Overview

The Cornell Creative Arts Center offers programming that is focused on the inclusion of the Hudson Valley’s diverse population of artists and community creatives from every background. We offer classes, workshops, gallery exhibitions and community event space for people of any age.

 

Our facilities include a large open ceramic studio, dance/movement studio, public gallery space, painting/drawing/mixed media studio, several private artist studios/offices, classroom for music/creative writing and a digital arts-media studio. In addition, our facility is the home for the Arts Mid-Hudson.

 

At Cornell Creative Arts Center, every person is supported, encouraged, empowered, and accepted into an environment where they are provided with rich opportunities to learn and grow their artistic talents. People who enroll in classes offered by the CCAC will participate in a program that provides affordable and comprehensive access to the arts.

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Art Gallery 1
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art studio classroom
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coworking space
dance movement studio classroom
Dance studio 1
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Dance Studio set up for 20-person workshop
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Art Gallery 1
art studio 1
art studio 2
art studio classroom
coworking space 3
coworking space 4
coworking space
dance movement studio classroom
Dance studio 1
Dance studio 2
Dance Studio set up for 20-person workshop
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Studio rental B
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Our Mission

To provide access to education and support in the full spectrum of the arts for a diverse and underserved community in an environment that promotes equality and unity.


Our Vision

The Cornell Creative Arts Center is a vibrant inclusive community-based art center that provides a place to make, engage in, and share art. The CCAC offers services that lower the barriers to participation in the arts and integrates the experience of art into the life of the Hudson Valley community. We work towards creating an experience in which all people can incorporate the creative arts into their daily lives, to help increase community connections, create a sense of empowerment, to build long-standing relationships.


Art for All – Accessibility

All parts of the art center are wheelchair accessible, with a ramp at our main entrance, an ADA pottery wheel, and accessible parking spots in our parking lot.  While we have ADA men’s & women’s bathrooms, gender diversity is welcomed at CCAC. All are welcome to use the restroom that best fits their identity.

Some of our classes are offered in both English and Spanish, and while do not have Spanish translations for all of our programming, we are happy to try our best to accommodate with notice. Virtual classes are taught in English unless otherwise specified. ASL and captions are not available at this time but we welcome translators, interpreters and other volunteers to contact us.


 

Our Team

Our Team is one of collaboration and collective signature.  We share a kindred spirit of service and aesthetic “elan vital”  and find inspiration in the sharing of our gifts for art in exhibition, teaching, community engagement and the celebration of our humanity.

John Smith-Amato

Director

John Smith-Amato

Director

Biography – John Smith-Amato, Director, Synchronicity Fine Arts, Executive Director of Paramount Hudson Valley Arts, Certified Art Therapist: Professor of Studio Art and Art as therapy, Author; “ A Context for Art” and “ Art as Therapy: a methodology connecting perception to behavior”. International Exhibiting Painter/ Artist.

John Smith-Amato is Founder and Director of Synchronicity Space. Established in 1988, Synchronicity Space, is an internationally recognized (501 C-3; not for profit) arts organization. Synchronicity’s mission: to produce, present and nurture theatre, both locally and internationally; promote, conceive and develop fine art exhibitions in local and international gallery venues by providing support and services for the development and promotion of emerging visual artists. Synchronicity was conceived to provide professional services, which encourage artist accountability in the exposure, fiscal awareness and presentation of their work. Mr. Amato has initiated and developed programs for young playwrights and poets, writers, painters, actors and children’s theatre. He has collaborated with community organizations developing programs to benefit the fiscal needs of developing and emerging artists as well as educational institutions and sparsely funded arts programs that are designed to commingle differing cultures. Some such organizations that have benefited by Synchronicity’s endeavors are: The Dwelling Place, a New York women’s shelter, the Chinese American Association for Battered Women, scores of NY theatre companies, the Artists’ Alliance, NYU Medical School, St. Vincent’s Hospital, NYU Film School, Graymoor/ St. Christopher’s Inn and countless international arts organizations like Synchronicity Space around the world. Since its inception, Synchronicity Space has been active in producing, presenting, exhibiting and sponsoring American and international artists and theatre projects. The efforts of the organization have given the public the opportunity to experience the diverse cultural interpretations of artists from: Africa, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Ireland, England, Israel, Japan, Hungary, Latin America, Poland and Russia.

