BRAVO! A Smashing Success!

The 4th Annual MAD Celebration of the Arts on Friday night was fantastic! More than 300 artists and arts lovers christened the future home of the Cornell Creative Business & Arts Center at The Arc of Ulster-Greene with abundant artistic talent, positive community energy and strong support for the arts in Kingston.

The annual all-volunteer labor of love for the arts kicked off at a dedication ceremony for the Pauline Oliveros Deep Listening Plaza. A parade of revelers marched into the Center where a vibrant exhibit of original art encircled an inspiring evening of music and dance. MAD Board President Anne Bailey opened the MAD Celebration of the Arts with these words: “When each person does a little something for someone else in their community, the world becomes a better place. This is what MAD is all about, working together to strengthen our community so all voices are heard.”

The Percussion Orchestra of Kingston (POOK) and Energy Dance Company got things started with an exuberant, well-choreographed performance by some of Kingston’s most up-and-coming dancers—with giant and colorful Arm of the Sea paper mache processional figures bopping to the beat in the background. The dancers and percussionists struck just the right vibe to let everyone know this night was dedicated to excellence in the arts in all of its many expressions.

City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble attended with his wife, Julie, and son, Matthew, and reiterated his longstanding commitment to and recognition of the arts’ power as an economic engine as well as “a miraculous thing to inspire you and bring the community closer together.”

Ray Curran, vice president of the MAD Board of Directors, was the evening’s eloquent master of ceremonies who introduced the performances, all of which were curated by pianist, composer, and the City of Kingston’s Distinguished Artist, Peter Wetzler. The musical program embraced diverse stylistic and cultural borders, and the featured artists included: Jamie Saft and New Zion, Greek Night, Kingston Alderwoman Andrea Shaut, Eleni Reyes, Peter Wetzler, Donnie Mapes and The Hipstones. A grant from New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) provided funding to pay the artists for their performances.

The Pop-Up Art Show, “Together,” was co-curated by renowned painter, Julie Hedrick, City of Kingston’s Distinguished Artist, and Sarah Carlson, MAD Board of Directors. The show included artists of all abilities, including several from The Arc of Ulster-Greene, as well as Neville Bean, Leslie Bender, Micah Blumenthal, Ray Curran, Nancy Donskoj, Kevin Frank, Lara Giordano, Julie Hedrick, Riley Johndonnell, Joe LaLima, Felix Olivieri, Kazuma Oshita, Charlotte Tusch and Tibetan artist and photographer, Kunsang Tenzin.

The Red Goat Awards, bestowed by last year’s winner of the Red Goat Award, IONE, and MAD Board of Directors Treasurer, Richard Frumess, respectively, were presented to Drew Andrews, from Center for Creative Education, and Lara Giordano, from PUGG and D.R.A.W. In accepting his award, Andrews urged the audience to “push past all those boundaries of what you think you can’t do, find your purpose in life and live your purpose with no apologies.” Giordano emphasized the importance of arts education and equally stressed a strong imperative to create art: “Even though I’m all about collaboration, I’m always art-first. Use your creativity, be expressive, and that’s just fine.”

Following months of planning and culminating in the final weeks of production, the annual MAD Celebration of the Arts was a tremendous success. Bravo to all the dedicated volunteers who worked together to make this the best one yet! Got ideas for our 5th Anniversary Celebration of the Arts in 2019? Send them to

Click any photo to start the slideshow. Many thanks to Gloria Waslyn for all photos.