“Sowing Seeds” Art Exhibit hosted by Seed Song Farm at The Lace Mill

An art exhibition “Sowing Seeds: Cultivating Art & Agriculture,” hosted by Seed Song Farm, will take place at The Lace Mill, 165 Cornell St, Kingston from March 3-31, 2018. Teaching Art with Families on Saturday, March 10 from 11-12:30pm will be led by A. Kaminski and costs $15. A workshop led by Star Nigro titled, “ECO-Card Art” on March 24 from 11-1pm will delight all ages. Costs is $10; please RSVP to reserve a spot. A free closing reception is on Saturday, March 31 from 4-7pm, open to all ages and includes live music, performance and bilingual social justice storytelling. The entire exhibition will feature the works of Seed Song’s CSA members Star Nigo, Andrew Kaminski, Toni Weidenbacher, Grandpa Woodstock and Philip Gurrieri.

Through photography, mixed media, painting, the fiber arts, and sculpture, these artists will share inspired works from their farm experience. The show is sponsored by CSA member/photographer Tracy Stellingwerf, and curated by farmer coZmoz jaYa and artist Star Nigro.

Come learn what being part of a CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture) is about and meet your local farmers from Seed Song Farm & Center located in Kingston who will be present with their farm stand to share their CSA model, agro-ecologically-grown vegetables, farm products and their weekly farm pick-up program options and price ranges. They will gladly answer your questions about programs and events. Refreshments provided for free and live music will be presented by Sean Cortright and his band “The Turn-Ups,” composed of musicians from the farm community.

All ages are invited to this event and to add to the festivities attendants may enter a drawing to win a free 1- week CSA pickup. New CSA subscribers will receive a special earl-bird gift.

Free and open to the public; donations toward Seed Song Center’s community work gratefully accepted.

You’ll have the opportunity to join our CSA on the spot with the price range that suits your needs.

Free available parking on South Manor Avenue and Progress Street.

For more information, please e-mail info@seedsongfarm.org; call coZmoz jaYa at (845) 399-9388; or visit www.seedsongfarm.org

Gift to City of Kingston hits it out of the Ballpark

RUPCO Subsidiary Builds Community with Offer of Barmann Park Donation

Neighborhood icon Barmann Park — with its baseball field, bleachers, playground, snack bar and throngs of spectators and players — have called the intersection of Clinton and Greenkill “home base” for decades. Since 1979, the City of Kingston has foot the bill: renting the property for $1 a year, paying the property taxes, maintaining fields, and holding insurance liability season after season to keep America’s greatest sport alive in Midtown.
However, the City hit a home run this week, when it officially learned the new property owner, RUPCO-subsidiary Prospect & Green, LLC, will donate the recreational park with its parking, playground, and amenities to the City. “We believe that a community’s greatest asset is its people. And when people love where they live, work and play, community is present,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “We have the opportunity to ensure this neighborhood landmark remains accessible to kids, adults and families. At The Metro, we honored nickname local children have called the baseball park area for years. The community benefit this property holds – engaging residents in America’s favorite past-time now and for future generations – will flourish under the City’s ownership. Presenting this Kingston treasure to the people of this city is an honor beyond words.”
RUPCO acquired the baseball park as part of its purchase of the former MetLife Building of Records at 2 South Prospect Street earlier this year. The Metro brings community wealth-building to midtown Kingston as RUPCO transform the 70,000-square-foot underutilized factory/warehouse into a film & technology hub including Maker Spaces and other creative uses. RUPCO will collaborate with Stockade Works, a nonprofit specializing in media attraction, production, and training based in the Hudson Valley spearheaded by actor-producer Mary Stuart Masterson.
The Metro will focus on activities that create jobs while producing materials and value-added products and services within the community. Along with Stockade Works, The Metro currently hosts private, local enterprises Chronogram and Steintex. “In addition to the already significant job creation and community development that will result from the establishment of The Metro, we will now be able to preserve this beautiful and much-needed greenspace in Midtown Kingston forever,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “This is a natural transition and will expand Kingston Parks and Recreation’s already impressive inventory of community assets.”
The $14-million development, slated for renovation in late 2018, will generate a short-term, local economic impact during construction and long-term economic impact through job creation. The Metro was named “signature priority project” by the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (MHREDC) in 2016 and 2017. Renovation, upgrades, and historic preservation will utilize a variety of funding sources including historic and new market tax credits. For more information, visit ww.rupco.org.
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.


