A Unifying Arts Focus to Revitalize and Enrich Our Community
We wanted to shine a positive light on Midtown and draw attention to its arts-rich community. The idea was to use that as a platform for countywide interest in strengthening and investing in Midtown Kingston—and it has worked.
– Anne Bailey, President, MAD Board of Directors
Reviving A Once-Vibrant Industrial Hub Through the Arts
In the 19th century, Kingston’s Midtown district was a thriving industrial district: Today, dozens of arts-related businesses and housing facilities have successfully repurposed these historic buildings following decades of neglect.
The transformation began in 2013 when artists, artisans, businesses and residents started to discuss how designating a Kingston Midtown Arts District (MAD) could spark economic development. Four manufacturing businesses employing more than 60 people — Bailey Pottery Equipment, R&F Handmade Paints, ColorPage and American Made Monster Studios — joined with Cornell Street Studios, and two developers of artist live/work lofts and apartments — Mike Piazza and RUPCO — to lead the way forward.
During the next two years, 70 volunteers researched arts districts in other cities and identified ways to create economic and community revitalization that would be inclusive for artists, businesses and residents. In 2016, with the official launch of the annual MAD Celebration of the Arts and, the following year, a re-invigoration of 1st Saturday, the larger community became aware of the coalition’s work.
MAD formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2017. That same year, MAD hired a part-time bookkeeper and an accountant, expanded its Board of Directors to seven members, and recruited a diverse and talented MAD Advisory Board.
Established: A Significant Arts Identity in Midtown Kingston
Today, nearly 40 Midtown buildings are devoted to arts-based uses and more than 400 jobs and arts livelihoods have been generated. New projects are underway, including lofts for technology creatives, more housing for artists and mid- to low-income residents, a film production facility, additional artist studios and more.
Creating a significant arts identity in Midtown has sparked beneficial economic, public safety and aesthetic impacts – both on and off Broadway – throughout Kingston’s midtown neighborhoods.
Since the MAD was established, abandoned/dilapidated buildings have been restored, property values have increased and arts-related jobs have grown. Vibrant street activity has resulted in greater public safety, retail traffic and sales tax revenues. The City of Kingston has attracted grants for public improvements and neighborhood development, and opportunities for Midtown artists, businesses, residents and visitors continue to expand. Kingston is home to a significant population of world-renowned artists and performers who reside full- or part-time in the area, and galleries have benefited from improved visibility.
Kingston Midtown Arts District is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.