Kudos for the 2019 MAD Celebration of the Arts Expo

The 2019 Celebration of the Arts Expo was fantastic—and, for the first time, hands-on! Unlike the previous four years of performances and exhibits celebrating the arts in Kingston, this year MAD was all about making art and encouraging people to get involved, get inspired and learn from artists demonstrating their techniques and skills in a wide array of artistic media.

The beautiful Community Collage, which almost everyone got to participate in making, was a highlight of the Expo. This exciting group effort, led by Talya Baharal and Fran O’Neil, has found a permanent home in The Kingston Library, where it will be installed in late October. MAD will invite the public to an opening reception on 1st Saturday, November 2.

Here’s what a few of the MAD Board members and volunteers had to say about this year’s Expo. We hope you enjoy browsing through our photo gallery too!

Ray Curran, Vice President, MAD Board of Directors
I estimate attendance was about 350 people and the Expo represented the greatest diversity I’ve ever seen at any Kingston event. People were thrilled with the experience, and I heard that mentioned by the owners of Monkey Joe’s who benefited from the crowd after the event. The Board sees the Celebration of the Arts as the signature event for MAD [and the Expo] powerfully reflected the full mission of our organization. We will be tweaking it in a number of small ways to make it even better next year.

Neville Bean, MAD Board of Directors
It was a pleasure to see Kingstonians of all ages—including children and parents, whole families, young adults and older folks—all intently engaged in a variety of creative disciplines, creating together and learning new techniques.

The EXPO provided many opportunities to learn new skills and walk away with an original creation! Maria Elena Ferrer-Harrington conducted a fascinating ethnic mask making workshop that gathered a multigenerational crowd and generated wonderfully creative masks. Felix Olivieri led his group to create some terrific helmets and hats which participants sported throughout the day. Read the descriptions of the other workshops for more examples.

The collaborative spirit of Kingston was alive and well with the creation of the Community Collage, facilitated by Talya Baharal and Fran O’Neil. Participants added their own personal touch to what evolved over the course of the day into a richly layered evocative mixed media artwork—one of the security officers even took part!

The clay room was a big success! Co-facilitated by Bailey Pottery and Kingston Ceramics Studio, people of all ages got their hands in the clay, decorated tiles, participated in wheel throwing demonstrations by Kingston Ceramic’s Alexis Feldheim, and watched demonstrations. Everyone had a great time, and we will definitely expand the clay offerings next year.

Another great feature of the clay room was the Community Coil Pot that was built over the course of the day by participants who added their personally decorated coil (facilitated by Bailey Pottery’s own Susan Whelan.) The project reflects the diverse community made strong with a collaboration of many hands.

Anne Bailey, President, MAD Board of Directors
The Expo was a very successful event in every way. Because of the expert planning of our events committee and the dedicated work of the MAD Communications Committee, hundreds upon hundreds of community members of every age and background came to SUNY Ulster in Kingston to take a free art workshop. For many, it was their first art experience. Many participants ventured into things they had never tried before and everyone had lots of fun trying to get creative.

There were more 20 workshops to choose from. We had mask making, watercolors, Japanese brush painting, African story telling, singing, theater, hip-hop dancing, instrument making, jewelry making, digital film making, and pottery and tile making. It was a real Kingston happening with every classroom filled beyond capacity with eager participants of every age.

Because of a generous grant from Arts Mid-Hudson and the financial sponsorships from local businesses, we were able to create a fun and exciting day around the arts. It will be happily remembered by all the participants, as well as by all the artists who organized the fantastic workshops.

MAD is especially grateful to SUNY Ulster in Kingston who supported this project from the very beginning and was instrumental in making this Expo a reality. In this sense it was a true collaboration of artists, the city, the college and the community. I am deeply appreciative of the MAD volunteers who gave their time and energy to this wonderful project. It proved, once again, when we work together great things happen!

Lisa Kelly, Producer, 2019 Celebration of the Arts Expo
As the producer of the Celebration of the Arts, I’m so delighted at the success of our first Expo event! It is so rewarding to work with MAD and all of the participating artists and community members that came together to offer this event to our city. MAD rose to the occasion and that is a source of pride for us all.

Richard Frumess, Treasurer, MAD Board of Directors
Among other things that this year’s Celebration of the Arts demonstrated by having people actually participate in the arts was how the arts are a great tool for bringing Kingston’s many communities together. It also underscored that a major function of MAD has become arts education. The D.R.A.W., which joined MAD this year, teaches classes in multiple arts disciplines throughout the year at its facilities at the YMCA.