chose May 17 — the date of the Hudson Valley Gives 24-hour online fundraising marathon — to livestream the actual painting of his latest plein air opus: a vibrant mural of geese in flight, rendered on the west-facing exterior wall of Schatzi’s Pub at 36 Main Street in New Paltz. The event is over now, but the original Ryan Cronin artwork will remain up there for all to see, so long as the elements permit. Check it out next time you’re downtown. To find out more, or to add your donation to Go Doc Go or the TMI Project, visit www.cronincontemporary.com, www.godocgo.org or www.tmiproject.org.