On Saturday, August 7th, The Kingston Midtown Arts District (MAD) honored three champions of the arts in Kingston with their Annual Red Goat Awards. Marielena Ferrer, Rick Whelan and Susan Whelan received their awards at the 7th Annual MAD Celebration of the Arts kickoff event held at Barmann Park off Greenkill Avenue in Midtown.

The Red Goat Award, now in its 6th year, was originated in 2016 by the Midtown Arts District  to thank and honor members of our community for their outstanding service to the arts.  It was so named because the Red Goat is recognized as a symbol of grassroots artistic expression in Kingston. Ceramicist Sue Tirrell has been making the beautiful handcrafted Red Goat trophies from inception. 

“Each Red Goat Awardee has exhibited a deep commitment to the value and importance of the arts in Kingston and has contributed countless hours of work to that end in our community,” says Anne Bailey, president of the MAD board of directors.

Past honorees include: Lynn Woods and Adrielle Farr (2020); Pat Courtney Strong and Radio Kingston (2019); Bryant Drew Andrews and Lara Giordano (2018); Kevin O’Connor and Pauline Oliveros & Ione (2017); and Evry Mann and Nina Dawson (2016).

Marielena Ferrer is a socially engaged visual artist who serves on the Kingston Arts Commission.  She is the executive director of Humanamente, a diversity and inclusion consulting organization, and chairs the steering committee for the Alianza Cultural de Kingston, whose mission is to foment, preserve and celebrate the culture and traditions of our diverse Hispanic/Latino heritage communities.

Additionally, Marielena sits on the Family of Woodstock Board of Directors, Arts Mid-Hudson Advisory Board, and is a teaching artist at the Department of Regional Art Workers, the D.R.A.W., in Midtown Kingston.
Marielena has a diverse educational background including studies in architecture, leadership and empowerment, and mental health in marginalized communities. She is currently completing her studies in Sculpture at SUNY New Paltz.

Rick Whelan is an award-winning designer with more than 40 years experience in brand and corporate identity, print and interactive design. He and his firm Ditto! Design! collaborate with clients across diverse market sectors from corporations to nonprofits, local businesses and solopreneurs.

Affable, knowledgeable and down-to-earth, Rick is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts who is devoted to helping artists and arts organizations grow and thrive. Since arriving in Kingston in 2004, those benefiting from his branding and marketing expertise include the Arts Society of Kingston (ASK), Made in Kingston, Art Walk Kingston, Kingston Arts & Action Meetup (KAAM), Reher Center, Woodstock Symphony Orchestra, Kingston Midtown Arts District (MAD), and numerous individuals who make art to earn their living.

Susan Whelan is a local ceramist, Bailey Pottery employee, and life-long volunteer for the arts. A move upriver with her family in 2004 was a golden opportunity to join the Kingston arts community.  She found her friends and community at the Arts Society of Kingston and the Artist Soap Box Derby. Susan knows that volunteering provides important connections; creating community when we all are working together towards a common goal. In 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Susan coordinated the CommUnity Clay Project, a collaborative installation  of clay figures created by members of the Kingston Community.