“Immigrant Gifts to America” contributions and struggles of foreign settlers in Ulster County, NY is presented by the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History (a project of the Jewish Federation of Ulster County) located in the Rondout section of Kingston, NY, the Arts Society of Kingston (ASK) also in the Rondout and the James Cox Gallery at Woodstock in Willow, NY. Scheduled through May 28th are 2 exhibits, as well as stories of Hudson Valley immigrant artists, films depicting immigrant encounters, a workshop exploring immigrant losses, and a lecture about renowned immigrant Woodstock “outsider artist” Joseph Garlock. See www.askforarts.org for schedule.
The exhibition “Outsider Artist” Joseph Garlock, is courtesy of James Cox Gallery, Woodstock, NY. Arts Spanning Cultures includes work by 17 first-generation ASK member artists from Iran, Turkey, Italy, Belgium, China, Cuba, Austria, Japan, Germany, Ukraine, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Romania and Azerbaijan. Quite a mixture and the quite excellent art varied as well: paintings, constructions, sculpture.
During this May exhibition there will be informal tours of the Reher Center, a century-old former corner bakery (corner of Spring Street— where a spring still runs below ground— and Broadway) that was owned and operated by two generations of an immigrant family from 1908-2004. A project of the Jewish Federation of Ulster County the Reher Center is restoring the bakery building, which has original baking ovens and preserved apartments upstairs where the Reher family lived. When complete, the center will have an exhibition hall, library, archive and retail area and will be open to students, educators, genealogists and anyone else interested in the role immigration plays in shaping the evolving identity of New York’s Hudson Valley. Individuals who remember the Bakery and other immigrants who settled in this area are encouraged to contact the Center with their stories. (www.rehercenter.org)
Jewish Federation of Ulster County is a community building organization that enriches Jewish life locally, nationally, in Israel and around the world by helping those in need and fostering Jewish values for the greater good. Some of the programs include the Annual Multi-Cultural Block Party, Scholarships, Fall for Art Juried Art Show and cocktail party that benefits area charities and features artists living in and around Ulster County. They are also the sponsors of Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) and the Reher Center. (www.ucjf.org)
Founded in 1995 by local artists in Kingston, NY, ASK has grown to become an organization with over 300 members. There are 2 very substantial galleries and an office space on the first floor and upstairs classrooms, painting studios and a very large theater space that is also available for events (I understand there was a wedding just this past weekend!). Each month exhibits, lectures, demos, performances, storytelling, movies and classes fill their calendar (see askforarts.org). I’ve attended numerous events and exhibitions at ASK and have not been disappointed. Under the leadership of Vindora Wixom and an energetic and hard working Board ASK continues to grow in importance for the Hudson Valley Arts Community. Coming up next weekend (and I believe there are still some tickets available) is their Gala 2016: Night of the ASKARS honoring artist Trina Greene, The Coach House Players and George Tsontakis composer and conductor who is the Composer in Residence at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. (www.askforarts.org)
The James Cox Gallery, Woodstock located just outside of the well-known arts community of Woodstock, NY. The emphasis is on twentieth and twenty-first century artists and their extensive inventory includes well-known American painters and sculptors. The gallery offers appraisals, restoration, estate management, auctions and will research and consult in most areas of American art. (www.jamescoxgallery.com)