1st Saturday: A New Plan
Kingston Midtown Arts District (MAD) has initiated a partnership to revive and expand Kingston’s 1st Saturday gallery openings tradition. Business Alliance of Kingston stalwart Nancy Donskoj and ARTBAR Gallery owner Ali Constant launched Kingston Gallery Business Group (KGBG) to lead the partnership and create a center of gravity for Kingston’s many galleries and 1st Saturday venues. Through this 1st Saturday partnership, MAD and KGBG aim to serve and attract a growing sector of Kingston artists, arts-based businesses and art lovers.
With more than two dozen galleries and arts venues regularly open on 1st Saturday – most in Midtown – MAD is optimistic about plans to rebuild Kingston’s historically large 1st Saturday crowds.
1st Saturday: A Brief History
Launched in the mid-1990s, Kingston’s 1st Saturday was the Hudson Valley’s first regular monthly gallery event. It inspired Art Along the Hudson, which held similar events in nearly a dozen communities. By the early 2000s, Kingston’s 1st Saturday was drawing 3,000 visitors. The buzz prompted Business Week and others to wax eloquent about Kingston in features profiling the economic impact of artists nationwide.
During this high-energy time for the arts, Kingston’s 1st Saturday, the Kingston Sculpture Biennial and the Kingston Artists’ Soapbox Derby all began and drew tens of thousands of visitors throughout the year.
Several other efforts also came together, including a popular citywide children’s art exhibit. Art galleries pooled their lists to promote regular monthly openings. The Arts Society of Kingston (ASK) was formed and began to issue 1st Saturday press releases. A gallery guide evolved and later the trolley was used to create a hop on/hop off way to visit arts venues, eateries and shops from Uptown to Rondout.
1st Saturday: A Sustainable Economic Force
Many of the original 1st Saturday artists remain active in Kingston’s art scene, and today newer artists who live or work into Kingston are joining forces with them and injecting their own artistic visions on Kingston. MAD hopes to capitalize on its exciting art history – and the combined power of its old and new creative energies – to establish the arts as a sustainable force in Kingston’s economy.
To join MAD’s 1st Saturday effort, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org