The O+ festival in Kingston is a 3-day event where artists and musicians exchange their participation for basic health care, dental and wellness services. Billed as “The Art of Medicine for the Medicine of Art”, the growing Kingston event features many forms of art media including paint, sculpture, dance, performance art and music. The first Kingston O+ festival took place in 2010. The most visible aspects of the festival are the beautiful, and often large-scale, murals seen throughout the city.
Included in this post is a sampling of murals that can be found in, or close to, the historic Stockade District of Kingston. The streets are laid out today just as they were in 1658 when the village was formed. The district contains a mix of architecturally appealing buildings from across the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries, including stone houses, storefronts, office buildings, apartment buildings and former warehouses. The murals provide an interesting contrast of modern-vs-historic. The Stockade District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The large scale, and visually stunning mural titled Pronkstilleven was created by Gaia, a Baltimore based artist and muralist, in 2015 as part of the 6th annual O+ festival in Kingston. The mural depicts John Vanderlyn, Kingston-born painter, and Sojourner Truth, abolitionist and women’s rights activist. The title is a Dutch word meaning “ornate or ostentatious, still life” and also describes a 17th century Dutch style of painting. Gaia created the impressive work on the side of the historic Stuyvesant Building in the Stockade District of Kingston. Gaia is familiar to the Kingston art community and fans of the O+ festival as the creator of the popular and equally impressive Artemis Emerging from the Quarry during the 2013 O+ Festival.
The Eye of Your Storm
This interesting mural titled The Eye of Your Storm was created in 2015 by painter Kathleen Griffin in collaboration with government physicist Christos Kapetnakos. The mathematical formulas detail now de-classified aspects of the government’s 1980s-era “Star Wars” project. Merging space-related wind turbulence formulas with earth-bound tornados creates a dynamic and stark contrast. Visit Kathleen’s website at www.kathleen-griffin.com for more information on the artist and this interesting piece.
The large-scale mural titled Know Thyself was created by artist and Baltimore resident Ernest Shaw, Jr. in 2015 as part of the 6th annual O+ festival. Shaw has created murals throughout Baltimore, participated in Baltimore’s Open Walls project, and works as a teacher at the Maryland Academy of Technology & Health Sciences.
Artemis Emerging from the Quarry
This 6-story outdoor street art mural titled Artemis Emerging from the Quarry depicts the Greek goddess Artemis as she emerges from a stone quarry with her outstretched arms over New York City. In Greek mythology Artemis, daughter of Zeus and twin sister of Apollo, was the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals; and fertility. The mural was painted by the emerging Baltimore artist Gaia and took nearly a week to complete. The mural is not without controversy, however, with some locals feeling that it is out of place for Kingston’s historic district. The Artemis mural was painted in conjunction with the 2013, 4th annual O+ festival.
The Stockade District mural titled SWAK was created during the 2015 and 6th annual O+ Festival by artist and graphic designer Keith Carollo. The mural is the first of a pair, the second SWAK mural being located in midtown Kingston.
This engaging carousel mural titled Bilancia was painted by Artist Kimberly Kae of Ulster Park in collaboration with her husband Matt DiFrancesco. Kimberly received her Bachelor in Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Washington and trained in Italy for three years. She currently owns her own company, Murorosso, which provides custom interior murals and backdrops for homes and businesses. This particular mural was painted in conjunction with the 2013 and 4th annual O+ festival.
Created by artist Erika DeVries, the pink-and-white neon sign Somewhere is based off her 6-year-old son’s handwriting. This edition of the sign was located at the BSP building in the Stockade District, an historic building constructed in the late-1800s which long served as a theater, became a furniture show room before today operating as a dance venue and concert theater.
After Dinner, Wash the Dishes
The large-scale mural known as Matt adorns the side of brick building in the Stockade District of historic Kingston. It was created in 2014 by Nils Westergaard, a well-known street artist and film maker from Virginia. This particular mural was painted in conjunction with the 2014 and 5th annual O+ festival.
Your Slogan Here
Between Realms We Grow Roots
The mural titled Between Realms We Grow Roots was created by artists Jia Sung and Sarula Bao in Kingston, New York in conjunction with the 2017 O+ festival.
Vignettes of Home
Vignettes of Home is a small, yet colorful mural located in the Stockade District of Kingston, New York. The mural was created by local artist Jane Bloodgood-Abrams in conjunction with the 2017 and 8th annual O+ festival.
What Are You Doing for Others?
This famous quote was part of a speech called “Conquering Self-Centeredness” given by the influential civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on August 11, 1957 at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. This outdoor art display dedicated to that famous quote was located in the historic Stockade District of Kingston.
“An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Every person must decide, at some point, whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment: Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ’What are you doing for others?’”
The Hobgoblin of Old Dutch Church
The large-scale Hobgoblin of Old Dutch Church was created in 2014 by Kingston native and SUNY Purchase graduate Matthew Pleva. The 50 x 28 mural, which overlooks Peace Park in the Stockade District of Kingston, features several icons of the Kingston landscape including the Old Dutch Church and Jansen House as well the famed hobgoblin of Kingston lore. Visit Matthew’s website at www.matthewpleva.com for more information about this amazing artist or visit him at his store, The Art Riot.
Although the title of this mural is unknown and is tucked away off the street, it will still not escape attention from any Kingston visitor who stumbles upon it. The mural was created by artists Geddes Paulsen and Raudiel Sanudo in 2011 as part of the 2nd annual O+ festival.