Art’s Power to Be an Agent of Change

A moment from last year's Celebration of the Arts EXPO

A moment from last year’s Celebration of the Arts EXPO

by Neville Bean – MAD Volunteer and former MAD Board Vice-President

I began volunteering with MAD several years ago, drawn to the special mix of people that make Kingston such a vibrant, creative city. MAD is made up of an eclectic array of personalities with different perspectives. That said, we all share a belief in the power of the creative arts to be an agent of change.

One vision is the idea of a midtown “Creative Campus”. The goal is to create powerful collaborations with local arts organizations, arts businesses and maker’s spaces and engage the artists who fill the Shirt factory, Brush Factory and The Lace Mill through MAD’s own DRAW Studio and Neighborhood Print Studio. It’s a heady mix and Midtown is gradually blossoming, step by step!

My participation in MAD has brought me a new appreciation of how like-minded people can bring about change and collectively help our city thrive. Life’s challenges require creative thinking. Engaging in art or performance can unlock a place in your psyche – allowing alternatives and unexpected revelations. Art is problem solving. Art is expansive. Art is an opening for dialog.

Among the many amazing events that MAD sponsors each year is the Celebration of the Arts EXPO. Hosted at Kingston Center of SUNY Ulster on Saturday, July 13th., the Event is FREE to everyone in the community. There are no signups and materials are provided. The day will be filled with workshops taught by professional artist teachers.

I love this event – everyone is invited to participate or observe, as they wish. Look up a workshop that catches your eye and dive right in. Wander in and out of workshops and observe. Join in and create something to take home. Come for one workshop or stay the day. The idea is to have a hands-on experience – an introduction to a form of art you may not have known about or to engage with a great teacher in a process you’ve always wanted to explore.

There is a dedicated clay room with demonstrations and workshops. Add your bit to the community clay pot! Check out the music and movement workshops. There’s a room dedicated to all things photographic and another specializing in printing arts. Bring your family, bring a friend. Life is a multi-generational adventure! It’s inspiring and Lots of fun – Enjoy!

This article is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Kingston Wire and the Midtown Arts District.