March 16, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City of Kingston bestows first Distinguished Artist Award to not one, but two artists
Award Ceremony to be held on Friday, April 13th at 5:30pm at City Hall
KINGSTON, N.Y. Mayor Steve Noble and the City’s Arts Commission are pleased to announce the recipient of the inaugural Distinguished Artist Award. This first award is presented to not one person, but a married couple: Kingston residents Julie Hedrick and Peter Wetzler. Both are extremely talented artists and longtime advocates for the arts in Kingston.
“Kingston has truly become a City of the Arts,” said Mayor Noble. “We are so grateful to all of the local artists who have contributed to our community and we are proud to celebrate with our first Distinguished Artist Award given to Julie Hedrick and Peter Wetzler.” Ward Mintz, Chair of the Arts Commission stated, "The Kingston Arts Commission is proud to have initiated the Distinguished Artist Award and congratulates two talented artists who combine a commitment to their art forms with a commitment to the city's cultural life."
Peter Wetzler is an award-winning composer-musician-music director scoring for film, theatre and television. Julie Hedrick is a painter and poet. She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant and is represented by the Nohra Haime Gallery in New York. Julie and Peter, who often collaborate on various art projects, have lived and worked in a converted church in the Rondout neighborhood of Kingston since 1986.
For the award, there were 18 nominations for 16 individuals. Nominees had to be residents of the City of Kingston for at least two years. Artists in any discipline could be nominated: music, theatre, dance, literary, visual, or media arts. The recipients were chosen based upon the level of their artistry, commitment to the art form, commitment to the community, and recognition in the field locally, nationally or internationally.
The panel for the Distinguished Artist Award was comprised of five Kingston residents: Bryant “Drew” Andrews, Executive Director, Center for Creative Education; Ione, author, playwright/director and poet; Brian Mahoney, Editor, Chronogram Magazine; Isabel Nazario, Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Rutgers University; and Aaron Rezny, food and still life photographer. Although the panel realized it was somewhat unusual to recommend two artists for the award, they felt that the two, as a couple, have contributed so much to the arts and culture of Kingston and that their individual talents, as well as their collaboration, were significant.
An awards ceremony will take place on Friday, April 13 at 5:30pm in Kingston City Hall. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the event, please call 845-334-3964 or e-mail [email protected].
About the Arts Commission
The City of Kingston Arts Commission’s mission is to strengthen the local economy by attracting and promoting artists, arts venues, and arts entrepreneurs; encouraging cultural tourism; creating opportunities for training and employment in a range of creative fields; and enhancing quality of life amenities that make Kingston a more attractive city in which to live. By so doing, the City of Kingston gains greater regional and national recognition.
About the Artists
Julie Hedrick: As critic Jonathan Goodman wrote about Hedrick’s work, “Her large, atmospheric abstract paintings look like modernist readings of the Hudson River School paintings of the early 19th century… Hedrick favors voluminous swirls of paint, activated here and there by small, encrusted bits of pigment that are built up on the surface of the canvas…”
Julie Hedrick, daughter of the accomplished Toronto-based artist Robert Hedrick, apprenticed at the age of 16 with Canadian artist Joyce Devlin, who had a profound influence on her painting. She continued her studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Hedrick moved to New York in 1984 after meeting and shortly thereafter (one week) becoming engaged to the musician/composer Peter Wetzler.
In 2001, Hedrick was the subject of the film Julie of The Spirits. Hedrick created her painting, “Of The Spirits,” while being filmed in time lapse shortly after 9/11. The film was shot and directed by the filmmaker Isabel Barton and scored by husband Peter Wetzler.
In 2015 Hedrick created a listening environment featuring both her poetry and her paintings for the group exhibition, Always Listen to Your Art, at One Mile Gallery in Kingston. That same year, she was included in the exhibition ‘HER(E) NOW’ organized by artist Judy Pfaff at the National Association of Women Artists in New York City.
Hedrick’s most recent exhibition of new works was in May 2016. It was titled Air – Ariadne’s Golden Thread and was inspired by the skies of her Kingston home and a desire to create works of limitless space, peacefulness and wonder at this time of unprecedented darkness and chaos in the world.
Peter Wetzler: Wetzler was classically trained in piano and was guest soloist with symphonies at an early age. He studied conducting and composition at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.
He moved into jazz and non-Western music and played in gamelan and avant-garde ensembles while writing music for celebrated modern dance choreographers such as Bill T. Jones, David Dorfman and Susan Marshall and touring Europe and North America with Laura Dean. The strong rhythmic drive of his music, blended with the raw experimental influence of the downtown New York City music scene, has made him much sought after as a composer of film and television scores.
Wetzler’s recent events include conducting the Hudson Valley Philharmonic in a live performance of his score to Anezka Sebek’s film, “Landfill,” at the Hudson Valley Film Festival and the screening of Isabel Barton’s film “Julie of the Spirits” at the Woodstock Film Festival.
In 2010 Peter returned to the solo piano and released the CD “Falling Awake” followed by “Green” in 2011. These explorations are a culmination of his years as a theater and film composer combined with his classical, jazz and world music influences.