Tannery Brook’s Forgotten History March 3 Saturday at The Lace Mill

 Emily Vail and Jiamin Chen will show “Fragmented & Forgotten: Tracing the Tannery Brook” in The Lace Mill’s East Gallery at 165 Cornell Street, Kingston, NY. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, March 3 from 5-8 PM, as part of Kingston’s First Saturday gallery openings. The exhibit will be on display March 3 through March 25. Original maps of the Tannery Brook, paired with historic maps, images, and text, will visualize changes in and around the stream over time.

The Tannery Brook is a small stream in Kingston. The brook flows out of the Twin Ponds, travels downhill along Linderman Avenue, crosses under Washington Avenue, skirts property lines between Washington Avenue and Green Street, and then vanishes beneath the parking lot behind the Ulster County Family Court building. It makes the rest of its journey underground, in a pipe, until it meets the Esopus Creek behind Kingston Plaza.

Although the Tannery Brook has worked hard for Kingston over the centuries – including powering mills, irrigating crops, and carrying away waste – it has been increasingly fragmented and forgotten. It hasn’t been forgotten by everyone, though; it continues to make its presence known through flooding, infrastructure failure, and other damage.

The Tannery Brook is a microcosm of the ways that we perceive and manage water in cities. Its history and present state can provide context for modern stream and urban water management, as we ask: What should we expect from a stream with such a long history of use? How can this history relate to future restoration projects?

With these questions in mind, Emily Vail and Jiamin Chen trace the Tannery Brook’s history from colonial settlement in the 1650s through today using historic maps, historic images, local history narratives, newspaper articles, and other original documents.

About Emily Vail:

Emily Vail is a graduate student at Cornell University in the field of Natural Resources. Since 2010, Emily has worked at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program , in collaboration with the NYS Water Resources Institute at Cornell University . She supports community-based watershed groups, municipalities, and other partners as they work to improve water quality in the Hudson Valley. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Vassar College . Emily also organizes Uptown Swing Kingston, a monthly night of hot jazz, dance, and swing, and directs the Uptown Lowdown vintage jazz dance troupe.

 

About Jiamin Chen:

Jiamin Chen is a graduate landscape architecture student from Cornell University . Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she has a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the University of British Columbia . She worked as a landscape designer on various municipal and governmental projects across many parts of Asia including China, Malaysia, Qatar and Myanmar. She returned to graduate school in pursuit of professional licensure, and her work as a graduate research assistant has taken her to various parts of upstate New York and this year, to Kingston. In her spare time, she is a passionate botanical artist, a houseplant collector and an avid traveler.

This work is supported by the NYS Water Resources Institute at Cornell University and the Hudson River Estuary Program of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation , with support from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund .

For more information, contact Emily Vail at eev22@cornell.edu .

ABOUT THE LACE MILL : 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). 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. For more information, visit www.thelacemill.com .

ABOUT RUPCO : RUPCO, 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, energy efficiency and real estate development. RUPCO connects nearly 2000 families, over 800 landlords and rental assistance through the NYS Home and Community Renewal and Housing Choice Voucher Program. RUPCO currently owns/manages 16 properties with 411 apartments providing homes to over 560 people. The majority of those residents represent our community’s most vulnerable populations: the elderly, seniors, disabled and working class families. RUPCO is also improving local communities through estate development in the Hudson Valley including The Metro, Energy Square, Landmark Place (all in Kingston) and Newburgh’s Historic East End. For more information, visit www.rupco.org.

 

Hope Through Activism: Lanette Hughes Inspires Through Artwork

Standing outside The Lace Mill, wearing over-sized black sunglasses, talking to a neighbor, Lanette Hughes appears nondescript. A cordial, “Hi, how are you?” to a stranger, she resumes her conversation. You would never guess she churned her tragedy into art in a profound way. A first-hand experience with domestic violence, her identity stolen and her savings robbed from her, these life-lesson setbacks made her willpower stronger. Lanette Hughes is not only a survivor, but a thriver — and her artwork embodies her understated vigor.

Hughe’s parents introduced her to situations at an early age that called for toughening up. They lived in Europe withinin target sites of WWII battle and concentration camp zones. While transitioning between countries, she found it difficult to reconcile that she had friends from opposing countries post-wartime. Her parent’s trip to Dachau further fragmented her sense of peace. The air-raid rubble and abandoned buildings that littered some streets haunted her as a child, a terror still raw when she thinks back.

