October is shaping up to be Kingston’s special month of the arts. In addition to the O+ Positive Festival on Oct. 8-10, which will feature concerts by great, noteworthy bands and the Arts Society of Kingston’s Open Studio Tours on October 2nd, Second Chance 4 Me is hosting a festival of the arts on Oct. 1-3, Art on the Line, at the Seven21 Media Center.
With its warren of small, tech-oriented businesses, the Seven21 Media Center, owned and operated by the Ellenbogen family, has brought a breath of life to upper Broadway. It’s also become a rich center for the visual arts, thanks to the efforts of tenant Lou Spina. Spina operates several businesses from a 2,000-square-foot loft space on the second floor, among them Second Chance 4 Me, an innovative employment incubator, and an art gallery, which each month showcases the works of dozens of artists on the walls of the loft, hall and adjoining galleries.
Now Spina is building on that success with an arts extravaganza entitled Art on the Line, which he describes as “a fantasia of art, music and food.” Held at his Seven21 loft, the festival is part of his plan to attract more culture and economic development to Kingston. “What we’re doing is presenting painters, sculptors, photographers, dancers, singers, musicians, and chefs–artists in every conceivable medium–under one roof,” Spina said. “We’re making it possible for the public to interact and to enjoy these artists in an intimate setting that also serves as the jumping off point for a large-scale vision to showcase arts in our region and boost our economy.” Spina is soliciting sponsors, so if you’re a local business and want to get involved, give him a call at 331-7599.
Beginning in the afternoon on Friday, Oct. 1, more than 500 works of art will be displayed on clothes lines strung throughout the space. The event kicks off that evening with a cooking demonstration by Noah Sheetz, the executive chef for the Governor’s Mansion, followed by performances by singer Lex Grey (accompanied by guitarist Vic Mix), singer-songwriter Roseann Sureda, and bassist and Grammy-winning producer Malcolm Cecil and his band. The festival continues on Saturday evening with “Italy on the Hudson,” featuring an opera performance by Phoenicia’s Festival of the Voice singers, a dance by Linda Diamond and her NYC troupe, an exhibit of Alex Kveton’s sculptures, and delicious food catered by Savona’s Trattoria. On Sunday, a jazz brunch will be served from 1 to 2 pm, with food catered by several Kingston restaurants, followed by music by Stephen Johnson, the Will Smith Trio, and Veronica Nunn. The premises will be open to the general public in the afternoon of each day. For more information, check out www.artontheline.info or call 331-7955.
Spina, a former phys ed teacher at Kingston High School, has had a second career developing jobs for troubled kids and special needs individuals. Second Chance 4 Me seeks to locate jobs for the employment-challenged as well as provide them, through the auspices of Spina’s other ventures. These include The Media Lab, which does video production and has offered Mac and other computer classes, and Our Neighborhood, which aims to help Midtown businesses promote themselves through video productions posted on line. Second Chance 4 Me will play a role in Art on the Line, with staff taping the Friday night cooking demonstrations in conjunction with Green Peas TV, a traveling regional cooking show.
Art on the Line is one of several arts-related events hosted by Spina. Earlier this year, he presented an independent film festival, and coming up, on October 20, he is holding a performing arts forum on applying for grants. Such a diversity of events contribute to making Kingston a thriving arts center.