Mr. Amato, prior to his founding Synchronicity Space, was collaborator and developer of three other like organizations while living and teaching abroad in Japan, Germany and France. These organizations are still actively presenting and exhibiting artists in the spirit in which they were established. He has extensive experience producing, presenting and exhibiting in the United States and abroad while working with artists in the development of theatre companies in supporting their artistic visions. During his 30 years as Director of Synchronicity, he has presented more than 400 theatre, dance, music and performance productions and exhibited more than 300 visual artists in New York and internationally. Synchronicity continues to sponsor artists in international residency exchange programs in association with 13 international sister sites

Mr. Amato, after having completed his Bachelors degree in English and arts education and administration, pursued his master’s degree in comparative literature at Columbia University, which included one year as an assistant to Lionel Trilling (who, in 1975 passed away and which lead Amato to his next journey). He did his post graduate studies in painting and drawing with Norman Raeben at his Carnegie Hall Studio in New York, NY (who passed away in 1978 ) which brought Amato to the next phase of his development at L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, France, where after having completed his post graduate degree (MFA- studio art) was asked to stay on as an instructor (by the then Chair: Pierre La Forrestier. (teaching painting and drawing)

While living and working in Paris, he became involved with the “Theatre du Soleil” first as an intern novice but eventually in development and administrative liaise in Paris. Also, while living and teaching in Paris, Amato had the privilege to study with Francoise Dolto at the Sorbonne while getting his License (2 year program ) in Behavioral Psychology; He began work with that credential at “L’Institut de Reeducation” just outside of Paris near Coulommiers. It was at this time that he began his research and development of “Art as Therapy”. Amato returned to NYC to exhibit his work with representation by Pierre Matisse Gallery in 1982-3 after which he headed for Berlin (in the Schöneberg district) where he set up shop again to promote new and multicultural theatre on ground level or what he refers to as “economy of means art” After a year and a half he headed for Japan to study and teach in Kyoto. In what was to be a short visit to explore the light and landscapes of Toyo, Utamaro, Tohaku and Shubun, his journey became a two ½ year love affair. While living in Japan, he found a teaching position engaging the Western Approach to Painting, which included one year at Kyoto University. He also founded a performance art Gallery/Theatre that remains active today in downtown Kyoto. Upon his return from Japan he established Synchronicity Space as a not –or-profit arts organization and has been it’s director ever since. Amato has taught painting and drawing for 35 years on the undergraduate, graduate levels in education.

In 2005-2015, John had been Art Therapist or as he likes to refer to the practice, “art as therapy” at St. Christopher’s Inn/ Graymoor, two minutes from his home, on a very special mountain, in Garrison, NY. In the time (10 years) he has spent treating the men in recovery from alcohol and substance dependency, Amato has developed a methodology for treating addiction. His process is designed to connect perception to behavior ( with a clear focus on CBT and DBT, for issues related to OCD, ADHD, PTSD, Anxiety disorder, Bipolar disorder, as well as other neuro and bio-chemical predispositions ) and help the men develop, reinvent and reestablish innocence in their lives and understanding. The innocence, once reestablished, enables the clients to put into action, coping skills of awareness and practice, that will help them reinvent their behavioral context and perspectives on life. He considers this part of his career as the “high point” to date. Amato was also the director of the art therapy program at St. Christopher’s

Inn in Garrison, NY, an institution with a history of 103 years and recognized as accomplishing the highest recovery rate in the country for men suffering from substance and alcohol dependency. At Graymoor, aside from treating patients, he had been developing a new methodology, integrating various art forms therapeutically, in so doing, providing context for perception as a source of reinvention. As such, by connecting perception to behavior, his clients/patients develop coping skills to move forward in a healthier connectivity to their world. Recently, he has been teaching this methodology throughout the tri-state area at universities and colleges in a seminar formats throughout New York State.

In 2017 Amato became the Executive Director of Paramount Hudson Valley Arts bringing theatre, dance, classical music, fine art exhibitions and film to the community of upper Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Rockland and Dutchess counties. He currently presides over a private practice in NYC /Times Sq. for Broadway Professionals where he maintains a therapeutic presence for theatre professionals and works with veterans returning from the middle east and struggling with substance and alcohol dependency.