Taking the Energy Journey Together

In the last six years, homeowners – with the help of our Green Jobs | Green New York Program — have saved energy, LOTS of energy, and lived in a more comfortable-safer home. Together, we figure we’ve conserved the equivalent of driving 40,644,873 miles in an average car – just by working with you, Mid-Hudson Valley residents! Thank you for your eagerness to lower your utility costs, save energy, and make a positive impact on our planet.

The First GJGNY Team

Under contract to NYSERDA since 2011, RUPCO has promoted energy efficiency and sustainability through the Green Jobs Green NY program (GJGNY) in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region. Unfortunately, as of November 27, 2017, our NYSERDA contract and the GJGNY program ends. We’re honored to have worked with homeowners, financial providers and the most professional NYSERSDA Home Performance, Building Performance Institute certified contractors in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region! We also want to give credit and thanks to NYSERDA for allowing us to serve the region. We hope that the RUPCO GJGNY team provided you with the professional level of service you expected. Because of you, our program was by far the most successful Community-based Organization in the state.

In the Beginning

Our first NYSERDA team training took place over six years ago — November 30, 2011 — in Albany. It was very clear that we had a lot of work to do. With a robust outreach plan, we began connecting with you: potential partners, homeowners in need, and contractors willing to take on the task of weatherization and energy efficiency.

By February 2012, we officially launched RUPCO’s GJGNY Outreach Program. Over 170 people received that announcement, that we were ready to get down to energy-saving business. Our first presentation was, rightly so, before the RUPCO staff of 33. During these first months, we generated 325 referrals and held or attended 6 meetings and 8 public events.

Fast-forward to today and here’s a snapshot of how we’ve worked together since then:

  • Referred over 7600 people into the program
  • Facilitated over 2650 energy audits
  • Orchestrated over 670 retrofits, referred 355 to the EmPower program
  • Answered your questions at 1,343 public meetings, events, and presentations
  • Offered concrete answers that inspired you to participate
  • Provided access to solutions, grants and expertise to get you started with energy conservation and production

Translating our combined impact into Kilowatt hours (Kwh) and Metric Megaton BTU (MMbtu) reductions, we can honestly say we’ve helped local residents save A LOT of money and energy.

  • Total Kilowatt Hours saved = 4,818,737 Kwh
  • Carbon Dioxide Equivalent = 3,733 tons (as of 12/9/16)
  • Total Therms of natural gas saved = 2,538,637
  • Natural Gas Carbon Dioxide Equivalent = 14,837 tons (as of 12/9/16)

Together we’ve saved 40-million+ car-driving miles of energy collectively – impressive!

Helping Shape Future Programs

Homeowners were just one part of the solution. Our RUPCO GJGNY team collaborated with various NYSERDA working groups and advisory councils. Together, we helped shape, create and design the next iteration of energy-efficiency community outreach – CEEP, Community Energy Engagement Program. Although the GJGNY Team was not awarded the new contract, and we’ll be stepping out of the sustainability arena for now, we know the Mid-Hudson Region is in good energy-saving hands. Sustainability and energy-efficiency remain prominent features of RUPCO’s strategic plan and long-term vision. We are committed to helping homeowners and renters keep housing costs affordable, particularly when it comes to energy use.

As we close down our website and Facebook Page this week, we invite you to Stay Engaged with Energy-efficiency by taking one of four actions:

If you are a customer of NYSERDA or are interested in NYSERDA programs, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, or EmPower New York please contact NYSERDA directly at:

Matthew Houle  hpwes@nyserda.ny.gov
 518-862-1090 Ext: 3286 | 1-877-NYSMART | Fax: 518-862-1091
17 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203-6399

We’re honored to have been a part of your energy journey and hope you will remain committed to the groundwork we’ve laid down together.

