Local Artist Finds Solace in Lace Mill, Continues Artistic Journey Despite Setbacks

Lace Mill resident-artist Dawn BisioDawn Bisio’s home environment is stable now, but that was not always the case just two years ago. Recently divorced and motivated to redirect her life path, she moved to the Hudson Valley from Westchester, coincidentally at the same time RUPCO announced a call for artists to #WhereArtistsLive. After financial upset with divorce legal fees, she found opportunity at The Lace Mill to be the silver lining in turbulent times.

“The Lace Mill has been motivating for me artistically and the creative community has helped me feel secure and supported, and turned around the worst times,” she remembers.

However, landing an apartment wasn’t straightforward. At first, she missed the first lottery round of new tenants. But she stayed within the area, stayed positive, and reflected on possibilities that might arise if an applicant dropped out or didn’t follow through with a lease. So she waited, and checked in with RUPCO from time to time. Luckily, during RUPCO’s second lottery wave for the newly finished East end—which was under final construction—she got the call. Ecstatic, she agreed to move in and start fresh in her career and home life. She now shares memories with fellow tenants who moved in the same time she did, and they bond over communal living quirks and resident building meet-ups.

Besides sharing the trickle-down effects of administrative check-ins and construction work during the renovation period, Bisio shares other fond thoughts of residents at Lace Mill. “I run into people who are truly fascinating, kind and supporting, and if we [my husband and I] were out by ourselves, we would feel isolated and lonely sometimes—here we can have a glass of wine outside with people we live with, and that’s really nice to have.”

Of course, there are periods when communal living is a bit overwhelming, and Bisio states she sometimes “just needs to retreat and find my own source of peace. I personally like peace and quiet, but I wouldn’t trade this living.” She finds serenity in her own company when she is not spending time collaborating on art shows or conversing with neighbors.

The outside world beckons her attention in between these solitary times for exploration and discovery. “Shapes, people outdoors, moments of reflection, and also things that happen to me personally,” provide sparks of insight into subjective reasoning.

In the larger social domain, things that may not make sense immediately are great catalysts for creative energy. The mystery is what may be alluring to contemplate, like an unsolved riddle that provides more questions than solutions. Bisio notes that maybe things—and people—can convey interesting truths to examine without making sense. “I always try to find a way to process things, especially things that I can’t figure out. Art and writing helps translate experiences or questions, and leads me to an answer—not the answer—but it helps me to make sense of the world and to create things of beauty.”

Allowing herself to branch out is also a large part of being inspired. She finds that while she is toning down on writing, she is able to explore other art forms that clue in on aspects of herself that weren’t revealed before. A recent piece entitled “Mobile Home,” made of a globe that is evocative of the Sun, explores her identity being a Korean adoptee. Another piece featured in the upcoming Dirty Laundry exhibit is a mixed-media work on a canvas box that opens up and allows viewers to see “inside her dreams,” which are written in text on a tree background. Many of her pieces are a result of abstract ideas that echo memories, and are difficult to convey in the real world.

“A lot of my pieces involve construction, and part of the challenge is knowing ‘how do I suspend it correctly, what materials do and don’t work, and how do I translate the pure idea into a work of art?’”

Though home is “like a base,” the foundation that promises security while figuring out the mechanics of her ideas, she hopes to travel in the near future, and have Lace Mill as a part-time home. But with Kingston’s arts district on the rise, she may have incentive to stay here and develop further. “It’s exciting to see where we are going. People are doing all sorts of events: kids events, different workshops, and Midtown Kingston’s growing arts district, so in 10 years from now, who knows what will be happening.”

For now, Bisio continues to shine her light in The Lace Mill gallery, displaying works that reflect her background and experience. Her pieces are testaments to what she has seen and felt, and the light she often utilizes in her works parallel the beauty and strength in her journey of self-knowledge.