Mr. Amato continues his career as a visual artist exhibiting his paintings internationally in galleries and museums. His work has become a part of institutional, Corp. Private and museum collections worldwide. His more prestigious showings were at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, the Kyoto National Museum, Okazaki National Museum, and Suzuki Gallery, Kyoto, Japan, Kunsthaus in Hamburg and Berlin, Germany, the Brookhaven Museum in Southampton, NY, Pierre Matisse Galarie and Grand Hotel Salon in Paris, France; Barone Arte Contemporaranes, Milano, Italy; Borar Galarie, Istanbul, Turkey, the Brooklyn, Norton, Museums and recently the Barnes, Centre Pompidou and Sackler Museum of Art @ Beijing University.

Newly engaged with The Arc and CCAC, Amato begins yet another undertaking in support of the arts as the new director of CCAC in the community of Kingston, NY and hopes to guild the wonderful arts center to a vibrant new life to the center using his long history and experience to help guide the center with vision and a sense of responsibility.

Elena Lo-McEnaney

Admin & Graphic Designer

Elena Lo-McEnaney

Admin & Graphic Designer

Elena Lo-McEnaney is the Admin and Graphic Designer for the Cornell Creative Art Center. Having grown up in Kingston, she spent her summers during her high school years working for The Arc Mid-Hudson, assisting with any creative projects she could get her hands on. Since then, she has graduated from SUNY Purchase with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies, where she focused on blending her love for art and design with her interest in sociology and media. She’s enthusiastic to be a part of the CCAC team, and to contribute to the work she feels is so valuable to our community.

Karen Jaimes

Ceramics Studio Manager & Instructor

Karen Jaimes

Ceramics Studio Manager & Instructor

KJ is an artist-activist and educator who makes clay sculptures to address sociopolitical issues. The transhistorical and transcultural nature of ceramics makes it the perfect material for metaphor. Her sculptures have been exhibited in the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, the Katonah Museum of Art, the Barrett Art Center and the Dorsky Museum of Art among others. She holds a MFA in ceramics from SUNY New Paltz and a BFA from Manhattanville College with a minor in political science. ​Karen is an enthusiastic teacher who enjoys sharing her knowledge of clay’s vast properties that span across many fields, including alchemy, geology, and anthropology. She is a seasoned educator who has worked with people of all age groups and learning capacities at community centers, public schools and universities, art centers, museums, and summer camp. She especially loves working with senior citizens and underrepresented folks. Karen employs a therapeutic approach in the classroom and draws out students’ collective knowledge when teaching traditional historical methods and contemporary practices to foster community and connection.

Es una artista-activista y educadora que hace esculturas de arcilla para abordar problemas sociopolíticos. La naturaleza transhistórica y transcultural de la cerámica la convierte en el material perfecto para la metáfora. Sus esculturas se han exhibido en el Centro Histórico y de Arte de Williamsburg, el Museo de Arte Katonah, el Centro de Arte Barrett y el Museo de Arte Dorsky, entre otros. Tiene un MFA en cerámica de SUNY New Paltz y un BFA de Manhattanville College con especialización en ciencias políticas. Karen es una maestra entusiasta que disfruta compartir su conocimiento de las vastas propiedades de la arcilla que abarcan muchos campos, incluida la alquimia, la geología y la antropología. Es una educadora experimentada que ha trabajado con personas de todas las edades y capacidades de aprendizaje en centros comunitarios, escuelas públicas y universidades, centros de arte, museos y campamentos de verano. A ella le encanta especialmente trabajar con personas de la tercera edad y personas con poca representación. Karen emplea un enfoque terapéutico en el aula y extrae el conocimiento colectivo de los estudiantes al enseñar métodos históricos tradicionales y prácticas contemporáneas para fomentar la comunidad y la conexión.

Andy Piquero

Administrative Coordinator

Andy Piquero

Administrative Coordinator

Anderson, or Andy, Piquero (he/they) is one of the receptionists for the Cornell Creative Arts Center. He’s had a passion for the arts since he was a kid and can’t imagine a world without creativity. He went to SUNY New Paltz for Creative Writing and has been working with The Arc for about 4 years now. He strives to create a warm, friendly, and calm environment for all those who come to visit or take classes.

Susie Amato

Sculpture Instructor

Susie Amato

Sculpture Instructor

Susie Amato attended The National Academy School of Fine Arts and studied with Ron Sherr, Harvey Dinnerstein and Marybeth McKenzie 

She sought out Robert Beverly Hale, Nelson Shanks and sculptor Antonio Antonius at The Art Students League and studied with Tony Ryder and Ted Seth Jacobs In France. Later she pursued individual artist/teachers Odd Nerdrum  in Norway and Alex Kavensky in Spain for further study. 

