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Cultured community

With more than 600 members, ASK is a major force in cultural growth and artistic vitality in the Hudson Valley

by Ann Hutton
March 17, 2011 11:42 AM | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Vindora Wixom’s enthusiasm for the creative arts shows up in her own stunning works and in her dedication to the Arts Society of Kingston (ASK), where she has served as executive director since 2005. When queried about some of the programs being offered by the organization this spring, she said of the Sedona Method introduction, “It’s a sort of yoga/conversational group therapy to empower the artist within you. I joined a session myself, and at the end I felt so free – like floating for the rest of the day.”

One gets the distinct impression that Wixom and her associates don’t do much floating, however. In an ever-expanding array of workshops, exhibits and collaborations, ASK members engage the greater community in appreciation of visual arts, dramatic arts, poetry, creative writing and dance with great verve.

Membership to ASK is open to all, with no requirement but a sincere interest in the arts. With more than 600 members – some highly respected professional artists, many amateurs and supporters – the organization has been a major force in cultural growth and artistic vitality in the Hudson Valley, offering shows, educational programs, special events and information resources since 1995. During the year, ASK hosts up to 12 members’ shows in its galleries at 97 Broadway near the Rondout, as well as shows off-premises. The in-house galleries take part in Kingston’s citywide art receptions every First Saturday of the month from 5 to 8 p.m., attracting 300 to 350 visitors each night.

In a unique collaboration with the Hudson Valley Mall, “ASK Goes to the Mall” is a huge exhibit where a whole wall is dedicated to enlarged prints of original artwork (a project graciously sponsored by Target). Sixteen works are on public display, and on April 9 “ASK the Artist” will have a number of local artists set up inside the Mall to mingle with the community and talk about their creative works. In May, the focus will be on works that depict historic places in the Hudson Valley, with local historians on hand to speak. In June, the in-house exhibit at ASK will be a repeat of “Poems & Paint,” a show of artworks inspired by the poems of local poets.

Other ongoing workshops include swing dance classes, playwright labs where local writers bring in their plays for local actors to read and give feedback, creative writing classes, open studio art days, Photoshop classes, improv theater workshops, Artist’s Way clusters and the introduction to the Sedona Method sessions previously mentioned. Some of these offerings have fees and require preregistration, while others are free on a drop-in basis. The organization also hosts special performances, poetry readings like “100 Poems in 100 Minutes” to usher in National Poetry Month on April 1, open mics and plays – all open to the public. Additionally, ASK offers its members a free website portfolio profile page, discounts at local art supply stores, networking opportunities with other artists and community members and group health insurance through a local broker.

Quite obviously, there’s more happening at ASK than can be listed here. Check out the website at www.askforarts.org. And stop in during gallery hours, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 6 p.m. to discover something enticing. Call (845) 338-0331 for further information.

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