Art Fund Project
Keep Todd's Legacy Alive
Shortly after Todd could not live on his own, out of necessity his family moved him to a nursing home. They carefully packed and stored the contents of his studio, paintings and drawings left behind after decades of painting. In 2018 a group of local artists organized an auction of his work, part of a city-wide exhibition and celebration of the artist, that raised more than $30,000. At his family’s behest, the money was transferred into a fund overseen by a newly formed committee, which consists of a group of artists, friends and local business owners, and is administered by the Kingston Midtown Arts District (MAD). “Since Todd and most of his work had such a connection to Kingston and the people there, we, his family, felt artists’ stipends would be a great way to keep Todd’s presence alive in the art community and to offer a little help to other artists,” said Tom Samara, Todd’s brother.
The fund is invested with Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, and in 2019 an annual $1,200 artist’s scholarship, which is funded by the interest from the fund, was launched. Kingston-based artists across a wide range of disciplines applied, with the winner announced in August in conjunction with MAD’s annual Celebration of the Arts event and Red Goat awards ceremony. The first award winner was The Matter Digest, a graphic newsletter keyed to the local community that was produced and distributed for free by Havarah Zawoluk and Ernest Goodmaw. In 2020, the second annual award was won by Patti Gibbons, a widely exhibited artist and art educator with a house and studio in Uptown Kingston.
The Todd Samara Art Fund Project is also dedicated to keeping Todd’s legacy alive through preservation of his two murals on the exterior walls of the Hudson River Maritime Museum. The large mural on the front of the museum will be restored by artist Chris Gonyea, staying true to Todd’s original design and colors. A second mural, painted on plywood, was in such poor condition that instead of restoration, banners based on a photograph of the mural when it was just painted have been printed and generously donated by Timely Signs and will be installed over the original. In addition, The Samara Art Fund Project created this website designed by Ditto! Design! and will continue to host periodic exhibitions of Todd’s art, with the proceeds from any sales of his work going toward the fund.
Especially in these difficult times, when many artists are unable to exhibit their work due to the pandemic and have lost their jobs, the Samara Art Fund Project fulfills a valuable role in supporting local artists. If you are an artist, we encourage you to apply once we have announced the application process sometime next spring. If you are a lover of the arts, we encourage you to support the Samara Art Fund Project through a donation (see the link posted to the right).
Todd’s needs were simple, his encounters with others humble, his vision large. Eschewing fame or money, Todd lived for art, and it’s our hope that his creative spirit and commitment will be preserved far into the future through the Todd Samara Art Fund Project.
Art Fund Award
The Matter Digest
2019 Award Winner
A graphic newsletter keyed to the local community
2020 Award Winner
A widely exhibited Kingston artist and art educator
2021 Award Winner
Musician, poet, filmmaker
2022 Award Winner
2022 Special Citation
Mixed Media Artist