Most sincerely,

The GJGNY Team – Michael, Mike, Hugo, Nick, and Guy

Community Partner Award: Madeline Fletcher

Every year at Community Lunch, RUPCO honors a community partner doing great work in our neighborhoods. This year, we honored Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director at Newburgh Community Land Bank for her collaborative spirit in transforming Newburgh’s historic East End. Her ability to gather partners and facilitate change has been transformative.

National speaker headlines Community Lunch, Local residents receive awards November 8

Maurice Jones, President and CEO of nationally recognized LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), is the featured keynote speaker at RUPCO’s annual luncheon Community Lunch on November 8. Jones will share his perspective on how communities can change and revitalize neighborhoods through a local approach to housing, health, safety, and job creation. Community Lunch will be held at The Chateau, 240 Boulevard Avenue, Kingston from 11:30a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is open to the public; tickets can be purchased online for $35 here.

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, known as LISC, is one of the largest organizations supporting projects to revitalize communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents. Initiatives include affordable housing, better schools, safer streets, growing businesses and programs that improve the financial outlook of people. LISC partners with nonprofits like RUPCO and provides capital and strategic know-how facilitate change locally. LISC’s work impacts 7 million low-income Americans in both rural areas and urban centers across the country. “To have someone of Maurice’s caliber, experience and inspiration come and speak in Kingston is a real honor,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “These conversations around local economies, thriving communities, family-life and working together are the kinds of conversations we need to be having. We hope Maurice’s talk with inspire further conversation about how we define healthy, robust, profitable communities here; communities that provide opportunity, innovation, and housing; communities that are strong, diverse, and vibrant.”

Maurice Jones, President & CEO, LISCWith deep experience in both the public and private sectors, Jones took the helm as LISC’s fourth president & CEO in September 2016. Immediately prior to joining LISC, he served as the secretary of commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia, where he managed 13 state agencies focused on statewide economic needs. He previously served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) overseeing operations for the agency and its 8,900 staff members. The depth and breadth of his experience in policy making, social services and legal arenas give him a unique perspective on how communities thrive when they work together closest to home.

Additionally, RUPCO is recognizing two local individuals for their commitment to community. RUPCO is presenting its Community Partner Award to Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director of Newburgh Community Land Bank (NCLB) for her leadership and vision of the Newburgh revitalization efforts happening in the historic East End. Fletcher, with real estate experience in housing finance and as a land use attorney, has led the Land Bank since its formation in 2012. RUPCO is currently working with NCLB, Safe Harbors of the Hudson and local contractor Libolt & Sons in the rehabilitation of 15 properties to create 45 new rental homes in one of Newburgh’s most distressed areas, a 4-block cluster between Broadway and First Street.

RUPCO is also recognizing Kingston resident, Harold Renzo with the inaugural presentation of the Community Inspiration Award. This award recognizes an individual committed to improving our neighborhoods in ways that benefit the entire community. Renzo, a Stuyvesant resident for over 20 years, was responsible for facilitating change in uptown Kingston by advocating for accessibility access via curb cuts for those using wheelchairs, sight canes and seeing-eye dogs, and other physical challenges. A former U.S. Marine, Renzo advocates for senior and supportive housing and has been a vocal proponent of Landmark Place for seniors, veterans and those with special needs.

Community Lunch brings together friends, family and supporter around the table for annual discussions about housing, local economies, and other relevant topics that affect community. For more information, contact Maru Gonzalez (845) 331-2140, ext. 276.

O+ Festival Wellness Offerings at The Kirkland October 6-8

“By exchanging the art of medicine for the medicine of art, O+ empowers communities to take control of their collective well-being.” O+ Festival

We’re honored to be a part of O+ Festival again, the eighth year running since O+ hatched this bright idea in 2010. We’re opening the doors to the community and our first-floor Senate Room at The Kirkland, 2 Main Street, Kingston for the weekend’s wellness offerings. Be it yoga or sound baths, meditation or DFX, you’ll want to trade in your sweat bands for an O+ Festivall all-access wristband to experience the mind-body-spirit encounters this weekend, October 6 through 8. For the complete O+ schedule, click here.