Getting to a place of comfort and acceptance isn’t always easy. Bisio has been criticized for being an artist, a general stereotype and stigma still surround the “artistic” label. Those labels — lazy, disorganized, scattered — weigh on her confidence. Instead of focusing on the negative that would drain her livelihood, she states, “I think it’s best to be true to yourself—you have to do what inspires you and not be influenced by other’s opinions. People will think differently about what’s good and bad. So just do the work, no matter how slow the process, even if it’s just one step a day.”

Applying to and inquiring about The Lace Mill proved to be winning leaps in a lottery draw of applicants, and her current endeavors in participating at gallery exhibits are antecedents for growth in a supportive setting—who knows where these little steps will take her next.

Lace Mill resident-artists collaborate, artists receptions, gallery exhibits Aug. 5

Dirty-Laundry-lefttoright-Bisio-Lockhart-Cardenas-CulpepperAn integral part of MADKingston’s First Saturday attractions through the City of Kingston, The Lace Mill hosts three artist receptions this Saturday, August 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. at 165 Cornell Street. Resident-artists at The Lace Mill will collaborate on three distinct shows in three distinct onsite galleries. Artist receptions are free and open to the public this weekend.

The first exhibit titled Dirty Laundry appears in The Lace Mill’s East Gallery and Mezzanine. Resident-artists Dawn Bisio, Dan Cardenas, Chelsea Culpepper, and Aaron Lockhart will be showing their multidisciplinary works, featuring several mobile or suspending pieces, mostly made from fabric, plaster, and other objects sculpted together. Through immersive installation, drawing, and sculpture, Dirty Laundry investigates ways of navigating public and private spaces, personal histories, discreet eccentricities, social taboos, and cultural schisms. “Dirty Laundry is the happy result of a community of artists coming together. I wanted to do a dynamic show about secrets and lies, identity and privacy,” says Dawn Bisio. “As our fraught relationship to privacy continues to evolve, these works are a reflection of our precarious disposition in an increasingly porous world.” Her husband and world-renowned recording artist Michael Bisio will entertain gallery visitors with live bass music that evening. For separate viewings of Dirty Laundry through August 19, contact Dawn Bisio at (845) 616-7133 for more details.

Lace Mill resident-artist James Martin with The Watercolor ExhibitJames Martin, another Lace Mill resident-artist, is curating The Watercolor Exhibit with an opening reception also from 5 to 8 p.m. in The Lace Mill Main Gallery and Boiler Room. The Watercolor Exhibit features some of the region’s best watercolor artists including Claudia Engel, Staats Fasoldt, James Martin, Naoko Oshima, Kazuma Oshita, Susan Silverman, Charlotte Tusch, and Lexi Williams. The group will showcase mixed abstract and realism art. Private viewings of The Watercolor Exhibit are available through August 26; contact James Martin at (347) 387-6874 for more details.

Lace Miller Lexi Williams curates the third show with assistance from neighbor James Martin. Entitled The Yellow Spot Tickle Dot Exhibit, this show’s opening reception is also open from 5 to 8 p.m. in The Lace Mill’s West Gallery. This family affair highlights folk art and photography from Williams, her family, and friends. Martin is thrilled to have all three shows happening at the same time. “Rarely do we have all three galleries used at the same time—I know it’s going to be powerful.” Private viewings of The Yellow Spot Tickle Dot Exhibit are available through August 26; contact James Martin at (347) 387-6874 for more details.

Built in 1903, The US Lace Curtain Mill boasted a long history as a major 20th-century employer and fine lace fabricator. RUPCO purchased the vacant shell, boarded up for the better part of three decades, in December 2013, setting in motion adaptive reuse of the historic building with a vision for creative placemaking. A community block party in August 2016 celebrated the opening of 55 apartments of affordable living preferenced for artists, officially anchoring the City of Kingston’s artistic community at the north end of Cornell Street. In addition to residential space, The Lace Mill shares 8,000 square feet of public gallery space as cultural activity centers open to its residents, local community and visiting public audiences. The Lace Mill has received six prestigious awards for design and historic preservation including Preservation Action’s “Best of 2016” and NYSERDA’s Trailblazer Award for housing the City’s largest solar array (160Kw).

