The City of Kingston, NY

    Welcome to the City of Kingston, NY

    Kingston, dating to the arrival of the Dutch in 1652, is a vibrant city with rich history and architecture, was the state's first capital, and a thriving arts community. City Hall is in the heart of the community at 420 Broadway, and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except July & August (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).  Come tour our historic City, with restaurants that are among the region's finest, and local shopping that promises unique finds.

    Historic Churches

    Kingston is home to many historic churches. The oldest church still standing is the First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kingston which was organized in 1659. Referred to as The Old Dutch Church, it is located in Uptown Kingston. Many of the city's historic churches populate Wurts street (6 in one block) among them Hudson Valley Wedding Chapel is a recently restored church built in 1867 and now a chapel hosting weddings. Another church in the Rondout is located at 72 Spring Street. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1849. The original church building at the corner of Hunter Street and Ravine Street burned to the ground in the late 1850s. The current church on Spring Street was built in 1874.

    Kingston, NY

    Kingston became New York's first capital in 1777, and was burned by the British on October 13, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga. In the 19th century, the city became an important transport hub after the discovery of natural cement in the region, and had both railroad and canal connections.

    Kingston, NY

    The town of Rondout, New York, now a part of the city of Kingston, became an important freight hub for the transportation of coal from Honesdale, Pennsylvania to New York City through the Delaware and Hudson Canal. This hub was later used to transport other goods, including bluestone. Kingston shaped and shipped most of the bluestone made to create the sidewalks of New York City.

     

    Contact Us

    City Hall Address:
    420 Broadway
    Kingston, New York
    12401

    Phone:
    (845) 331-0080

    Exhibitions at City Hall

    City Hall is proud to serve as both a municipal building, and a gateway to the City of Kingston. In an effort to bring art to our local public spaces, the ground floor of City Hall has transitioned into a space for exhibitions. The Ground Floor Gallery has been developed through the collaboration of prominent local arts organizations, including Arts Mid-Hudson and the Midtown Arts District.

    If you are interested in displaying your work at City Hall, please contact  

    The Department of Art & Cultural Affairs or The Kingston Arts Commission.

     

    CURRRENT EXHIBITION:

     

    Past, Present & Future

    A Black History Month Kingston Exhibition

     Curated in partnership with Broadway Arts

     

    Featured Artists:

    Sadee Brathwaite, Sanaai Cook, Daziah Davis, Benjamin Eichert, Annie Galmore, Myles Gordon, IONE, Ceilia McFarland, Micah, Neema Muanda, Tamerin Perez-Alleyne, Chloe Redd, Cassandra & Anthony Salamone, and Tafari Saunders.

    Past, Present & Future features works from Ernest Fraizer and Benjamin Wigfall, on loan from their respective estates.

     

    Past, Present & Future is an intergenerational exhibition celebrating the work of some of Kingston's African-American artists. Past, Present & Future was developed in partnership with Black History Month Kingston, and curated with Liz Baker of Broadway Arts. Artists were invited to submit works of art that they wanted to share with visitors to City Hall. Past, Present & Future features work from emerging artist from Kingston High School, along with local established artists. The family's of two of Kingston's renowned artists; Ernest Frazier & Ben Wigfall, generously loaned two works of art for display. Black History Month reminds our community of the importance of acknowledging our past, thinking critically about the present, and creating communal goals for the future. The City of Kingston is honored to provide a space for the display of so many engaging works from artists of color.

     

    About the Artists:

     

    Sadee Brathwaite

    Professional Artist, Arts Facilitator

    Sadee Brathwaite is an artist, advisor and arts facilitator. Her workshops engage and educate children and adults through playful self-expression. She was the founder of La Leona Arts – an arts organization specializing in promoting artistic initiatives, community development and creative consulting in the Hudson Valley, NY, and beyond, for seven years. She studied art history at Kingston University in London, 2003, and holds a BFA in Painting/ Drawing from the State University of New York at New Paltz, 2004.

    Brathwaite makes paintings and drawings about archetypes, ancient and modern symbols, ancient cosmologies, beliefs, and myths. She utilizes universal themes to tell personal and global stories. As an ordained Minister/Priestess of Maåt for more than a decade, she advises people in life, in creativity, and in spirituality, to help them heal and grow as spiritual, enlightened beings. She continually draws upon the rich legacies of the ancestors to explore the mysteries of life.


