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Art Walk Kingston 

click to enlarge art by Rondout-based Courtney Starrett
  • art by Rondout-based Courtney Starrett

Art Walk Kingston was conceived over a glass of wine between friends, as many a good plan has been hatched. Joe Gonzalez and Linda Marston-Reid asked themselves, “What’s missing in Kingston’s vibrant arts scene?” They began planning an art walk and studio tour. Gonzalez is a producer, project manager, and coordinator for all types of arts programming, and Marston-Reid is Executive Director of Arts Mid-Hudson, the nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to engaging and promoting the arts across the region. Arts Mid-Hudson serves as an organizing partner for Art Walk Kingston in collaboration with community volunteers and artists. When Gonzalez and Marston-Reid shared their idea with area artists through a survey, fifty responded positively. “We felt like there’s a hunger and an audience for doing something like this,” Gonzalez says. In six or seven months, they gathered 70 participating artists for the first Art Walk Kingston in 2016, including private studios and galleries, who welcomed both local visitors and people from New York City, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Gonzalez feels the amount of effort people put into attending that first Art Walk Kingston says a lot about the caliber of artists here.

Kingston is filled with artists of all stripes. On display at the Art Walk Kingston is everything from paintings and photographs to jewelry and ceramics. Celebrating the variety of arts and the local community, the second Art Walk Kingston is set for the weekend of September 23rd and 24th, when the public is invited to visit artist studios and art galleries across the city. The tour meanders Kingston’s three distinct neighborhoods–Uptown, Midtown, and the Rondout. They’ll see a variety of creative approaches like mixed-media paintings by Ann Haaland, contemporary sculpture by Harris Diamant, furniture by Johnny Poux Design, and handmade musical instruments by Chris Andersen. Performance and experiential events will be included during the Art Walk Kingston weekend, including live readings and performances at the Lace Mill, and a Shakespeare-inspired art exhibit opening by Judy Sigunick at the LGBTQ Center. O+ Mural walking tours will happen on Saturday afternoon, in anticipation of the arts, health, and wellness weekend which happens in Kingston during Columbus Day weekend. There are over 90 participating artists and galleries this year, including Matthew Pleva, Jane Bloodgood-Abrams, and Kingston Ceramics Studio.
click to enlarge performance still by Shirt Factory-based Nina Isabelle
  • performance still by Shirt Factory-based Nina Isabelle

Artists might make connections for gallery representation or connect with collectors, but it’s also about the pure interaction between the public and the artist. Gonzalez says the open studio tour is an intimate experience where people can meet artists and see where their work is made. “It’s for the city; it’s for the artists; it’s for the local community and the larger community to come visit the city,” Gonzalez explains. “It’s all about community in one aspect or another.”

Art Walk Kingston happens throughout the City of Kingston’s Uptown, Midtown, and Rondout neighborhoods: September 23rd and 24th; 12-5p; self-guided; free. View the interactive map online, or pick up a paper copy available at multiple locations. Plenty of merchants and restaurants will have special offerings throughout the weekend. Visit Art Walk Kingston’s Facebook page for more info.

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