Recently, Hughes channeled that experience into her artwork, “Human Beings are Not Created for Target Practice.” The large canvas oil painting highlights military personnel . If stripped of their uniforms, would they have reason to shoot the enemy? Hughes bears no bias towards “good” and “bad” sides where nationalism incurs.

She is, however, partial to beautiful art. While living in Germany, Hughes remembers trekking down to monasteries and playing nearby. One day while climbing a wall enclosure surrounding St. Michaelsberg, she fell and hurt herself. Monks brought her in, and she was introduced to wondrous sculpture and paintings within. Inspired, she asked her parents to hire a governess educate her in classical art training and illumination found in religious texts.

Being a sensitive artist and a newcomer whenever her parents moved, she stood out from the crowd. Coming to the United States, she was sorely misunderstood for her European values and mannerisms. She was often bullied and put down, and over time, these experiences impacted her artwork.

She was a target again a few years back, after she returned from a trip to Florida to find her identity stolen. Her home, savings, and future fell through her hands. Hughes became homeless, living out of her car, where she slept and traveled for weeks in Woodstock. She refused to give up her dog when Social Services prompted her to do so, so she could receive a no-pets hotel room. Deprived of everything else, she wasn’t relinquishing her four-footed companion.

Hughes kept her spirits up and applied to housing assistance programs in the local area that would allow dogs. At the time, RUPCO was accepting applications for The Lace Mill for artists. She applied to the lottery  and the patterns of the universe aligned with her needs. “In the miracle of miracles, I got RUPCO housing. And I love it here—every day I thank my creator for this fabulous place and all the friends I have made.”

Hughes realizes that others don’t have it as good. At her last exhibition, held at The Lace Mill in October 2017, Hughes combined her activism with her art show, and made a stand for something larger than making money. She created 50 pieces for sale, where 75% of proceeds benefited local charities. One of her paintings benefited the Haitian People’s Project to provide meals for afflicted families. Consistently without food, Haitian parents often feed their children “mud cakes.” These look like pies, but made of mud, and eating them causes malnutrition and infection. Hughes wants to help in her way, through her art and social activism.

Hughes is proud to live in an apartment where she knows her efforts are supported. She’s made many connections to Kingston nonprofits and continues to support human rights in the way she knows best. Her influence has already been felt among the community; one man started to cry when he saw one of her paintings regarding domestic violence. “’This happened to me, and I’ve never told anybody,’” Hughes recalls. “It really touched him. He didn’t say whether it happened to him, his mother, wife or girlfriend, but it happened to him somehow.”

Her paintings possess an understated emotional impact. She doesn’t wish people to turn aghast, but she wants her visual to resonate with them. She wants people to know that there is awareness, that others have been through similar situations, and the often misunderstood pain — maybe portrayed as endless swirls or spirals in her abstract work — is normal and valid. She connects to her audience on a personal level. “I don’t like the word authentic, but I try to be sincere about who I am. I’ve been through things and I try to relate that to other people.”

Maybe malnutrition, abuse, or trauma has robbed a person of identity, and they use public facades to hide the pain. By recognizing themselves in her work, a part of them is resurrected and recognized. Maybe it will take years to fix, with in-between years of denial. But something clicked, and that is what activism is all about.

Hughes has changed her perspective on earning a living and being an artist. “I don’t need as much as I thought I needed to make me happy. I’m happy with or without. But the fact that I can paint whatever I want is an incredible blessing. And because I live here, I can do that.”

From Homeless to Housed: Leslie Mann’s Story of Growth

Leslie Mann wakes up with a fridge and cupboard full of food, a roof over her head, amenities for daily living, and the man of the house, Mutai, a 10lb terrier who licks her incessantly. The sun shines through her tall windows, dog figurines line the window sills, garden beds fill the view outside her front door. Book-stuffed shelves with her favorite literature are within reach from her wheelchair. Hers is a place to call home.

But attaining a handicap-friendly, affordable home wasn’t easy to grasp.

Mann grew up in NYC and lived with her parents while a young adult. Childhood was emotionally difficult for her. She didn’t fit in with groups at school and her interests in western-cowboy history and poetry didn’t align with other childrens’ fancies. Later, she earned a living as a factory worker and a filing clerk until her family moved and her brother went to college.

Mann struggled and eventually became homeless after her NYC apartment burned down. For a while, she lived on the streets, seeking shelter in abandoned buildings and eating what she could find in garbage cans. Her housing instability prevented her from owning a dog, but she found ways to relocate stray dogs in the City, asking around who would take care of a rescue cared for on pauper’s salary.