Lace Mill Couple Host Dance Festival Fundraiser on July 23

Bon Dori Dance Festival 2016Youko and Kazuma Yamamoto work together to raise awareness of nuclear energy issues that will ultimately impact the livelihood of future generations. They are hosting a festival, the Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace, at Kingston Point Beach on August 6th, 2017 from 1-7pm, (dance at 6:30pm) and they welcome everyone to come and have fun while raising funds for an important cause. What better way to shake off unnecessary usage and preoccupation of nuclear energy than to create good vibes through dancing?

Back to the grim: statistics reveal that over 75,000 people in Nagasaki, and 150,000 in Hiroshima have been killed since the nuclear bombings of each city. And these numbers likely don’t accurately measure the true number of lives taken; many Japanese have the concept of shame attached to physical or mental disabilities, and so they don’t report theirs or their children’s issues in analytical studies.

With nearly 450 reactors worldwide, mostly located along water and even more being constructed in America and China, Youko and Kazuma are concerned that we are cornering ourselves in potentially dangerous conditions, especially if our nuclear energy usage only increases.

Most recently, a nuclear meltdown disaster resulting from a tsunami and earthquake in Fukushima shocked residents and worldwide onlookers, enforcing the anxiety that nuclear energy is valid. Though Youko and Kazuma were involved in anti-nuclear campaigns before, disaster Fukushima sparked a renewed interest in advocacy and led them to ways in which to promote peace and environmental justice.

Youko & Kazuma Yamamato, resident-artists at The Lace MillWhile Youko was at the family restaurant, Gomen-Kudasi located in New Paltz, NY, Livia and Billy of the Vanaver Caravan dance company asked her, “”Youko, do you know ‘Tanko-bushi’?” from the traditional Japanese coal-mining song. While singing, an idea for a dance festival came to mind. “Why not do something locally?” Later tying the idea of her routine spiritual ritual of chanting Buddhism suturas with the impromptu vocal performance, Youko states, “chanting heart sutura is a good practice, but it isn’t so popular, especially among young people. I thought if I transform it as a fun dance festival, it could invite a lot more people to join us to think about those who suffered in the radiation disasters, such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and a lot more.” She figured a dance event would bring people together to participate and learn effectively, since there is more power in numbers than there is in individuals trying to make changes.

Youko states that when dancing together, “the best part is, even though it is a Japanese folk dance, it’s simple! Our feelings, heart, and spirit unite and our ancestors are with us… we all feel it together.”

A pre-event fundraiser for Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace will be held on July 23rd at Lace Mill, 165 Cornell Street, from 2-5pm. Preparing for both the fundraiser and the festival is no easy feat. Youko says costs determine what activities and supplies will be undertaken or purchased. “All the money raised will be used to host the event: insurance, fees to the professional helpers and performers, equipment rental (one large tent cost $2,500!), legal fees, printing all promo material including registration packets, cards, posters, programs, banners, road signs. We usually need more than $5,000 total.” Youko hopes to raise $1,500 at the Lace Mill Fundraiser.

What’s the big draw to the June 23rd Lace Mill fundraiser? The food! Youko, a restauranteur, will “prepare amazing, high quality food with my own recipes.” A plethora of Japanese cuisine and the preparation to make the foods will reflect old traditional practices—down to the ice, which will be hand-shaved and put in drinks, including cold brew tea. Cuban jazz music from the 30’s and 40’s will fill the atmosphere with a different flux of energy to add to the cultural celebration.

Bon Dori Dance Festival for Peace, August 6, 2017All are welcome to attend the Lace Mill fundraiser, which will only mark the beginning of a communal resistance effort. The ultimate goal of the fundraiser, festival and subsequent advocacy efforts is, according to Youko and Kazuma, “to see a nuclear free future.” Besides eating delicious food and getting your groove on, the Yamamoto’s suggest taking action as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint and care for the Earth in a more intentional way. The other approach is to lobby against the building of nuclear power plants, since only a small number make large profits from the construction and distribution of nuclear energy, and the losses incurred from pollution and radioactivity emission risk are outsizing the gains. The Yamamoto’s carry on Pete Seeger’s message of having a peaceful world, eventually creating a movement that advances human relationships to each other and to the Earth in a determinedly holistic approach.

