KINGSTON, NY – The Woodstock Center for Photography opens Saturday at its new location at 474 Broadway in the city with a performance by Kingston-based photographer, director and artist Doug Menuez.
The exhibit, titled “Wild Place: People of Kingston,” opens from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at nearby photographer Aaron Rezny’s gallery in the former Welch Industrial Supply building at 76 Prince St. and also at the new Kingston Gallery, which is also an office and digital lab space.
Board member Rezny said he couldn’t think of a better home for the center than Midtown Kingston with its vibrant arts scene that has garnered national and international attention.
Barry Mayo, co-chair of the board of the Center for Photography at Woodstock with Clinton Cargill, said the center’s move to Kingston from its original longtime home to a space that once housed Bob Dylan in the heart of Woodstock was a necessity, as its former space, dating back to the 1800s, was in dire need of repairs.
“We did a study five years ago to see what it would take to get it back to a good state of structural repair and it cost $2 million,” Mayo said.
Mayo said the project was prohibitively expensive and the members decided to put the building – where a group of photographers led by Howie Greenberg and Michael Feinberg started the center in 1977 – up for sale.
He admitted that a spike in real estate prices in the Hudson Valley made it an ideal time to sell and move.
As the members searched for a new location, Woodstock no longer made sense, he admitted. “There was no logical place to buy,” he said.
So they turned to Kingston.
With Kingston’s growth, the center “started to consider moving here,” Mayo said.
Mayo said the new space is only about half the size of their old space at Woodstock, and he added that it’s just a transitional space as the center seeks a larger space. large between 7,500 and 10,000 square feet in Kingston.
And that extra space will come in handy as the center seeks a new home for its collection of 1,400 photos, which are currently held at the Samuel Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. The Dorsky, facing its own storage issues for its collections, informed the center it needed to find a new home for its collection by 2023, Mayo said.
Mayo spent 35 years in radio, still taking pictures as a hobby, before leaving that industry and focusing more on photography. Originally from New York, he credits famous photographer Dawoud Bey with introducing him to the region and the center.
Standing in Rezny’s gallery on a recent morning, Menuez, who once lived in the Bay Area, said he had worked on many long-term projects, sometimes spanning decades. He recalled a project documenting the rise of the tech industry and photographing famous tech leaders like Apple’s late Steve Jobs.
Menuez said he eventually became disillusioned with the Bay Area and the tech industry when the mood shifted from changing and improving the world through technology to a focus on a more Wall Street philosophy of course. actions.
Menuez said her new project now seeks to document the constant change in Kingston. Speaking of Kingston, he said that while working on the project, Guy Kempe, former vice-president of community development at affordable housing agency RUPCO, once told him: “People want change now and they want less”.
Menuez is no stranger to Kingston. He lived and worked in a Shirt Factory loft, employing more than eight other people in the 2000s, before leaving the area for New York in 2007.
Menuez said he then returned to Kingston after a major global project he was working on fell through. He said a common theme between his two stints in the city is the narrative that “it comes back”.
But Menuez said there was a different vibe this time around. “This new energy is constantly surprising,” he said.
Mayo said he hopes this show can serve as an inspiration for Kingstonians to take their cameras and document family, friends and other Kingstonians to expand the reach of Menuez’s project.
This exhibit shows that “you don’t have to travel the world to take great photos,” Rezny said. “You can get great photos by photographing your own community. It depicts all walks of life, Doug makes them stars.
Mayo said the city has been very helpful. “This town of 25,000 has been very welcoming,” Mayo said. The center also reaches out to other arts organizations and others about collaborations.
“We want the center to serve as a catalyst for the photographic arts to transform and improve lives,” Menuez said.
For more information and gallery hours, call (845) 679-9957 or visit https://www.cpw.org/.