    Sanaai Cook

     Kingston High School Student

    My time in photography was rough at first because my negative would never come out and it was super easy to get frustrated. I got the hang of it overtime and it was so fun. I loved the darkroom so much. That was my favorite part. I loved seeing my pictures come out and I learned so many things I probably never would have learned if it wasn’t for photography. I’m extremely grateful I got the opportunity to take this class. It’s great with teaching good time management skills, responsibility, and it’s a good way to express yourself creatively. 

     

    Ben Eichert

    Lace Mill Resident, Professional Photographer 

    Benjamin truly believes in the power of photography. In 2001, he found this love to create by blending separate images to make his visions of how he felt and was dealing with his issues. In 2016, a photograph from his favorite artist saved his life-literally. That is when he knew that art and photography had the power to help and transform the lives of not only himself, but others as well. Selflessness, understanding and caring are at the top of Benjamin’s priority list. 

     

    Annie Galmore

    ARC Community Member

    My name is Annie Galmore. I’m a local artist and I like to paint pictures of houses and flowers. I’ve been an artist for a long time! I enjoy selling my paintings for money, so that I can go on vacations, go to the movies, go to Loft Parties, and go to Self-Advocacy meetings. I’m a lot of fun and energetic, which shows in my painting by way of vibrant colors! When I’m not working on my next masterpiece, I enjoy helping people that are in need of assistance, because I like to make a difference in people’s lives.

     

    Miles Gordon

    Kingston High School Student

    I guess you can say I enjoy taking photos but I did not realize how much more I could enjoy taking photos until I took a Darkroom Photography class. It is hard to explain why I like it. There is an aspect of photography that is very gratifying. It is way different than taking a photo with a digital camera or a cell phone. With a film camera, you totally in charge of the outcome. You take more time to capture your shot because there is more to think about. When you invest more time into taking the shot, processing the film, then watching it come to life in the develop tray is magical. Every nuance of the image is because of your decisions efforts.

    Taking this shot of tree was eye opening for me. I never thought about the beauty you can find just by looking up and seeing the world in a different way. Suddenly the oldness of this tree caught my attention. I was admiring the texture of its bark, and the branches and leaves broke up the space in the sky in a nice display of light and dark. I knew it was worth to take the shot because I felt a sense of excitement and I knew it would just be awesome in black and white.

     

    IONE

    Professional Artist, Author, Kingston Arts Commissioner

    IONE is the recipient of the 2019 Arts Mid Hudson Individual Artists Award and a Certificate of Merit from the General Assembly of the State of New York. IONE is an author / playwright / director and an improvising text-sound artist. She has taught and performed throughout the world. IONE's memoir, Pride of Family; Four Generations of American Women of Color, was a New York Times Notable Book on its publication.  A journalist for many years IONE, published in major magazines and newspapers throughout the 80s including The Village Voice, The Gannett Chain, and Vogue.  Other works include Listening in Dreams, Piramida Negra, Nile Night, and  Spell Breaking 1 and 2 Anthologies. She was Artistic Director of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. for 15 years and currently is a Deep Listening Certification Instructor at the Center for Deep Listening in Troy, NY.  As Founding Director of M.o.M., Inc. (The Ministry of Maåt), in Kingston, NY since 1997, IONE teaches workshops and seminars throughout the world, encouraging and supporting women’s well-being and sustaining a vibrant international community of writers, visual artists, and musicians.

     

    Celia McFarland

    Kingston High School Student

    While taking a photo you freeze reality and reveal a way of feeling and loving. When people hear the word photography they think of photos, but I feel emotions and words to connect others. Darkroom photos have taught me that photo is much more than just a click. The photo you see here represents the inside of someone. On the inside, someone may seem dark and cold but I feel that wherever there is darkness there is always light.

     

    Micah

    Professional Artist, Community Organizer

    I grew up not having any teachers that look like me. Not one, from kindergarten through college. What imprint did that leave? This is also something I only realized in recent years. I also have throughout my life been referenced to every man of color alive with big hair or a beard. Yo, you look like “Bob Marley”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “B-Real”,  “Reggie Watts”, “That guy from LMFAO”, "Haile Selassie”, “Osama bin Laden”, and on and on.

     

    Neema Muanda

    Kingston High School Student 

    As a first generation American, growing up was a little different for me. My parents were born and raised in different countries, my mom is from Kenya and my father is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Growing up, I knew my personal culture compared to all my other peers that looked like me. I grew up with pride in my heritage, and in the black community. When I attended a private school, I found that I didn’t look or fit in with the other students. Art was a way for me to express myself and talk about my culture in a visually interesting way. My art is influenced by my Culture in many ways, for instance my color usage and pattern types. I found that my parents gravitated to bright colors and bold patterns, in a way my friend’s parents didn’t. I took this Idea and translated it to my paintings. 

