1st Saturdays in Kingston

It’s been a tradition in Kingston since the ’90s that galleries open their doors on the first Saturday of every month to receive the public to view the month’s new exhibition. Throughout the years the First Saturday Guide has evolved in it format, scope and ownership.

Due to COVID-19, our last published gallery guide was in March 2020. We relaunched the Guide digitally in December 2021 to support and promote Kingston galleries and venues, Our goal is to spread the word that art is still happening in our fair city and galleries are open.

1st Saturday: A Brief History

Kingston’s 1st Saturday was the Hudson Valley’s first regular monthly gallery event when it originally launched in the mid-1990s. 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 Kingston 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 in Kingston have joined forces with them to inject their own artistic visions into Kingston. By capitalizing on Kingston’s exciting art history – and the combined power base of old and new creative energies – MAD has helped to establish the arts as a sustainable force in Kingston’s economy.

To join MAD’s 1st Saturday effort, please contact us: guide@madkingston.org