Kingston’s fourth annual Art Walk will take place this Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22, from noon to 5 p.m. More than 140 artists will participate, with work displayed in more than 40 studios and 20-plus galleries.
Last year the event attracted 500 to 1000 visitors, according to the organizers’ estimates, showcasing the variety of artists, artisans, and display venues throughout the city’s three districts. The Art Walk puts Kingston on the map as an arts destination, helps fill its lodgings and restaurants, and brings customers to its specialty retail shops.
“I love the supportive artistic community here in Kingston, and I’m so happy to be part of this,” said Marker Snyder, one of the participating artists. “It’s a powerful thing for all of the artists to be sharing in this. Art Walk encourages a lot of people to come out and look at work in progress.”
Snyder’s artistic nom de plume is RedSharkBoy. He will be showing his imaginative pen-and-ink illustrations and drawings, digital paintings and mixed-media pieces incorporating photography and drawing at his home-based studio on Washington Avenue.
Co-organizer Linda Marston-Reid, also executive director of Arts Mid-Hudson, said the opportunity to interact with artists was a big draw. “People can strike up a conversation with artists,” she said. “They fall in love with the story of making art and having that personal connection.” For their part, the artists make “connections that are valuable in promoting and furthering their careers,” she said.
Joe Gonzalez, a project manager who moved up to Kingston in 2015, is founder of a nonprofit that funds infrastructure projects around the world. He and Marston-Reid first floated the idea over a glass of wine. Art Walk turned out to be an event waiting to happen.
The two got back an overwhelming response to a survey gauging the support among local artists for a studio tour. Some artists reported that they had gotten discouraged when an annual house tour was discontinued years ago, according to Marston-Reid.
The first year, in 2016, more than 50 artists signed up. “We were pretty nervous,” she said. “On social media people say they’re interested, but then ten people show up.” Volunteers stepped up to help with selling ads for the booklet and map and putting out signs. The turnout was promising.
The event has grown dramatically since, According to Gonzalez, Kingston’s is the largest artists’ studio tour in the Hudson Valley.
This year’s roster of participants include not only visual artists — painters, sculptors, and mixed-media practitioners working in a variety of styles — but also three furniture makers, a fiber artist, two clothing and textile designers, a bookbinder, at least four photographers, a musical instrument maker, several ceramicists and jewelry makers, and an artisan who makes bags out of recycled sailcloth, along with cotton and leather. Various clusters of artists and galleries around the city will enable visitors to explore multiple sites on foot.
In Midtown, there will be group shows at the Lace Mill, the Idea Gallery, Artbar, the Cornell Creative Arts Center, and a 7500-square-foot space on the ground floor of Ferrovia Studios at 17 Railroad Avenue. There, a curated show will feature several accomplished artists, including Susan Spencer Crowe, Andrew Lyght, and Valerie Piraino. There’ll also be an installation by an artists’ collective themed around a department store. Upstairs, many of the 14 studios will be open, including that of building owner Angela Rose Voulgarelis.
Village Coffee and Goods, also located in the building, will be showing the artwork of Art Walk organizers Marston-Reid and Gonzalez, along with volunteers Barbara Scott, Scott Marston-Reid and Rick Whelan — a reminder that the event itself sprung from the ideas and efforts of artists.
More studios are located in the Shirt Factory, including Hudson Valley Silverworks, which will be showing the work of numerous jewelers, and the Kingston Ceramics Studio, which will display pottery by eight artists — some instructors, some members and some studio assistants (people will also be working on and off at the eight wheels in the studio, so visitors might see a pot in the making).
The new Artisan Bakery and Kingston Pop Museum, both on Broadway, will also be showing art.
A new attraction this year will be an outdoor sculpture garden at the base of the new Midtown linear rail-trail at Downs Street, which will display the work of six artists, including Dennis Connors, Tyler Borchert and Hans van Meeuwen. Van Meeuwen, the recipient of two prestigious grants, will be showing an undersized doghouse crafted out of wood with an oversized extended canine paw. More of his absurdist sculptures, which play with scale and context, can be seen in his Midtown studio, located in the former Bank of America building.