She is the founder of ArtistsInConflict, an umbrella organization for Africa Extreme Plein Air Workshops, and Paint Zanzibar. She also founded Paint Adventure series which includes painting workshops in Italy, Zanzibar, and Abiquiu, NM. 

Susie participated in The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Peace and Poverty Eradication 2008, in association with the Tanzanian Government and the United Nations. 

She has been an assistant to sculptor Paul Lucchesi for 11 years at Parsons/New School for Social Research. Resulting with a teaching position  in Pietra Santa, Italy at Circolo Culturale il Bosso.  

She is the recipient of a grant from the Alice Neel Foundation . The Philip Isenberg Award for Sculpture,  The Edward G. McDowell Foundation, Xavier Gonzalez Award for painting,  Kuniyoshi Award and other supporting and educational grants. 

Barushka

Bellydance Instructor

Barushka

Bellydance Instructor

Barushka fuses folkloric, tribal style belly dance with swing and vintage jazz. She started studying traditional belly dance in 1996, tribal belly dance in 2001 and swing in 2017. She has studied the following styles of belly dance: ATS, tribal fusion, folkloric, Egyptian, Turkish, sword and floor work. Previous trainings include bollywood, bhangrah, odissa, flamenco, Tunisian African, salsa, butoh, hip hop, breakdance, swing and vintage jazz. Her instructors included Carolena Nericcio of Fat Chance Belly Dance, Paulette Rees-Denis of Gypsy Caravan, Suhaila Salimpour, Heather Stants of Urban Tribal, Jill Parker of Ultra Gypsy, Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes and Mardi Love of the Indigo to name but a few. Plus swing/jazz teachers such as Emily Vail and Linda and Chester Freeman. Barushka primarily combines classical Indian, cabaret, modern, swing & vintage jazz dance forms to create her specific style of fusion belly dance.
Barushka has performed restaurants, theater stages, salons, gala events and festivals. She has taught and performed internationally and nationwide. She includes working with props such as veil, finger cymbals, and sword. Barushka was a member of the Alchemy Tribal Collective in NYC, and was also a former, first tear member of PURE in NYC. She was the co-founder of the tribal fusion troupe The Bleeding Hearts Belly Dance Co. She is also a member of the Kingston vintage jazz chorus-girl troupe The Uptown Lowdown. Her desire is to help raise the public’s frequency through the art of dance and help bring belly dance to a higher art form.

Gülnar Babayeva

Sculpture Instructor

Gülnar Babayeva

Sculpture Instructor

Gülnar Babayeva is a figurative sculptor & designer at @caspianmuse studio. Originally from Azerbaijan, she moved to New York’s Hudson Valley in 2010 to study art & design thanks to the generosity of a local American family, and earned two associate degrees from SUNY Ulster in 2012: AA in Fine Arts and AS in Advertising Design & Graphic Technology. She was awarded the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence the same year. Babayeva holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Azerbaijan University of Languages.She practiced observational figurative sculpting with master sculptor Tricia Cline at Woodstock School of Art, and has been sculpting since 2012. Focusing on her sculptor identity during the pandemic, had led to Babayeva’s debut solo sculpture exhibition – R e v i v a l – at the Arts Society of Kingston in June 2021. Her sculptures are being exhibited in group and juried exhibitions locally + virtually, and have been acquired for private collections.Babayeva’s love for figurative art propels her mission to make figurative sculpture visible and adequately represented in local galleries & art venues by inspiring a new interest in figurative sculpting and making it accessible to the art community & public, while pursuing its inclusion and advancement in educational art organizations. Recently, she directed the launch of a new art gallery and curated an invitational sculpture exhibition THE OTHER DIMENSION in Olivebridge, NY. The exhibition showcased works with a figurative focus and representational influence, while highlighting seven local Hudson Valley sculptors.
Babayeva was awarded the 2022 NYSCA Individual Artist Grant for her art proposal, which aims to cultivate figurative sculpture in the Hudson Valley area. She is creating a new body of figurative work – primarily ceramic sculpture – & vessels at the Cornell Creative Arts Center’s Ceramics Studio in Kingston, NY.

