Articles,  interviews and snippets from local media

Cornwall Arts Collective presents new show


photo by Maureen Hart


Artists and visitors appreciate the diverse artwork on display.

By Ken Cashman


The Cornwall Local

January 23, 2020


2 Alices in Cornwall-on-Hudson was extra busy on Friday night. There was the usual crowd in addition to the members of the Cornwall Arts Collective, who were celebrating the opening of a new show.


For an outsider, it was hard to know who was who — to distinguish the artists from the people who just wanted to unwind at the end of the work week.


Since the noise level was high, it was probably good that there were no presentations to mark the start of the exhibit. Maureen Hart, a member of the group, said that none had been planned. As she held a young grandchild, she explained that most artists spend many hours working alone. The Friday night activity was a chance for them to enjoy being together.

Mrs. Hart introduced us to a pair of high school students, John and Sarah Murphy, from the Town of Newburgh who are the collective’s newest and youngest members. She convinced  them to join after meeting them at an area frame shop. They are siblings and accomplished photographers.  


The addition of John and Sarah suggests that the collective is diverse. It includes people of different ages as well as artists with a variety of talents. The group’s members include painters, photographers, sculptors and illustrators. 


One of the most unique members is Alan Reutershan, who creates art from the remnants he collects from the Hudson River. He contributed a wood sculpture to the exhibit, which attracted several viewers on opening night.


The younger guests, however, were drawn to a pair of paintings by Matt Soltis. One was a portrait of a robot from “Star Wars” and the other a re-creation of Stephen King’s “It.”

Rebecca Kashinski is the chairperson of the collective, having taken over from Jay LeRoy (the organization’s founder). On Friday evening, she was sitting at a table and chatting with friends. “We’re hoping to have four shows a year,” she told us, “in addition to monthly meetings with presentations.”


The organization is still comparatively new. “We hope to become more of a presence,” Mrs. Kashinski promised. “We’re working on that.”


You don’t have to be an artist to join the group, and you can belong to more than one organization. Some members of the collective are also part of the Orange County Arts Council.


If you missed the Friday opening, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the exhibit. It will continue until March 17. 2 Alices Coffee Lounge is at 311 Hudson Street.


Library hosts Arts Collective show

By Jason Kaplan


The Cornwall Local

May 3, 2019

When the Cornwall Arts Collective met after the holidays the members discussed what they wanted to accomplish during the year. One of the goals was to hold group shows. From 1 to 3 p.m., on May 11, the Cornwall Public Library will host an artists reception to kick off the art exhibit.

The exhibit, which will be on display from May 3 through June 26, will feature the work of eight area artists. About 18 pieces, of varying media, will be on display. The exhibit will
include photography, acrylic and oil paintings, mixed media pieces, and ink.

The theme of the exhibit, “The Natural World,” gives the artists an opportunity to interpret the world around them in many ways, from representational to abstract.

“The title of the group show was decided through a group poll,” said Arts Collective founder Jay LeRoy.  “Other potential themes included ‘dreams’ or ‘literature’ but eventually we decided ‘nature’ was more accessible while still allowing for a broad range of interpretation.”

The show at the library won’t be the last for the Arts Collective. Another group show is scheduled at
2 Alices Coffee Lounge, in Newburgh. It will run from July through September and will feature a general showcase of members’ artwork.

For more information and to support the Cornwall Arts Collective, visit, or follow the group on Facebook and Instagram.

The group welcomes all artists, whether or not they are residents of Cornwall. It is in this open spirit that Cornwall Arts Collective works to cultivate greater appreciation of the arts, and to value those who create it.


Attending an Arts Council exhibit after dark


photo by Ken Cashman


At the Orange County Arts Council exhibit, visitors stopped to look at the work submitted by Cornwall artists Jay Leroy and Carley Neilsen.

By Ken Cashman


The Cornwall Local

March 8, 2019

We started this series to demonstrate that you don’t have to travel far to find things to do. Until last week, all of our visits had one thing in common. They were made during the day.


We broke that tradition on Friday, March 1 when we went to the annual Members Exhibit of the Orange County Arts Council. The show was held at the Carriage House at Thornwillow — a spacious building from a different era in downtown Newburgh.

The trip was easy. We headed north on River Road and then turned west on South William Street. We appeared to be in a business district that was either forgotten or was active during the day and deserted at night. No one was on the sidewalk and there were only a few cars parked along the street.

That changed abruptly as we turned onto South Lander and approached the Carriage House. There were cars parked everywhere, a visual assurance that we had found the right place.

We parked around the corner and walked quickly to a door with a sign on it. In the dark, we could barely see the word “entrance.” Was this the door to the show? We hesitated for a moment and then went inside. It was like landing in Oz. The blackness of the night was replaced by a bright gallery with clusters of people surrounded by art and talking with great animation.

Admission was free, although the wine bar was strategically placed near the door. You could pay for a glass of wine or help yourself to the hors d’oeuvres that were available without charge. If you wanted a souvenir, you could purchase a T-shirt.