Make a donation online here; all contributions benefit the dance festival and the creation of a safe and enjoyable community event.

For more information about the Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace, visit BonOdoriKingston on Facebook, and be sure to like, comment, or share the page with your friends!

Contact Sakura Kojima at (845) 255-8811, or email gomenkudasainy@gmail.com for further details.

Couple Find Creativity, Privacy at Lace Mill

Youko & Kazuma Yamamato, resident-artists at The Lace MillBefore living at the Lace Mill, Youko and Kazuma owned a home in Gardiner with scenic views and remote neighbors. Never did they think they would receive housing assistance. But the day came when they could no longer afford to pay their mortgage and keep up with other expenses that piled up quickly. Eventually they found a place that suited their needs, in rural New York. They think living in the Lace Mill community experience helps them to focus their time and energy on their New Paltz restaurant, Gomen-Kudasai, and not on costly house maintenance or routine upkeep.

Rising taxes eventually squeezed the Yamamoto’s out of an affordable living space in NYC. They then moved upstate to Gardiner and began looking for other housing options as they could not afford the mortgage on their restaurant income. Thankfully, their son’s Waldorf School teacher suggested The Lace Mill for local artists. “We got the interview about two weeks later, and fortunately they took us in, and now we are very comfortable,” Youko says.

Youko elaborates that living in Lace Mill provides the same security as does a home without an assistance program. “I feel like it’s our nest right now,” she says. “We know that it is not our final home, but it is our hideout community for us.” The Yamamoto’s have a safe space to lead their own lives and artistically create in privacy.

“I know a lot of artists who don’t have comfortable living,” states Youko. “RUPCO is an excellent resource to utilize, especially for artists who want to continue their work but have limited means to purchase supplies or rent studio spaces.”

Following in good fortune with RUPCO’s help, Kazuma found a workplace in Saugerties in which he is able to continue his metalsmith career. His original studio was in an upstairs workshop in High Falls; residents below would regularly complain of the machinery noise. Now, he uses the space without worry about disrupting neighbors below.

Bon Dori Dance Festival for Peace, August 6, 2017Youko and Kazuma believe in community contribution and welcome opportunity for Lace Mill residents to feel like they are living as part of the real world. Youko and Kazuma believe it is wise to take responsibility for the space they rent, and not fall back on complimentary services to elevate their experience beyond typical means, otherwise complacency and a distorted sense of entitlement may arise. That’s why they’re hosting the Bon Odori Festival on August 6th, as a way to give back to the community.

The Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace, and other RUPCO programs fiber offer positive effects. People of modest means and their families contribute much to the community when given the opportunity to live peacefully amongst neighbors. Find out more about the couple’s fundraiser on June 23 and the Bon Dori Dance Festival on August 6.

Independent News & Articles about The Lace Mill & its Resident-artists

 

Group of Lace Mill artists in July 2016The Lace Mill: Resident-artists

Kingston artists find love at the Lace Mill, Spectrum News 8/4/17

Affordable housing advocates say region in desperate need (Charlotte Tusch), Spectrum TV News 6/22/17

James Martin: Inspired By the Old Masters & Kingston’s New MAD Creatives, MADKingston blog 6/20/17

Dreamers & Doers: Frank Waters, community organizer-digital media creator, Lace Mill resident-artist, Kingston Happenings 4/15/17

Capital of Culture: Kingston, Chronogram March 2017 page 30

Spotlight on Filmmakers: Sarah Carlson, Dawn (Wan) Bisio, Rubi Rose, Felix Olivieri, Frank Waters), MADKingston Blog 2017 

Chronogram launches community conversations (first session at The Lace Mill 2/8/17)

Collaborative Catalyst: RUPCO’s Lace Mill, Chronogram February 2017 page 51

The Lace Mill: The Building

 

Lace Mill apartment complex recognized as one ‘Preservation’s Best of 2016’, Daily Freeman 2/28/17