Website: GulnarBabayeva.com

Instagram: @caspianmuse

Shana Circe

Arts Instructor

Shana Circe

Arts Instructor

Shana is a multi media artist with a current passion for watercolor. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Visual Arts Education with concentrations in Photography from SUNY New Paltz. After a long career in higher education she has turned her focus to bringing art instruction to her community in the Hudson Valley. She enjoys all the variation watercolor offers and loves to paint in a loose and vibrant style. She also appreciates the delicacy of controlled realism, and simplicity and power of illustration that can be achieved through the medium. She believes everyone has a creative self and loves to help students find joy and pride in their creative work.

Megan Dewitt

Art Instructor

Megan Dewitt

Art Instructor

Jackie Fischer

Sculpture Instructor

Jackie Fischer

Sculpture Instructor

Jackie Fischer is a sculptor specializing in ceramics, metal casting, and rug making. She received her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at Alfred University with a concentration in Ceramics & Metal with a minor in human psychology. She has received scholarships from craft schools such as Peters Valley School of Craft, Anderson Ranch Art Center, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Shet attended artist residencies at Salem Art Works, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Chesterwood & Berkshire Art Center. Much of Jackies work challenges the ideology of the American dream. Jackie is a patient instructor & lives for the moments when her student’s faces light up after executing a difficult part of the process. 

Holly Shelowitz

Culinary Nutrition Educator & Instructor

Holly Shelowitz

Culinary Nutrition Educator & Instructor

Holly Shelowitz is a Nutrition Counselor, Culinary Educator and Wellness Coach.
For the past 23 years, Holly has been inspiring people to slow down, prepare nourishing
food, connect with themselves and engage their senses.
Holly’s private consultations, nutrition and cooking classes, aromatherapy and herbal
wisdom workshops have helped thousands of people to feel empowered and proactive
about their health, and make positive changes in their lives.
Holly is a regular guest on Northeast Public Radio Food Friday show, and was
the Northeast Regional Nutrition Educator for Whole Foods Market Global. Holly is a
keynote speaker with corporations, educational institutions, and is on the faculty at
Omega Institute.
When she’s not in the kitchen, you will find Holly walking or riding her bicycle on the
glorious Hudson Valley Trails.
Visit www.nourishingwisdom.com to connect with Holly and learn more about her
offerings

Beth Shoenfeld

Ceramics Instructor

Beth Shoenfeld

Ceramics Instructor

Beth Shoenfeld is a mixed media painter and potter, who has lived in the Hudson Valley since 1989. She was born in the Bronx and grew up in metropolitan New York and New Jersey.

Beth holds an MSW from Adelphi School of Social Work at the Hudson Valley Campus and a BA from The University of Findlay, Ohio where she studied ceramics, sculpture, and painting. While completing her undergraduate studies, Beth’s work was represented by The Miller Gallery in Cincinnati, OH. She received numerous awards including purchase awards from The Toledo Museum of Art and The University of Findlay private collections. She has exhibited art in galleries in NY and Ohio.

Beth lived and worked in Greece where she had a solo exhibition in Athens and worked in a pottery on the Island of Crete. Greek art, culture, colors, and architecture are reflected in her ceramic jewelry and two-dimensional art.

While deconstructing her works on paper from her Athens exhibit and reconstructing new art from the scraps of her past work, she started a lifelong process of creating new works with pigments, paper, and glue. Materials and found papers connect one piece to another. This process continues to this day.

Working with clay opened Beth’s eyes to the possibility of being a professional craftsperson and artist at a young age. Ceramics have always been an important element in her work.

Mixing up materials, tearing down and connecting one piece to the next, is a hands-on approach that suits her. Beth’s approach to clay is collage-like, ripping and reattaching form and color. Connection seems to always be the subject matter.

Upon returning to New York, Beth met and married John Shoenfeld, a Potter in New York. They worked together at his studio, Beautiful Fields Pottery and soon after, they were owners of Mug Paw Pottery in South Danbury, New Hampshire. Together they produced functional stoneware pots. After the birth of her son, Beth began designing and producing colored porcelain jewelry. The pieces are fired once, then highly burnished in a rock tumbler. The incredibly soft satin finish and muted colors are the essence of this work.

Beth is excited to join the Cornell Creative Arts team. She was inspired by amazing art teachers throughout her life who instilled in her a lifelong passion to create. She hopes to inspire students in much the same way! Beth believes in making connections through art. Her work as a mixed media artist, which involves manipulating materials, such as pushing and pulling clay, paper, paint, and glue, and layering, ripping, and rebuilding elements from one piece to the next, represents the continuous flow of life.