See history-themed art in New Paltz


The New Paltz Historic Preservation Commission honored the winners of its annual art show last Saturday at Elting Memorial Library. Pictured are judges (L-R): Alexandra Baer and Donna Rutlin. Not pictured: Judge Frank Boyer. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

The Village of New Paltz Historic Preservation Commission unveiled its fourth annual art exhibit and announced the award-winners at a reception last Saturday morning. The show will remain on view in the community room of the Elting Memorial Library during regular library hours through May 12.

In addition to 38 artworks by adult entrants, the 2018 show includes 14 pieces by students from the New Paltz Middle School, created as part of a class project organized by art teacher Kim Abrahamson. In his opening remarks, Historic Preservation Commission chairman Thomas Olsen called the participation of younger artists “a very significant step forward.” “This is the first year that we’ve had students involved,” noted Kamilla Nagy, who first came up with the idea for the art show as a means to engage the public in the commission’s work, and who continues to organize the exhibit annually.


According to its guidelines, the exhibit’s mission is to showcase “artwork that focuses on and is inspired by local and area historic landmarks, landscapes and architectural details, and explores the theme of preservation, and life within a historic context.” Nagy explained that all submitted works are shown in the open exhibition, representing artists of all ages from New Paltz and surrounding communities, including several this year from Orange County. Some of this year’s entries are by artists well-known locally, while others are exhibiting for the first time.

This year’s panel of judges consisted of Alexandra Baer, Frank Boyer and Donna Rutlin. “You made it a difficult choice for us,” said Rutlin when it came time to reveal which entries had been selected for prizes. Top marks in the student category went to Henry Millman and Veda Keon for a vibrant collage titled Our Favorite Places. Finn Gibson’s pencil drawing of a downtown streetscape, Out to Lunch, won second prize, and Daniel Cullen and Michael Lynn’s mixed-media piece Sky Top took third place among the student entries.

For adult entrants, prizes were awarded respectively in three categories: Painting, Photography and Drawings/Mixed Media. Among the paintings — the largest category — first prize was given to Katherine Gray’s watercolor Approaching the Gunks, second prize to Jim Adair’s watercolor Olana, third prize to Staats Fasoldt’s watercolor Hasbrouck House and an unplanned fourth prize to Linda Gray’s oil-on-canvas Meander. With only four entries in the Photography category, only two prizes were awarded: first to Elizabeth Sheehy’s Hidden Places and second to William Powe’s Fawn in a Field. In the category combining Drawings and Mixed Media, Rachele Ottens’ pastel The Gatehouse in Winter took first prize, Cami Fischer’s pen-and-ink drawing Defining New Paltz second prize and Maureen Rogers’ graphite drawing In the Woods third prize.

The Best in Show award was conferred upon a watercolor by Lana Privitera titled The Windowsill, depicting several books on a white window seat, with a view of a green louvered shutter, a wrought-iron railing and a brick wall. Privitera, who lives in Pine Bush and teaches at the Wallkill River School of Art in Montgomery, noted on her Facebook page, “The window depicted in this painting is located inside the old stone building that houses the Elting Library in New Paltz.”

Saturday’s opening featured a brunch of tasty canapes donated by Agnes Devereaux of the Village TeaRoom. Most of the artworks on exhibit in the show are available for sale, with prices ranging from $20 to $800. Viewing hours vary daily; visit for the full schedule.