Uptown, two new galleries will be open. Uncanny will feature a group show of dolls and figurative sculpture. Pinkwater on North Front Street will exhibit the abstract work of Anne Sanger. Exit 19, the gift, furniture and housewares store on Wall Street, will show the work of Scott Michael Ackerman, while Carla Rozman, who designed the Art Walk logo, will show her stuff at the Design Connection. The stunning new North Front Street Gallery exhibits vintage furniture.
Downtown, in Rondout, the Arts Society of Kingston, calligraphic studio Brush & Reed, jewelry studio Facets of Earth, the gallery at the Reher Center of Immigrant Culture and History, and the Kingston Artists Collective and Café all feature group shows. The Reher, participating in Art Walk for the first time, will show artwork by undocumented youth. The Kingston Artists Collective will exhibit pieces by the instructors at D.R.A.W., a community youth visual arts program, including Judith Hoyt, Carol Struve, Wayne Montecalvo and D.R.A.W. founder Lara Giordano.
Around the corner on West Strand and up Company Path are the husband-and-wife studios of Harris Diamont, who will be showing his series of stylized self-portraits in paint and gold leaf, and of Neville Bean, who will be displaying her miniature ceramic, fabric and painted designs. The drive a couple of miles down Abeel Street is well worth the effort to check out the creekside studio of Borchert and the group show at One Mile Gallery, organized in conjunction with Shrine Gallery in New York City.
Besides being able to mix gallery and studio-hopping with stops at the multitude of cafes and restaurants that have popped up all over the city, visitors can participate in several events. There’s a free wine-tasting on Saturday afternoon at Kingston Wine Company, a free walking tour of Midtown murals on Saturday at 5 p.m. (be sure to check out the new one by Matt Pleva, adjacent to Revolution Bikes on Hasbrouck Avenue), a “Slowmade Market” of artisan goods, craft beer and other brews served around the wood fire at the outdoor courtyard at Lis Bar, and a preview of the specially designed interior at 302 Clinton Avenue by Design Connection, which officially will open on October 11.
Two performances are scheduled for Saturday night: the beguiling Spaghetti Eastern music of Sal Cataldi at the Kingston Artists Collective and Café and an Interactive Art Happening by resident artist Zelda at the Lace Mill.
Check out www.artwalkingston.com for information. There is an accompanying image for each artist, which helps people pre-select their visits in advance. The website also includes a map, which shows parking areas (annoyingly, the parking will be metered on Saturday). The organizers will also be printing out 1500 maps, which will be distributed at the Kingston Wine Company, Rough Draft, Village Coffee and Goods, and Artbar.
A new feature this year, Gonzalez said, are markers for bicyclists on the digital map. Solicitations from local businesses pay for the map, which is the main expense; major sponsors include R&F Handmade Paints, Bailey Pottery, Cornell Creative Arts, and the Midtown Arts District (which is sponsoring the group show at the Lace Mill). Gonzalez and Marston-Reid donate their time to organize the event, supplemented by the help of volunteers Barbara Scott, Scott Marston-Reid, Nancy Tierney and Rick Whelan.
The main driver for him and Marston-Reid is “the satisfaction of preserving the arts community,” Gonzalez said. A key component is the support to artists. Last year one artist was offered a gallery show in Manhattan thanks to a visit by a curator to her studio, while another one — van Meeuwen — was offered participation in an outdoor sculpture show at Wildenstein.
Yet another artist was visited by the owner of Wired Gallery, in High Falls, where she showed and sold work.
“You just don’t know who’s walking the door,” said Gonzalez. “I’ve run into people who were scouts for galleries and individual investors and collectors who are going to studios very quietly to network. Plus, more than half of the artists [last year] sold work.”
Added Marston-Reid: “One artist told me last year that she sold enough of her work during Art Walk to pay her studio rent for the whole year. Several other artists have mentioned curators walking around.”
Voulgarelis, owner of Ferrovia Studios, said that last year’s Art Walk helped her get tenants for her 14 studio spaces. “We had a very good turnout. and I filled the studios after Art Walk with the help of Instagram,” she said.
This year “there are a lot of different types of things for people to discover,” concluded Marston-Reid. After viewing the “amazing sculpture” at the outdoor exhibit space on Downs Street, she suggested, “people can go next door and have a coffee.”