There was live music in the center of the room, and a lot of people who were anxious to chat or introduce themselves. And we weren’t the only ones planning to write about our experience. We saw students from SUNY Orange interviewing some of the contributors. One of the students was questioning Carley Nielsen from Cornwall, who was smiling and holding a bouquet of flowers. We never found out where she got them.

The exhibit (which included painting, drawing and sculpture) kicked off a month full of Art Council events. The council is hosting a March 8 concert at 6:30 p.m. at the Carriage House and a March 22 materials exchange at 6 p.m. at the same location. On March 9, there’s a storytelling event at Grit Works (115 Broadway in Newburgh). It starts at 7 p.m. And guests can participate. But their stories can’t be a second longer than five minutes. It might be interesting to see what happens if someone exceeds the limit.

And for those who missed the March 1 art show (or want to see it again), the Carriage House will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays through March 23.

Shoppers buy into supporting local business


By Jason Kaplan


The Cornwall Local

November 30, 2018

Retailers had their day, banking billions of dollars during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Not to be forgotten, however, are the local businesses who had a day of their own.

Small Business Saturday was held Nov. 24, and as in the previous six years, residents came from near and far to participate in the
Shop Hop. Thirty-three stores, in the town and village, as well as the Cornwall Arts Collective and the Cornwall Historical Society participated.

Like every year, the importance of shopping locally was the main theme.


“It’s what keeps our economy thriving and makes us a desirable place to live,” said Jennifer Vanderberg, who has participated in the shop hop for four years along with her daughter, Grace. Vanderberg said she has friends who own businesses on Main Street.

Lois Raymond and Dale Conklin, two of the 30 crafters who contribute product to
Creative Gifts and More, said shopping locally allows customers the opportunity to purchase a variety unique, hand-made gifts.

“There’s a lot of talent in Cornwall and around Cornwall,” said Jay LeRoy, organizer of the
Cornwall Arts Collective. “It’s [the Shop Hop] a chance for exposure not only for the collective, but the artists as well. I would love it if people would buy original art from artists because it makes for a more unique gift than something mass produced in the store. It supports local artists and keeps money in the local economy.”

Corie Cronin heard the message loud and clear. The Newburgh resident decided to participate for the first time this year because her family had done it in the past. She said it was important to her to keep the community going by not patronizing the big box stores.

The Shop Hop also provided the opportunity for the over 120 participants to visit all the locations and have their card stamped in order to be eligible for the grand prize - a basket containing gifts from all the businesses involved.

Vanderberg said she’s completed her scorecard every year, but has yet to win the grand prize. Her strategy was to visit all the shops in the town then the village, finally ending her day at
Jones Farm where she and Grace could warm up with cups of hot cider.

Scorecards are still being collected and the winner of the grand prize will be announced soon.

Art Collective continues to grow


By Jason Kaplan


The Cornwall Local

October 19, 2018

The Cornwall Arts Collective is picking up steam and already has its third monthly meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 at The Shops at 277 Main.

The fledgling group is slowly growing and already has 12 members from the New Windsor/Cornwall area. So far the collective is made up of photographers, painters, illustrators, graphic designers, and crafters, but organizer Jay LeRoy said the arts encompass more than just visual media.

“I think most people have a narrow idea of what consists of art,” he said. “It’s open to jewelry makers, metal workers, glass blowers, fashion designers, poets, writers and more.”

The collective accepts any artist and is not limited to those who live in the immediate area.

Meetings are open to those interested in learning more about the collective or who may be considering joining.

During September’s meeting, the group discussed how artists can use social media to promote themselves and their artwork.

“The Internet is like the great equalizer,” LeRoy said. ”You don’t necessarily need to have an agent or a gallery to represent you. It helps, but now with the Internet, artists can take their careers and promotions into their own hands to get stuff out there to people they might not be able to reach otherwise.”

Getting people to visit social media sites requires artists to be full time self promoters. Artists have to know the right hashtags to use to increase traffic, as well as network with the right people.

Also discussed was funding for artists. LeRoy said websites like
Patreon, Kickstarter, or GoFundMe allow art aficionados to fund an artist’s project. The benefit is a physical or digital reward, or possibly receipt of exclusive content not found anywhere else.

“I think in this day and age where everything is so mass produced, people just take it for granted and they don’t appreciate how much time and effort, resources, and money goes into making artwork,” said LeRoy.

Finally, the collective began making plans for art events next year. Some ideas being tossed around include a public art installation, art shows for members, as well as an art walk or some sort of art festival. A field trip to
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is also being planned and would be open to members and non-members.

The next meeting’s agenda will include finalizing details for the Nov. 24 Shop Hop Artists Alley. The collective will be on the scorecard and artists will have their work for sale in front of
The Shops at 277 Main in Cornwall.

Newspaper’s artist has two outside careers


photo by Saeed Ali

Ashley Maraffino admires Jay LeRoy’s artwork during the "Meet The Artist” event at 2 Alices Coffee Lounge. The exhibit continues until Oct. 7.

By Ken Cashman


The Cornwall Local

September 21, 2018


How well do you know the people who work with you? Do you know what talents they have, and how they use them when they’re not on the job?

Jay LeRoy, the head of our Graphics Department, has been with us for nearly 16 years. But staff members were still surprised when
his art show opened at 2 Alices in Cornwall-on-Hudson.

