The vibrant Hudson Valley arts scene has refused to be cowed by COVID-19, and in fact new initiatives have been launched throughout the pandemic from virtual exhibitions to outdoor art displays. Local organizations the Kingston Midtown Arts District (MAD) and Arts Society of Kingston (ASK) are currently looking for submissions for the inaugural Kingston Annual 2020 art competition. The exhibition will feature local artists of all mediums who either work or live in the mid-Hudson region.
Coronavirus forced the organizers to rethink their inaugural event in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. “The planning for this annual exhibition predates the COVID-19 outbreak. The Arts Society of Kingston and the Kingston Midtown Arts District designed the Kingston Annual to be the premier regional fine arts exhibition, unlike any other in the Mid-Hudson Valley,” says MAD marketing and communications director Rick Whelan. Original plans for an exhibition in the ASK galleries, as well as an opening ceremony and in-person painting demonstrations had to be scrapped.
Despite these casualties, the Kingston Annual 2020 will still include special treats. Joining the ranks of these artistic locals will be world renowned multimedia artist Judy Pfaff, who has been invited to participate as a guest artist. The Tivoli resident has garnered a reputation as a “pioneer of installation art,” and has won multiple awards like the MacArthur Foundation Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
The deadline for artists to submit was recently extended to July 31. Works will be showcased at the ASK galleries in Kingston from September 5-27, pandemic-permitting. The works will also be shown in an online gallery that will be available for a year.
MAD began operating in 2013 as a coalition of volunteers with the goal of creating a flourishing art center in Midtown Kingston. The more than 400 artists and arts-based enterprises that are now located in Midtown Kingston have fostered community development and economic revitalization of the area.
“The Midtown Arts District is excited to partner this year with the Art Society of Kingston for The Kingston Annual 2020,” says Anne Bailey, president of MAD’s board. Since 2005 ASK has been providing a dynamic variety of visual art exhibitions, performances, workshops, classes, and other events in their multi-arts facility.
- Portrait by Robin Holland
- Julie Hedrick, Kingston Distinguished Artist Awardee and Kingston Annual 2020 curator.
“The show, which will be curated by Kingston’s Distinguished Artist Awardee, Julie Hedrick, will undoubtedly be the first public art show since the pandemic,” Bailey says. Hedrick is a Kingston-based painter who has had her work exhibited in the United States, Canada, Colombia, and Europe. “The number of exceptional artists living in the Hudson Valley at this time is historic,” she says.
The submissions deadline for Kingston Annual 2020 is July 31. All selected works will be featured in the online gallery. Aside from inclusion in the 2020 exhibit, the contest also includes cash prizes: $500 for 1st place, $250 for 2nd, and $150 for 3rd $150.