RUPCO Featured in 2016 LISC Annual Report, March 2017

The Lace Mill Revitalizes Midtown Kingston, Hudson Valley Magazine 3/17/17

RUPCO begins survey of Midtown Kingston residents for neighborhood renewal opinions, Daily Freeman 8/20/16

Historic lace factory becomes artist housing, page 10,  Affordable Housing Finance 2015 LIHTC Yearbook, December 2015

RUPCO aims to resolve lead problem in Kingston’s Lace Mill apartments by end of 2015, The Daily Freeman 12/1/15

RUPCO, Lace Mill residents dealing with lead contamination issues, Kingston Times 11/25/15

Artist Housing Helps Revitalize Midtown Kingston, N.Y., Affordable Housing Finance, 10/29/15

Artists find new homes at affordable housing complex in Kingston, Times Herald-Record, 8/14/15

Affordable Housing Needs Local Champion, Times Herald-Record, 7/16/15

Renovation of Kingston Factory – Hudson Valley Week in Review with Amy Greene 2/121/15 (video)

Former Lace Curtain Mill to be transformed into artists’ housing – Hudson Valley News, 2/18/15

Applications Now Being Accepted for Artists’ Housing in Kingston’s Former Lace Curtain Mill — The Daily Freeman, 2/16/15

Conversion of former Lace Curtain Mill on track for completion — The Daily Freeman, 2/15/15 (video)

Conversion of Vacant Kingston Factory into Housing for Artists Gets $412k Grant – The Daily Freeman, 2/3/15

Kingston event heralds start of lace curtain factory renovation (VIDEOS) – Daily Freeman 4/1/14

‘Paint Can Opening’ on April 1 to celebrate the beginning of construction to convert vacant Kingston factory into artists’ housing – Daily Freeman 3/16/14

Gimme Roots

Gimme roots, ivy creeping on brick walkwayShe opens the door to a Lace Mill gallery. She reminds me of every favorite Art and English teacher I’ve ever had. She’s an accomplished writer, poet and Mom. A part of Ulster County and its thriving artist community for her entire life, Holly is one of the people that makes our area the amazing place it is.

As we sit on soft leather couches in the gallery, other residents stop in and out, asking for an opinion on an art project or quick feedback on an inspiration. I ask her if she knows her neighbors, really knows her neighbors. Is The Lace Mill a social building? Her eyes light up.  Residents of The Lace Mill bond over everything: their families, growing up, religion, even politics. At this point in time, almost everyone in the building seems to love the Netflix show, The Adventures of Kimmy Schmidt.

“I do know my neighbors, and I love my neighbors!” extolls Holly. “I was thinking just today that it would be weird for me to move away and not see them anymore. And that’s after less than a year.”  In that time, Holly’s life has changed for the better. Within a place she calls Home, she embraces her true self: a comforting, welcoming, and happy woman. With great shoes.

Holly at The Lace Mill

Holly dressed as Queen Bee for Sinterklaas, outside The Lace Mill

“It’s been a hard few years in these parts,” Holly says.  “Because the apartments are subsidized, my rent is lower than average local rents, and that’s changed my life substantially.  I had been fighting for a while the idea of having to leave Ulster County, which has been home all my life, to find some place more affordable. Since being here, I’ve applied for artist residencies (where you go and just write for an entire month), and I am leading a poetry workshop in Missouri this summer, at an academic conference about Laura Ingalls Wilder. She wrote The Little House on the Prairie books, which are important historical documents about pioneer life.  Maybe even more exciting, I am going to have an article in the local paper, which I have wanted to do since High School. Lace Mill has let me focus on creating the life I want, rather than imagining it to be somewhere else, in some imaginary future.”

 

She’s realized what a role being safely housed plays in much mental illness, something she spoke about at a recent public hearing in support of Landmark Place. She’s seen first-hand how housing stability plays a huge role in productivity, and what a difference secure housing makes in a person’s life.

