Chelsea Music Festival announces “Cultivars”, a solo exhibition by 2024 Visual Artist-in-Residence Kelly S. Williams

from Emily MT

Chelsea Music Festival is thrilled to present paintings by Kelly S. Williams, the Festival’s 2024 Visual Artist-in-Residence, in the artist’s first solo exhibition in NYC, part of the festival’s fifteenth season, “Connecting the Dots.” Opening June 6th, Williams’ work will be on display at High Line Nine for the entire month. For more information, visit

Artist Statement–
'Cultivar' is a relatively new word, only about 100 years old, and generally understood as the combination of the words "cultivated" and "variety" in reference to plants. A cultivar is an assemblage of plants, each chosen for distinct desired features, and in most cases, would not exist without human intervention. The resulting plant is not only a new entity, but a new entity borne from the creative, deliberative and nurturing acts of humans. In my studio, I often work in several distinct styles of painting-- I make observational still life paintings, abstract paintings pulling heavily from op art, figurative paintings, and trompe l'oeil paintings that teeter on the verge of sculpture.

In the studio, I am borrowing the act of grafting from the botanical world and applying it to the act of painting--that is, binding two cuttings together to heal each and create a new work with properties of both: cultivars. The styles of painting come together in works that don't quite fit the descriptions often assigned to them or, in some cases, the paintings retain their distinct characteristics, but when installed together, begin to highlight the connective tissue growing between them. Cultivars, like paintings, are the result of creative endeavors. Often those endeavors have altruistic goals-- to help a plant regenerate and survive in a changing climate, for example. I think about painting in this way, too. Can paintings be remedies for ailments, solutions to problems?

Kelly S. Williams received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has shown her work nationally and internationally at venues including Red Arrow Gallery and David Lusk Gallery in Nashville, The Suburban in Milwaukee, and the Institute for Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. Residencies include the International Center for the Arts in Monte Castello Di Vibio, Italy and the Terra Foundation for American Art’s Fellowship and Residency in Giverny, France. Her work is in many private and public collections including the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies Program (at the American Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan), Norwegian Cruise Lines, and the Tennessee State Courthouse.

Join us in June to view this stunning work, and celebrate with us at the Closing Reception, June 27th!
Closing Reception | 2024 Art Exhibition - Kelly S. Williams
Thursday, June 27 at 7pm at High Line Nine Gallery 8, 507 W. 27th Street, NYC
Featuring work by Kelly S. Williams, 2024 Visual Artist-in-Residence
Featuring Harlem Quartet performing Jessie Montgomery and Dizzy Gillespie

All programming subject to change

Festival Sponsors & Partners: Arts & Minds, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Carl Brandt, Inc., Columbia Alumni Association Arts Access, Consulate General of Germany in New York, Fordham University, German International School New York, Harney & Sons, Growing Brains, Honeybrains, Insomnia Cookies, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Michael J. Fox Foundation, New School College of Performing Arts, New York State Council of the Art, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Polycast Productions,Rachel Snyder Hospitality, Radeberger Gruppe USA, Skylight Arts Productions, Steinway & Sons, Tarisio Fine Instruments & Bows, WBGO, WQXR, Wunderwein, Zuckerman Mind Brain Institute at Columbia University

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Chelsea Music Festival celebrates great music by convening world-leading musicians & artists in the performing, culinary, and visual arts for an international audience. The Festival invites artists, composers, and performers to collaborate in pursuit of new perspectives in artistic expression. Inspired by its Chelsea roots, the Festival reflects the creativity of one of New York City's most dynamic neighborhoods. Programs span musical genres ranging from classical to contemporary to jazz with a special emphasis on Festival commissions by composers whose works are not in the traditional western canon. In addition, the Festival hosts an online library of recordings so music enthusiasts, artists, and students alike can explore unique interpretations of classical, jazz, and contemporary works via high-quality videos of world-class performances.

Since 2010, the Festival has established itself as a critically-acclaimed, accessible and interactive gateway to chamber music in non-traditional concert spaces such as art galleries, public squares, schools, and churches. Programming includes concerts, lectures, exhibitions, family events, and free outreach performances. In 2020, the Festival inaugurated its Online Encores and Online Originals YouTube series; Online Encores presents highlights from Festival archives while Online Originals presents new performances and recordings. We are proud to give emerging voices, particularly those of women and people of color, a stage and are working to build an audience and intimate community to support a new generation of musicians, composers, and artists.

The Chelsea Music Festival Artistic Directors are Melinda Lee Masur and Ken-David Masur.

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