Roost on Main: College forging new partnerships with village art gallery

A new artists’ collective in the heart of downtown New Paltz is emerging as a focal point of creative activity in the region, and students at SUNY New Paltz are taking notice.

Roost Studios and Cooperative Art Gallery, at 69 Main St., opened in 2016 with a mission of offering thoughtful art programming and creating a social gathering place for Hudson Valley artists and audiences of all ages.

For Roost Studios gallery director, board president and SUNY New Paltz alumna Marcy Bernstein ’91g (Painting & Drawing), that mission always meant including College students, faculty and staff.

“Building community through the arts and creative educational partnerships are key aspects of our mission as a non-profit space for the arts,” Bernstein said. ““We are within walking distance of campus, and from the beginning we have made an effort to welcome students with open arms.”

In just one year since Roost Studios opened, the gallery’s effort to partner with student artists has created a number of exhibition, learning and professional development opportunities, including:

  • Art Education internships for students interested in leading the “Dinner Date/Kids Create” program, a Friday evening arts workshop;
  • An annual “Rising Artist” juried exhibition organized to showcase the work of young local artists;
  • An applied learning opportunity for students of the Business of Art course led by Maria Guralnik;
  • And most recently, a gallery event curated by students of the Intro to Museum Studies course led by Daniel Belasco in fall 2016, in which students met with Lonnie Schlein, former chief international photo editor for the New York Times, and adapted his photos, with a written personal response, for presentation in the exhibition, which opened on Feb. 18 with an artist talk with the famed photojournalist.

The Schlein exhibition offers a powerful example of the potential benefit to New Paltz students that Roost has to offer. Cheyenne Rossler ’18 (Art History) worked closely with gallery staff to organize the exhibition, and said the experience added an unexpected depth of learning to the course.

“When I enrolled in Intro to Museum Studies, I was hoping to get a grasp of professional practices of museums and galleries,” Rossler said on the eve of the exhibition opening. “My experience as guest curator at Roost, receiving their respect and trust to accomplish our goals for the exhibition, gave me insights that I hope to apply to my future career in gallery work. I’m appreciative of all the people who helped me through the process, and I’m proud of myself and happy with the outcome.”

Visit Roost Studios online to learn more about opportunities to collaborate with curators and artists in New Paltz.