Because she’s got a solid place to live, Holly can now open herself to new writing opportunities and collaborations. She plans to hold poetry workshops and finish her new book. Since moving in to The Lace Mill, she’s coordinated several group shows, called Samplers, and gave a public reading of A Christmas Carol in December. Seeing people excited to create new work is what makes the time putting together things like The Spring Sampler worth it, and she loves brainstorming with other creative spirits in The Lace Mill.

She and I agree that having a secure place to live makes you a happier person. Life is hard enough. There are lots of people suffering from all sorts of different things. “I think that when you chronically don’t know where you’re going to live in a year, mental wellness suffers. Everybody needs a place to regroup and ‘just be.’ Moving around a lot, or not having a place to land — it definitely makes a hard situation worse.”

Holly knows what Home means to her. She happily and knowingly appreciates her neighbors, and newfound opportunities. Having roots for the first time, Holly thrives, more and more every day.

This interview has been updated, reflecting a few of Holly’s more current artistic activities.

Rachel Barnett headshotFreelance writer Rachel Barnett wrote this interview while serving as Editorial Assistant in RUPCO’s Communications Department (Fall 2016) as part of the SUNY-Ulster Internship Program. Rachel too knows the important connection between housing and mental wellness; her brother strives for mental wellness, too. Rachel has seen the benefits of stable housing and its affect on his life, and hers. A lover of all things avante garde, Rachel too appreciates fabulous glasses and great shoes.  

 

 

UNITY: Artists’ Corridor Partners in Collaborative Exhibit

Election Night March 2017 by Leslie Bender

The UNITY show is a partnership of artists from along the Cornell Street corridor — the Shirt Factory, Pajama Factory, Brush Factory, Cornell Street Studios and The Lace Mill — whose works will be exhibited at The Lace Mill’s East Gallery and West Gallery, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston.  The show’s opening reception will be held Saturday, May 6 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Disciplines include painting, sculpture, ceramics, performance, installation, music, and dance, video, puppetry for kids, and sonic meditation. Artwork, like Election Night March 2017 by Leslie Bender, at right will be featured.

A closing reception the following on Saturday, May 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., features live performance-based art such as dance, video and music.

Inspired by the newly launched Midtown Arts District (MAD) last year, Lace Mill community arts liaison Sarah Carlson and Shirt Factory events coordinator Lisa Kelley started discussing the possibilities of joining forces to create a dynamic group show of the buildings’ artists while also supporting the mission and initiatives of MAD.

American Flag by Sarah Carlson

American Flag by Sarah Carlson

Carlson explains, “I wanted to do a show that was about what we have in common, rather than what divides us, and to have that conversation as a community. It seemed sweet to open that dialogue to the arts corridor right here and a nice way for us to dialogue about what’s happening on the local national stage. As artists, that’s what we do.”

Kelley adds, “I love Sarah’s idea for bringing our artists together with the theme of unity.  Over the last year, the Midtown Arts District and Mike Piazza’s artist factory buildings have supported this kind of collaboration between artists.  I believe we’re planting some fertile seeds for exciting partnerships in the future.”

High Water Mark by Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick

High Water Mark by Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick

Nearly two dozen artists will participate in UNITY including:

Leslie Bender
Micah Blumenthal
Stephanie Bonavito
Tania Canteli
Sarah Carlson
Amy Cote
Ray Curran
Joan Ellis
Alexis Feldheim
Rosalie Frankel
Green Palette Community Center
Patrice Heber
Nina Isabelle
Susanna Kearney
Lisa B Kelley
Maki Kurokawa
James Martin
Dan McManus
Diana Seiler
Charlotte Tusch
Frank Waters
Eli Winograd

For more information:
Sarah Carlson at The Lace Mill 917-428-3297
Lisa Barnard Kelley at The Shirt Factory  845-901-0244

MyKingstonKids Fest2017 at The Lace Mill

Kids Festival at The Lace Mill

The Lace Mill is the place to be for MyKingstonKids Fest2017, a free indoor/outdoor event created for local children. Your child will enjoy an eclectic experience of  interactive educational tools; engaging, fun-loving events; and age-appropriate entertainment. MyKingstonKids Fest2017 includes a children’s art show, music, performances, dance classes, arts & crafts, games, and more. MyKingstonKids Fest 2017 is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Lace Mill, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston.