     

    Tamerin Perez-Alleyne

    Kingston High School Student 

    I may have brown skin, but I wasn’t raised by people my skin tone. I was raised by my Mother, whose parents are Puerto Rican and Italian, which can be a lot different from the experience of others. My grandmother was my best friend since I was young, but she passed in 2018. When I was little, she taught me to love the beauty of the earth. My grandmother would take me outside and tell me to collect the prettiest leaf I could find, or the coolest colored rock. We would spend our time enjoying the little things that the earth gave us. 

     

    Chloe Redd

    Kingston High School Student 

    I am a female, bi-racial artist who enjoys creative pieces that are cute on the surface, but have unsettling aspects or meanings to them. Being bi-racial was a source of confusion and denial throughout my childhood. When I was little, I rejected my black heritage. As a freshman, I rejected that I was even the slightest bit white. I think this confusion is present in my work, as I often have themes and imagery that juxtapose each other, like pessimism that is clouded or covered by bright colors and cute subjects. 


    Cassandra & Anthony Salamone

    Cassandra & Anthony are a mother-son. This piece was originally created for the previous City Hall exhibition, Sanctuary. Anthony is the youngest participant in this show.

     

    Honoring Legacies:

     Ernest Fraizer & Ben Wigfall 

     

    Ernest Fraizer (1942-2004)

     

    Ernest Frazier was born in Sumter, South Carolina. According to Frazier, his first big break came while still an infant when his father was shipped off to World War II in 1942.  “My mother put me in a knapsack and hitched to Harlem”; the artist once related. As a young man, he took classes at the School of Visual Arts before traveling to Germany with the U.S. Air Force. In Pforzheim, he studied at the Kunsthalle and Werkshule with Curt Rothe. In 1964, he returned to New York and received a scholarship to continue his studies at the School of Visual Arts. He showed two short films at the Pan American Film Festival of the New World in 1969.

    Frazier received early acclaim as an artist in 1972 and 73, showing work in three exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art - including the renowned Biennial. After his New York studio and much of his work was vandalized, he moved to the area of Woodstock, New York where he became a part of the Upstate art community and Frazier’s creative output continued full force.  At the Woodstock Artist Association and the Watermark Cargo Galleries, among others, he was always a firm believer in community, and was especially dedicated to the Art community here.

    Frazier sought an Afro-physics and symbolism in his work, from which he was inspired by the African-Diaspora and her intersect and influence trans-continentally. The artist was once quoted, “You gotta understand one thing – I’m a dreamer, a romantic, born with my feet on the ground. For me, the bottom line is feeling and poetry”.

     

    Ben Wigfall (1930-2017)

    Ben Wigfall was a brilliant printmaker and painter and a revered professor at SUNY New Paltz for nearly 30 years. A Yale MFA, he became the first African-American faculty member at the SUNY campus in 1965. In his early years here, he faced constant police harassment and distrust, but he persevered to become a role model for every faculty and student of color who came after him.

    He is best remembered in Kingston for his Communications Village and his Watermark/Cargo Gallery. Both of these have had a profound effect on shaping the art community that thrives here today.

    Communications Village was begun in 1973 in a former mule barn in a largely African-American section of the Ponckhockie neighborhood. Originally meant to be his studio, he threw open the doors to welcome in the local youth and taught them printmaking, photography, and survival skills. He brought in nationally known African American artists – among them, Ernie Frazier – and poets to enrich the experience of his young protégés. Communications Village demonstrated that art was not just something that belonged in an institution but belonged first and foremost in the community.

    In 1988, Ben founded the Watermark/Cargo Gallery in the Rondout. In his incomparably elegant gallery, he juxtaposed his superb collection of African art with the contemporary work of artists from around the world as well as from the local Hudson River counties. In its 20-year existence, Ben showed that a level of art that could stand with any gallery in New York City could exist and thrive here in Kingston.

    The print you see here is a rare look at Ben’s own work. For all his devotion to the creating of his prints and paintings, he only occasionally exhibited them. His focus on the outside world was education and the elevation of others. It is the goal of Harambee and many others in the community to bring long overdue recognition to this lesser known aspect of Ben’s extraordinary life.