Friday, October 6 
7-9p Gentle yoga + sound meditation with Shawn and Susan DeRyder

Saturday, October 7
7-8a Wake Up Yoga with Linda Lalita Winnick
8:30-9:30a Qigong Smile Class with Chris Brandon Whitaker
10-11a Vinyasa Flow with Deb Seche
11:30a-12:30p Finding Balance in a Chaotic World with Christine Agro
1-2p Pure Yang Longevity (Qi Gong) with Charlotte Gibbons
2:30-3:30p Guided Meditation with Shawn Harrison
4-5p The Art of Money with Joanne Leffeld aka Moolah Doula
5:30-6:30p Gentle Yoga and Sacred Napping with Patrice Heber
7-8p Voice Bath with Sarah Perrotta
8:30-10p Kirtan with Radharani Renee Finkelstein

Sunday, October 8
8:30-9:30a DXF (Dance Xross Fitness) with Stacey Nodelman
10-11a Gentle Yoga with Micah
11:30a-12:30p Complete Core Care with Cory Nakasue
1-2p Vintage Jazz Dance with Uptown Swing! with Emily Vail
2:30-3:30p Fusion Dance Technique with Anna Mayta
4-5p Sound Bath with Jessica Caplan
5:30-6:30p Yoga Nidra with Jean L. Wolfersteig

Digging Deep for Community Connection

Karen Miller has a special mission: to steward the Rondout and Liberty Street Community Gardens. Conveniently located in Kingston, both areas boast rectangular raised beds of fertile soil, a watering system, and opportunities to get your hands dirty while helping the Earth in a positive way. Miller hopes that these gardens will relieve residents of stress, so that these special places will offer them something in return other than a tangible product.

Miller sees community gardens as a way for people to “have success at what they are doing, that they see their efforts, and that whatever they put in there, they get something out of it. I want people to come back because they feel good about themselves. It’s exciting that they get excited.”

A local resident interested in the gardens called Miller one day and asked for two plots. Miller calls him her “wow guy.” He figured spending time gardening with his ill wife would enhance their relationship and give them something meaningful they could share during an emotionally turbulent time in their lives. Unfortunately, his wife died before they could start together, but he continues to tend the most productive patch on Liberty Street. There’s something therapeutic, digging deep, getting your hands into the soil.

Even children can benefit from the fruits of gardening. Miller hopes that adults who burrow sections of allotted land and soil—solely at the Rondout—will relay practices to children, such as youthful interest in weeding or watering. For example, Miller watched a mother come to the Liberty Street garden recently to show her child the flowers in bloom. The mother put the compost in the flowers and spoke of the purpose of her actions while the child watched. Miller believes that teaching children important life lessons early on is essential towards healthy growth. “I encourage the kids to come and help.”

Miller states that she gets personal pleasure from gardening: a way to recycle a day’s worth of stress or negativity and harness a positive sustenance that heals the mind and body. Miller is mindful when she gardens, “I am a sensualist person. I love the feel of the soil, the smell of the soil. And I like that when I plant something that there is a vegetable or plant that comes from it. I also like the feeling of having a little bit of control of where you put a plant, but also the lack of control.” This perspective has a spiral effect into other areas of life, being aware of control is central in developing a realistic sense of the world. Paradoxically, she hopes people “will lose themselves in gardening,” so that they can pay more attention to things that are in the immediate surroundings and not worry about the past or future. Gardening allows us to develop a sense of where we are, who we are, and what we are doing. It’s about digging deep, making a connection, simply being in that moment with nature.

Miller hopes these personal successes and life lessons wrought by gardening will provide fertile ground for future development and joy in unexpected ways. When life’s struggles and stressors cloud our outlook, gardening can cultivate something rich and beautiful within. This light can yield good energy for others to connect with—and therefore create roots in sustainability and livability in an increasingly digital, abstract world.

Residents interested in gardening a raised bedsat either location can email Karen Miller to get started.  Beds are $5 and include access to the garden space, compost, and a fair share of weeds. Bring your own plants, seedlings, seeds, and garden tools; water provided at both locations.

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.