For early-bird, get-up-and-go kids, MyKingstonKids Fest offers a Yoga Fun Class at 10:30 a.m.;  for parents and those young-at-heart, an adult beginners yoga class runs at the same time.

And who doesn’t love a Wonderland Tea Party? Tea Party-ers dress up, enjoy “tea & snacks,” parlor games and entertainment; choose from one of two age groups, ages 4-6 and 7-9. Register in advance as space is limited by visiting MyKingstonKids Fest2017.

Follow the latest updates on the MyKingston Kids Fest2017 Facebook page, too.

RUPCO recognized as one of “Preservation’s Best of 2016”

National preservation societies recognize The Lace Mill’s use of Historic Tax Credits to help revitalize the City of Kingston.

From an accomplished list of Historic Preservation Projects carried out across the United States, RUPCO’s Lace Mill has been identified as one of six historic preservation projects recognized as one of “Preservation’s Best of 2016.”

This award, granted by Preservation Action, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Trust Community Investment Corporation, brings attention to RUPCO’s success in using the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit to transform The Lace Mill, a historically significant building that was underutilized with boarded windows and turning it into a viable community asset for the 21st century. The awards are intended to bring attention to the success of the Historic Tax Credit as a driver of economic development across the country. The awards will be handed out at the Preservation’s Best Congressional Reception to be held on March 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Members of the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus as well as Preservation Action members, partners and preservationists from across the nation are expected to be in attendance.

 “Preservation Action is very pleased to host this reception and recognize these exemplary historic rehabilitation projects. At a time when the future of the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit is uncertain, projects like The Lace Mill in Kingston, NY help to highlight the benefits of the program,” said Robert Naylor from Preservation Action.

 “We are pleased to be singled out with just a handful of projects from around the nation as a truly transformative project that adaptively restored a historic gem into a great community asset – one that is now key to the creative placemaking magic that is occurring in midtown Kinston,” said Kevin O’Connor, RUPCO’s Chief Executive Officer. “We saw early on the potential of this boarded-up building to meet one of Kingston’s varied community needs and we are thrilled with the results.”

“Having studied architecture and urban planning, I knew at the outset, that the project would make a difference in the neighborhood,” notes Scott Dutton, the project’s architect. “However, what I completely underestimated is how much of a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization this project would become and how quickly that would happen. The number of people that have told us that they made the decision to either purchase property or establish their businesses/residences in Midtown because of what they saw happening at the Lace Mills Lofts continues to astound me.”

Preservation Action has been hosting National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week for over 30 years. By honoring exemplary rehabilitation projects, its annual reception helps to highlight the benefits of the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit. The HTC is the largest federal investment in historic preservation, responsible for redeveloping over 40,000 buildings, and contributing to the revitalization of cities and towns across the country. The Lace Mill investment was $18.7 million and fully one-third of the costs were paid for by private sector purchase of the Federal and New York State Historic Tax Credits. Morgan Stanley served as the investor.

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, said, “HCR is proud to be part of this impressive and critically important development. The Lace Mill is once again an anchor to midtown Kingston. The preservation of this historic building will contribute to a more economically vibrant community and will provide safe, affordable housing for local artists. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, HCR will continue to invest in the adaptive reuse of vacant, historic buildings so that we can revitalize our neighborhoods while preserving our most significant buildings.”

RUPCO is an affordable housing advocate and innovative community developer in the Hudson Valley, is a charter member of NeighborWorks America, a national network of 245 housing and community development change agents. RUPCO affects the lives of over 8,000 people through its work with homelessness, rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, first-time homebuyers, home rehabilitation and energy efficiency and real estate development. RUPCO is currently working on $75-million worth of real estate development in the Hudson Valley, including Energy Square, Landmark Place, and The Metro in Kingston and the Newburgh Neighborhood CORe Revitalization. For more information, visit www.rupco.org

Preservation Action is a 501(c) 4 nonprofit organization created in 1974 to serve as the national grassroots lobby for historic preservation. Preservation Action seeks to make historic preservation a national priority by advocating to all branches of the federal government for sound preservation policy and programs through a grassroots constituency empowered with information and training and through direct contact with elected representatives.
 