The night before the “Meet the Artist” reception, Mr. LeRoy stopped at the coffee lounge and saw a customer examining his work. “I don’t care for it,” the man said innocently -- not knowing who  was in the store at the time.

Fortunately, his reaction was atypical. The exhibit prompted a stream of positive comments on Facebook. People said the work was “bold,” “original” and “eye catching.” Within a few weeks more than a third of the exhibit had been sold.

Most of the illustrations are digitally created. They’re inspired by 60s psychedelia, 70s science fiction, and dreams. Some were created in an afternoon. Others were started and abandoned for months until the artist came back to them with a fresh approach.

You can see the work for yourself by visiting He’s also designed all new packaging for
Bird’s Creations products, even the logos for Cornwall Public Library and The Shops at 277 Main.

But the artist has other outside activities that his co-workers didn’t know about. In July, he started Cornwall Arts Collective, a multi-member group that has had two meetings. “There’s a lot going on in the arts in Cornwall,” he said during an interview, “but there didn’t seem to be a central place where you can find out about it.”

Each new member of the group has brought in fresh ideas. The collective is helping Scouts earn art badges, and looking at ways to use social media to promote artists. “I’d love to have an art walk,” Mr. LeRoy admitted. “I’d love to keep people in Cornwall rather than have them always going to Newburgh or Beacon to experience art.”

The collective’s website clearly states the organization’s mission -- to make people aware of the artists among them and to promote art education. It’s a daunting project. And until this month the staff at the newspaper knew nothing about it.

Town will be brimming with art on Saturday


By Ken Cashman

The Cornwall Local

August 3, 2018

Cornwall will be brimming with entertainment on Saturday. Shoppers will find artists at work in a half dozen stores, and pedestrians can enjoy the community’s first
Sidewalk Showcase.

Jay LeRoy organized the latter event. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. Back in April, he got the idea after a conversation with an artist friend from Brooklyn. “Are you the only artist in town?” his friend wanted to know.

When Mr. LeRoy said he wasn’t, the friend asked, “Do you all get together, like have group shows?” Mr. LeRoy replied that they didn’t, to which the Brooklyn artist inquired, “Why not?” 

So LeRoy knew what he wanted to do, and he shared his idea for a group show with the shop owners at
The Shops at 277 Main.

So now it’s happening in Cornwall. Between noon and 4 p.m., there will be art and leather working exhibitions near the municipal parking lot, music by John and Jackie Gioia (and their students), and  at least 10 local artists will display their work.

The showcase was originally scheduled for the last weekend in July. But the date was changed when the organizer heard that a tour bus would be stopping in Cornwall on Aug. 4.

The same week he announced the showcase, Mr. LeRoy happened to meet a representative of
CreativesMX - the company bringing the tour bus - at the Goshen Art Walk. It must have been a productive meeting, because the gentleman offered to promote the Cornwall event and have a booth there.

But don’t look for the bus on Aug. 4. Unfortunately, it isn’t coming, because their arts marathon has been postponed. But visitors from out of town are still expected to show up.

The showcase should dovetail well with the
Chamber of Commerce’s event, the “Summer of Love...of the Arts,” where artists will hold demonstrations in the following stores:
Brid’s Closet, 282 Main St.
Cornwall Sweets, 297 Main St.
Cornwall Wines and Spirits, 45 Quaker Ave.
Creative Gifts & More, 277 Main St. 
Dance & Music Design School ,44 Clinton St. 
Worldwide Travel, 45 Quaker Ave.

Sidewalk Showcase debuts next week in Cornwall


​The Cornwall Local

July 27, 2018

The Shops at 277 Main will have their first Sidewalk Showcase, an outdoor art exhibition, on Saturday, Aug. 4 from 12 to 4 p.m. The event, which will take place on Main Street in Cornwall, was organized by Jay LeRoy Art & Design.

Visitors can enjoy a summer afternoon of creativity and art featuring local artists, such as Kayla Corona, Saeed Ali, Abi Moore, Luann Richards, Peter Kopher, Ryan Fulton, Jenna Tompkins, Devon Norris, Carol Mindnich, and Jay LeRoy. 

John and Jackie Gioia will provide live music and art near the shops that are hosting the event. Spectators can watch
-Leather working with Eric Noll
-A live painting by Matt Soltis
-And live illustration by Michael Oppenheimer

Guests can visit the
Carley Nielsen Art Gallery inside The Shops at 277 Main. They can  also attend a book signing with author Eve Goldstein, who will introduce her two illustrated works “Charles, The Amazing Acorn” and “Special You!”

CreativesMX, the creative economy ignitor, will host an activation booth that will include programing from artists such as CreativesMX Captivator, Noah Roberts, the apocalyptic poet. Visitors will Explore, Master, Promote, and Present in their creative economy, as well as patronize local businesses such as: The Bonnie Brae Soap & Candle Shoppe, Prima Pizza, Fiddlestix, Birds Creations, Brid’s Closet Metaphysical Shop, The Elizabeth Collection, Carley Nielsen Art Gallery, and Fresh Cornwall.