What is the Arts Society of Kingston?
- An umbrella organization for all manner of artistic education and performance
- A well-appointed venue, with two beautiful art galleries and a 99-seat performance space
- The Great Room for the Arts performance space includes a stage, curtains, lights, a sound system, and a beautiful oak floor ideal for dancing
- Gallery Openings each First Saturday of the month, 24 shows per year
- Discounted rates on use of space for our members
- Ample classroom space for classes or workshops
Members can benefit by seeking to realize an artistic vision at ASK with a specific project or exhibition.
Founded in 1995 by local artists in Kingston, NY, ASK today has grown to become a not-for-profit, 501-C-3, membership organization with over 300 members. Among ASK members you will find many talented, highly respected professional artists, as well as emerging artists and supporters of the arts.
In 2005, ASK acquired the building at 97 Broadway in Kingston and has been renovating it for use as its new headquarters, exhibition space and multi-arts center. In the Summer of 2015 we finished the renovation of the second floor of the building. Please see our Great Room page for more details.
The Arts Society of Kingston’s (ASK) mission is to enrich the quality of life by bringing artistic experiences to the communities of Kingston, Ulster and Dutchess Counties and the Mid-Hudson Valley. ASK provides a rich and vibrant range of visual art exhibitions, performances, workshops, classes, and other arts-related events in its multi-arts facility.
What does ASK offer for visual artists?
ASK provides opportunities to promote their work through group and solo exhibitions at ASK: during the year, ASK hosts 10-12 members’ shows in one of its galleries at its headquarters at 97 Broadway near the Rondout in Kingston, as well as shows of featured artists at the same location and off-premises shows elsewhere in the area. ASK’s ground floor is handicapped accessible, and a chair lift aids visitors to ride up or down the stairs for classes or performances upstairs.
ASK supports arts education in schools and colleges: ASK has hosted shows by Kingston High School and elementary schools student artists, as well as shows by Bard, Marist College, SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Ulster artists. ASK also regularly invites neighboring arts groups from the region to show at ASK, under the “Hello Neighbor” initiative.
What about the Performing Arts?
ASK is home to many performances including plays, musicals, dance, acoustic open mics, music performances, poetry readings and much more. ASK encourages members and non-members to bring their performances and productions to ASK. The ASK Great Room performance facilities, and the large classroom space are both excellent venues for a variety of artistic and educational initiatives.
1995 The Arts Society of Kingston is founded by a group of local artists, including Katharine L. McKenna, Chris Gonyea, Hendrik Dijk and Catherine Callahan. These four artists each took a director’s office and put $5.00 into the treasury for a grand total of $20, vowing to create and develop an artist networking organization in Kingston, NY.
1996 ASK produces the first Kingston Sculpture Biennial and the first Kingston Artist Studio Tour. ASK maintains its galleries in various rented spaces both in the Rondout and later on Front Street Uptown, and coordinates First Saturday gallery openings throughout Kingston.
2002 ASK starts the international Art Exchange “The Rhine-Hudson Bridge.” ASK invites 18 German artists to show their works in Kingston in 4 galleries, as well as at the German Consulate in NYC.
2003 As part of the German exchange, ASK brings the works of 25 of its members to Cologne, Germany for exhibition in four galleries.
2003 ASK redesigns its logo.
The German Federal Ministry of Health hosted the exhibition “Lichtpause”, featuring works by both the German and American partners aimed for visitors with visual difficulties. The exhibition was in Berlin’s Heinrich Kleist Gallery, part of the Health Ministry complex.
2004 ASK intensifies the publicity surrounding the First Saturday art crawl in Kingston, NY by adding a regular listing and map of the events and venues. In cooperation with Michael Hein, ASK coordinates the Tanks Project in the Rondout, Kingston: the initiative produces several large scale reproductions of art works that are mounted on oil storage tanks as a community art exhibit.
2005 ASK purchases the Police Academy building, built in 1927. The first floor includes two galleries, the spacious Main Gallery, suitable for large group shows or major solo shows, and the Members’ Lounge Gallery, a more intimate space, designed also as a place for members to gather, relax, and chat with other artists and art lovers. Many volunteers continue working to clear and stabilize the upstairs for its eventual use as a performance space.
2006 ASK hires its first Executive Director, Vindora Wixom. Formerly acting as both Vice President and then President of the Board, Vindora had contributed to ASK’s credibility by organizing the German exchanges.
2007 ASK partners with the Kingston Daily Freeman to produce ARTWORKS, a monthly publication that includes the First Saturday guide and map, as well as articles about other galleries and artists in the Mid-Hudson region. This successful partnership continues for several years.
2007 ASK receives a $52,000 grant from NYSCA. A year later ASK hires a NYSCSA consultant to help define ASK governance, mission statement and by-laws.
2010 ASK completes the new outdoor staircase and fire escape.
2012 ASK gives out its first ASKar Award at its annual Gala. The ASKar awards are given annually to recognize local artists whose reputations extend beyond the Mid-Hudson Valley. Previous nominees have included: Peter Schickele, Phillip Petit, Pauline Oliveros, Garry Kvistad, Mark Braunstein, Trina Greene, Mary Anna Goetz, George Tsontakis, Carol Pepper-Cooper and others.
2013 ASK begins to renovate the Great Room for the Arts on the second floor. Building on the groundwork laid by years of volunteer work, the project moves on to work that requires professional contractors, like roof replacement and HVAC systems.
2013 ASK relaunches the website and introduces an update to the logo.
2015 ASK completes renovations on the second floor Great Room, and inaugurates the space with its annual Gala in May. The upstairs classroom and the Great Room for the arts host a variety of artistic productions, and are also available for members and the community to rent out for their events. The Great Room has hosted tango, swing dancing, and belly dancing, theater, standup comedy, and a variety of musical performances. ASK invites the public to bring more ideas for events and performances in this wonderful space, and to join ASK in support of this valuable community space for the arts.