RUPCO receives national award for innovative historic rehabilitation financing

Chuck-Snyder-Guy-Kempe-Joe-Eriole-Frank-Paulo-Kevin-O'ConnorFrom a highly distinguished roster of nationally recognized affordable housing developers, RUPCO received the David Reznick Award for Most Advanced Financial Structure Award in early November. Affectionately referred to as “The Timmy’s,” the J. Timothy Anderson Awards for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation are given annually by the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA), one of the country’s top housing industry groups. RUPCO was also a finalist in two other categories: Best Historic Rehab Utilizing LIHTCs (Low Income Housing Tax Credits) and Best Historic Mill or Factory Rehabilitation.

“To be recognized by the NH&RA and a finalist running with national private and nonprofit developers of this caliber is an honor,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “As financing diminishes for housing construction for those most in need — seniors, veterans, working families and those requiring supportive housing — we are forced to get creative in our financial partnering. Exploring outside-the-box alternatives allow new home creation like The Lace Mill to fill the vacuum of safe, affordable housing. We’re at a crisis in our communities; seven out of 10 renters are paying more than 50% of their monthly income on housing costs. By finding new ways to finance housing creation, we can come through construction, delivering on the demands of our communities. I credit RUPCO’s Chief Financial Officer, Frank Paulo, for keeping our development team true to cost and managing a fiscal portfolio worthy of this award. We pulled together 18 different finance vehicles totaling $18.9 million to create a true public-private partnership in developing The Lace Mill.”

RUPCO combined investment vehicles such as federal low-income tax credits with syndicator National Equity Fund, New York State Historic Tax Credits, a NYSERDA energy grant, private investment through Morgan Stanley, and a private mortgage with CHASE to meet its funding objectives. “The complexity of this financial structuring combined many sources willing to see RUPCO’s vision of what this vacant building could be and the impact its revitalization could have on the surrounding community,” notes Frank Paulo, RUPCO’s Chief Financial Officer. “Local investors included TD Bank Charitable Foundation, City of Kingston, Central Hudson, Ulster Savings Bank, and RUPCO also contributed to meeting the construction budget. We’re thankful to have national partners like NeighborWorks America, Urban Initiative, and Federal Home Loan Bank, as well as state partners NYSERDA, NYS Housing Finance Agency, and New York Main Street Program. Together we created this historic financing structure.”

The 2016 Timmy winners in 11 categories represented visionaries from California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and North Carolina. “While The Lace Mill has enjoyed accolades for its design and construction integrity, the recognition of the project’s financial structure by the NH&RA on a national stage speaks directly to the commitment that RUPCO brings to both this project and this community,” notes Chuck Snyder, Director of Construction. “The assembly and administration of multiple funding sources at this level requires determination, knowledge and perseverance that is unparalleled within the development community and is a credit to the work delivered by the RUPCO organization.” Snyder oversaw the construction process at The Lace Mill.

“To be recognized in three separate categories reflecting both the complexity of the financing and the innovation of the project as a whole is a tribute to the expanding breadth of organizations like RUPCO nationwide,” adds Joe Eriole, Vice President of Real Estate Development at RUPO. Eriole and Snyder accepted the award on RUPCO’s behalf at NH&RA’s ceremony in Boston.

According to NH&RA, the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit is a tax incentive used by developers to help finance the renovation of historic buildings of all types for continued use as offices, apartments, hotels, stores, and other purposes. Available nationwide, federal historic tax credits are instrumental in revitalizing urban downtowns as well as suburbs and rural communities. NH&RA created the Timmy Awards in 2005 in memory of J. Timothy Anderson, a Boston architect, educator and preservation advocate. A singular figure in the historic rehabilitation business, Anderson’s legacy includes numerous Boston area projects and a seminal study that helped preserve Miami’s South Beach Art Deco District.