She found solace in good deeds. One day, she overheard a young couple at odds with each other, when the young man raged and grabbed his dog by the neck. Mann swiftly intervened and took the dog away, but not without struggle. He acted on impulse, threatening Mann with a knife. On-foot patrol officers quickly intervened and no one was hurt. Now, her eyes shine when she thinks back to the memory. She saved a dog’s life risking her own.

People took notice of her acts. They wanted to help her the way she was saving dogs’ lives. Regular goers to the dog park saved money to help her move into her first upstate apartment— she settled first in Woodstock, then Lake Katrine in a Motel 19. Lake Katrine suited her needs. For a while she walked everywhere, finding comfort in familiar habits, and eventually she applied to live at The Stuyvesant, supportive housing for seniors in Kingston, NY, owned and operated by RUPCO.

The Stuyvesant offered neighbors in nearby apartments who shared similar interests, a pet-friendly policy, and the flight of stairs that hindered her mobility. When RUPCO completed the Woodstock Commons in 2013, Mann transferred to a ground floor apartment. Of course, she kept Mutai, now 14 years old.

Independent Living has deepened and widened her personal growth. On spring and summer days, the surrounding outdoors are “wonderful and unbeatable.” She finds pleasure in taking care of her canine companion, ensuring he lives the life of a pampered pup. Meals on Wheels delivers food to her every week. Her healthcare is in place. When she isn’t listening to audio books or watching movies, she brainstorms ideas for a book about a man dedicated to his dog; a quasi-reversal of dog loyalty to humans, a testament to her life’s work.

She isn’t finished making a difference. There’s always more dogs to rescue, more activism to spark. With her sense of Home established and her accessibility needs met in a supportive housing community, Leslie’s starting a new chapter in her quest for goodwill.

 

 

“The Davis Show” is a family affair at The Lace Mill November 4

The Davis FamilyJeromy Davis, his fiancée Christa, and their children Jesse, Sebastien and Emmy will drive a family-fueled night of musical and artistic performances called “The Davis Show” on November 4 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Lace Mill, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston in the Boiler Room Gallery.

Jesse’s sculptures will adorn the galleries and he’ll sing his heart out in solo tunes. Sebastien and Emmy’s crayon drawings will hang on display and entice the young and old to reflect on youth’s artistic vision. Christa will show her paintings as well. Jeromy will play music among handmade barn wood sound-dampening panels and feature guitars he built both as a musical and visual artistic display. Altogether, they will demonstrate family ties in a multi-layered performance. This will be the family’s first solo performance. “There’s something for everybody. I want people to go, ‘wow, this is really nice,”’ says Jeromy.

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Free parking is available on South Manor Avenue and Progress Street. Freewill donations benefit the Lace Mill Arts Council, future shows and exhibits.

Harold Renzo, Stuyvesant Resident Receives Community Inspiration Award

Harold Renzo, long-time resident at The Stuyvesant, has been a supportive neighbor, voice for those unable to speak, and a community icon known for his friendliness and determination. RUPCO honored Harold at Community Lunch on November 9, 2017 for his courage, inspiration and indomitable spirit with our first-ever Community Inspiration Award.

Artwork Inspired by Social Justice Issues focus of Lace Mill Art Exhibit

Lanette Hughes painting abstractOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and coincides with artwork focused on human rights, domestic violence, and world hunger. This is Lanette Hughes’s social activism movement in the form of an art show. This exhibit will take place in all three Lace Mill galleries, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston on October 7 from 3-8 p.m.

Hughes will show 30+ paintings reflecting social issues; all of which, upon their sale, will benefit local organizations that deal with human rights issues. Local nonprofits slated to receive artwork sales include Family of Woodstock, New Paltz, Kingston, Ellenville; the Darmstadt Shelter; Caring Hands Soup Kitchen; Clinton Avenue Methodist Church; MyKingstonKids; O+ Festival; Safe Harbors; and RUPCO. Global organizations include Women in Black and The Haitian People’s Project.

Hughes’ pieces directly relate to real life events. Her abstracts convey deeper messages without being overly explicit. Many pieces depict victims physically harmed, though the paintings don’t graphically portray clear wounds or detailed damage. Each portrayal speaks volumes about issues that are underneath the surface of so many lives — including her own — and nobody would know just by quick observation.

