Something Cryptic this way comes.
In the middle of Main Street, at the heart of Poughkeepsie, a new gallery arrives to disrupt the sleepy stasis of art in the city. Dubbed Cryptic Gallery, the space serves as a home for everyone from up-and-coming artists and alternative creators to craft beer and sake fans, aspiring DJs, and art students of all mediums.
“We want to be a community for creatives,” says co-founder Ovid Reichelt. A longtime Hudson Valley resident, Reichelt co-founded the art concept two years ago with Denis Barry, a former FIT student and Dutchess County native. Back then, it was PoMeCo, or Poughkeepsie Media Collective, and it was their temporary project inside a rented gallery.
When the owner left in July 2018, Reichelt took over the lease and began work on rebranding the space. Following the success of their first independent show in October, he and Barry closed shop to give the project the 180-degree flip it deserved. After an intense four months of work and the addition of new partners Luke Grady (a former tattoo artist, current contemporary artist, and HVAC laborer by trade) and Kevin Lechner (a DJ, musician, and producer), the group opened the doors at Cryptic on January 11.
“We’ve had great success,” Reichelt admits of the days since the opening. “A lot of people who may not have gone to galleries before are coming.”
That’s the overall goal, of course. As a home for self-described “lowbrow” art, Cryptic is a haven for works that might otherwise be ignored or underappreciated. A hub for alternative styles, it’s also a place for new collectors to begin building collections without dropping hundreds of dollars on fine art.
To make local works more affordable, Cryptic sells fine prints to complement the hanging originals in the shop. In addition, it stocks street art supplies for artists in search of high-quality spray paints, markers, and similar tools of the trade. Further in the back of the store, a mural wall and lounge area create a comfortable atmosphere for locals to stop and stay a while.
The founders of Cryptic Gallery / photo by Ovid Reichelt
Part passion project, part community endeavor, Cryptic aims to shine the light on the burgeoning art scene in Poughkeepsie and establish a haven for creatives to unwind and discover new talent. To aid with this, the space operates under the premise of a creative stone soup, where everyone brings a little something different to the table and art styles vary just as much as people’s reasons for visiting. Some come to check out the street art, while others stop by to grab a drink and spin tunes at the DJ booth.
If Reichelt and team have their way, that mash-up of attractions is precisely why people will want to come to Cryptic in the first place. After all, it’s not just an art gallery.
“Just a pure art gallery is difficult to maintain,” Reichelt notes. “We wanted to create a place that people wanted to stay and hang out in.”
It may be too early to call, but Cryptic seems well on its way to accomplishing that goal. Craft alcohol license in hand, the gallery has plans to serve an assortment of beers, wines, and sake, many of which will be local. As for art, the owners already have the whole of 2019 mapped. They host a different show on the first Friday of each month around themes as varied as skating, tattoos, and dark arts.
They also have features scheduled with popular local artists like Stetz, who’s doing a solo show in February, and BoogieRez, who created the colorful mural that brightens the Poughkeepsie underpass nearby. Currently, they keep open the gallery Thursday to Sunday, although they may update hours to reflect public interest.
Next up, the Cryptic group is launching an online submission page, which will serve as an open call for established and up-and-coming artists alike. They’re also open to reaching out to artists with whom they are interested in collaborating. As long as they’re able to promote the hidden talents within the Hudson Valley and contribute to the revitalization in Poughkeepsie, they’re happy to keep doing their thing.
“What’s happening in Poughkeepsie is phenomenal,” Reichelt enthuses, adding that the price increase of apartments in popular towns like Beacon and Hudson makes the Queen City more of an affordable, attractive destination. “We’re leaning toward becoming a city of makers.”
Indeed, with the development of the nearby 40 Cannon Street and Queen City Lofts apartments, the area around Cryptic already hints at the growth to come. Add to that the fact that the zone is a mere skip away from the train station, and the city shows all the signs of a game-changing 2019.
“Poughkeepsie has such good bones, such possibility. We’re the last stop on the Metro-North, the last stop on that artery line to the city,” Reichelt says. “I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Cryptic Gallery, 358 Main St, Poughkeepsie
Photo by Denis Barry