A helicopter tour of Kingston would reveal huge splotches of color, two to three stories high, blooming on the sides of the city’s historic buildings. Hovering in closer, these color fields would come into focus as the creative signature of the city: murals, the lasting souvenirs of the annual O+ Festival.
The murals throughout Kingston are a visual signifier of the city’s thriving arts community. Midtown hums as a low-key hub of art fabrication, with big players like Lite Brite Neon, R&F Handmade Paints, Bailey Pottery, Workshop, and American Monster Studio. Nearby, the Lace Mill offers affordable artist housing. Every September during Art Walk Kingston, the city’s scores of artists throw open the doors to their studios in a corridor of creativity that stretches from the Stockade district uptown to the Rondout waterfront. But for the rest of the year, these artists are mostly working behind closed doors. So we’ve rounded up six of Kingston’s primary galleries where you can see the work of local artists on display.
108 East Strand, Kingston
ArtPort is an exhibition space housed in the historic Cornell Steamboat Building, offering direct access to the Rondout Creek waterfront. Built in 1906, the cavernous brick building is a relic from the heyday of maritime shipping, when Kingston’s ports connected the D&H Canal and New York City. With a soaring ceiling, industrial fixtures, oversized windows, and exposed brick, the Cornell Building is an impressive and adaptable setting for art exhibitions, installations, and programming. The artists represented span medium and material, from fiber to neon, sculpture to collage. ArtBuoy, a pop-up event space on the Strand, and Artstream, the Cornell Building’s grounds and the outdoor space along the Rondout Creek Riverwalk Trail, provide additional environments for exhibiting site-specific artworks, installations, sculptures, and performances. While Artstream is dedicated to the work of regional artists, ArtBuoy accepts proposals from individuals and galleries outside the region.
97 Broadway, Kingston
Located on Broadway, the Arts Society of Kingston is both at the literal and metaphorical center of Kingston’s art scene. This nonprofit curates a range of visual art exhibitions, performances, workshops, classes, and other arts-related events in its Midtown facility, which includes two galleries and a 99-person performance theater. Founded in 1995 by local artists, the organization has over 300 members, ranging from professional artists, to emerging talent, and supporters of the arts. In addition to the two gallery shows per month, ASK’s performance hall hosts myriad ASK plays, musicals, dance, acoustic open mics, music shows, and poetry readings and much more. Both members and nonmembers can put on a performance at this venue.
229 Greenkill Avenue, Kingston
Founded by artist David Schell and his partner Yuriko Sasamoto, Green Kill is pioneering a new, inclusive, artist-driven gallery model. The peer-to-peer approach relies on artists referring and recommending other artists to participate in Green Kill, catalyzing a chain reaction. Beyond just visual arts, Green Kill also invites performers and writers; student, outsider, and established artists. In addition to monthly art exhibitions, Green Kill also hosts a wide range of live events, in person and streaming online.
56 North Front Street, Kingston, NY 12401
Since 2019, Pinkwater owner Anne Sanger has curated shows by artists living and working in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, representing just over a dozen artists. The gallery on North Front Street features tall, pressed-tin ceilings, warm white walls, and hardwood floors with ample natural light. In a savvy pandemic-era pivot, Sanger launched the a la Maison collection. Embracing the influx of new residents in the region, Sanger picks paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculpture with an eye toward beautifying living spaces. Using rugs, furniture, tabletops, and plants to stage visual vignettes, she exhibits the artwork in a way that makes it easy for visitors to imagine the pieces in their own homes. "Nothing avant-garde is going on here," Sanger says—and once the pieces are bought they go home with the buyer and another piece goes up.
475 Abeel St, Kingston
One Mile Gallery is under the deft direction of curator Janet Hicks, who represents Mark Hogancamp in addition to being the VP of the international nonprofit Artist Rights Society and the founder of the nascent OMG Art Faire. Through her work with the Artists Rights Society, which is dedicated to protecting and promoting the intellectual property of artists, Hicks is connected to creatives around the globe. Consequently her gallery, located in one of the few remaining 18th-century buildings in the Rondout district, represents both local and international artists, some well-established, some emerging.
29 W Strand St, Kingston
Located on Kingston’s waterfront, West Strand Gallery, founded by artists and spouses Isabel Alvarez and Julio Nazario, features group and solo exhibitions arranged by various guest curators. Exhibits span media, including painting, photography, installation, and video. Alvarez and Nazario hope to amplify the community’s exposure to unknown and emerging artists in the city creating an inclusive space that represents diverse identities in the art world. With their backgrounds in academia and visual arts, the couple have shared a vision of opening an art gallery in Kingston for years.