For example, “Human Beings are Not Created for Target Practice” has military undertones. The message conveys a simple thought: if military personnel were stripped of their uniforms, would enemies still shoot them? “Women Running” features women fleeing from human trafficking groups, a worldwide issue that defies ethnicity, gender, and age. Another piece portrays children affected by nerve gassing bundled in blankets; only their faces show, their bodies eerily shrouded mummification-style.

“My hope is that more artists will contribute (to the larger conversation), to include in their work social awareness for change,” says Hughes. “I’d like to see a whole day, week, or month, when artists everywhere do a whole show on a particular social issue.” She also hopes this art show stirs local activism by providing curiosity about what goes on behind the scenes in lives of our acquaintances, co-workers, family, and friends.

Throughout the exhibit’s run, speakers will talk about relevant issues that affect communities. Guy Kempe, Vice President of Community Development at RUPCO, will speak on “Housing, Creative Placemaking, & Community Development” on October 7 at 4:30 p.m. “Aligned with social justice, ‘creative placemaking’ is the proposition that arts and cultural expression, joined with housing, helps to energize community and revitalize disinvested places for minority and disenfranchised populations,” Kempe says. Poet Nancy Smith follows at 6 p.m. with readings from her works that concern human rights.

Filmmaker and veteran Marty Klein will talk about veterans’ issues on October 14, showing his film entitled, “Why Can’t We Serve.”

All artworks are for sale, with 75% of the proceeds donated to organizations that support social justice efforts. The artist retains 25% to cover material expenses associated with making the artwork. Painting prices are negotiable, with no reasonable offer refused. For more information, contact Lace Mill artist-resident Lanette Hughes at (845) 532-3538 or visit her Facebook page LK Hughes.

Senior Resident Finds Peace of Mind At Theater Workplace

Ever go to the Rosendale Theater to watch the latest film? In the booth, the projectionist is a humble man dedicated to his work. Anthony Cacchio, a Park Heights resident at RUPCO’s senior housing campus in Rosendale, NY, casts glimmers of life through his own lens. He’s glad to be serving the community, and intends to keep working as long as he is able.

For over 40 years, Cacchio has been working in the theater business to ensure the sound and video quality are up to company standards. He works closely with an engineer who shows him how to operate the equipment, and if there is a technical issue, he can bank on the engineer to fix the problem in a jiffy—even from home. Indeed, growing up without lightning speed electronics that send signals in milliseconds makes living in this era a bit foreign, but he manages to learn new skills and train every once in a while to keep up with the ever-changing technological advancements.

Growing up in a much different period of film and TV, Cacchio remembers his favorite shows from the 1930s, at the beginnings of the film industry. He laments that he does not watch recordings of them because they remind him of young celebrities who embodied vigor and have since passed away or have consummated their years of acting. So Cacchio gets his drama fill from working night shifts six to seven days a week, and prefers his home life to be quiet and serene.

He has been living at Park Heights for 5 years now, “and was lucky to get in right away.” Cacchio describes the home-finding experience as an easy process. “RUPCO gave me a nice comfortable place, in a nice area, and I am content here.”

Back when he was living at his parent’s home, he was also content with the peace that large plots of land could afford. Cacchio remembers his father used to cut the grass with a John Deere tractor. Every once in a while, neighborhood grandchildren would visit and provide noise that the day-to-day environment lacked. When his parents passed away, he and his brother inherited their childhood home. But, he explained, it just wasn’t suitable for happy living; the reminders of his parents were just too much when he walked past their room. Apart from the constant emotional tug, Cacchio decided that one person doesn’t belong in a six-room house, when a family could easily enjoy the space. Selling the property, he ventured on to rent an apartment at Park Heights, where he lives close by ladies who are familiar faces in his daily routines. “We treat everybody as buddies,” he says; if the ladies don’t see him for a day or two, they worry.

Anthony Cacchio, senior resident at Park HeightsLuckily, 85-year-old Cacchio has good genes. His father lived until he was 91; his mother, 90. He has clear intentions to keep on working, and “to make the best I can out of it.” Perhaps his hard work ethic is the family trait that keeps them so young; Cacchio used to assist his father in the tile and marble industry, working for other businesses to provide construction work.

With years of experience behind him, Cacchio continues to play an important role in the community, including being a happy parent to his cat, “Princess.” She lets him know what foods she does and doesn’t like, and insists that he stay in the room until she finishes eating. Her melodramatic personality entwined with a need for attention lends unique companionship, and Cacchio appreciates her taking center stage in their Park Heights home while he works behind-the-scenes.

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.