West Strand Art Gallery, is a new contemporary art gallery located on the waterfront in Kingston’s Rondout neighborhood.  The gallery is founded and co-directed by artists Isabel Alvarez and Julio Nazario. It is committed to presenting exhibitions of midcareer and emerging artists of diverse backgrounds from the Tristate and Hudson Valley region.  The schedule at West Strand will include group shows, and solo exhibitions organized by guest curators. The gallery co-directors will curate an annual show. The gallery will focus on showing mixed-media, works on paper, paintings, photography, conceptual installations, textile art, video, ceramics, and sculpture. 


The West Strand Art Gallery’s mission is to exhibit artwork by mid-career and emerging artists from diverse backgrounds and to increase awareness of their art-making practices.  


Julio Nazario and Isabel Nazario

(Photo by Lauren Thomas)

Isabel Alvarez and Julio Nazario

Artists and Founding co-directors of the gallery, Isabel Alvarez and Julio Nazario recently retired as academic leaders and faculty from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Their professional experience includes teaching in university settings, academic administration, funding development, managing gallerist, and museum education. 


Throughout the years, Isabel and Julio, a married couple, shared a vision for collecting art and dreamed of owning an art gallery. They decided the place for the gallery should be Kingston, where there is a growing community of artists, and galleries.  Since the mid 80s they have been visiting Kingston and surrounding communities.  Over the years they grew closer to friends living in the area and felt anchored in the Kingston community.  They have been living in Kingston for four years, where they have their art studios.  

Julio Nazario

Julio Nazario is a photographer and printmaker born and raised in el Barrio in New York City. Nazario taught Caribbean Cinema in the Latino and Caribbean Studies department at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He retired from Rutgers in 2019, after 20 years, as faculty and Assistant Dean in the Honors Program, School of Arts and Sciences.  In addition, he taught photography for ten years, at the International Center of Photography in New York City.  Prior to Rutgers, he was an adjunct Associate Professor at La Guardia Community College, in the City University of New York, where he founded the Commercial Photography Program.  Nazario has exhibited extensively, including at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, El Museo del Barrio, Enfoco Photography Gallery, and the Queens Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City.

Nazario earned his M.F.A from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Queens College (CUNY). He served in the Vietnam War and was awarded the Purple Heart. Soon after returning to New York City in the early 70s, he first studied commercial photography at the Germain School of Photography. See more about Nazario in https://www.julionazario.com.


Isabel Alvarez, (known as Isabel Nazario in academia) was the founding director in 1992 of the Center for Latino Arts and Culture at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. In 2004, Rutgers University appointed Isabel as Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives in the Arts and Humanities.  In the last 6 years, until her retirement in April, 2021, Isabel was responsible for overseeing the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities, a distinguished feminist center (co-founded by Professors, Judy Brodsky and Ferris Olin, 2006-2014,) then named the Institute for Women and Art. 

Prior to Rutgers University, Isabel Alvarez was an Associate in the Museum Program at the New York State Council in the Arts; she was founder and manager of the Community Art Gallery in the Queens Museum; prior to this position, she was curator of education in the Queens Museum; and was curator of education in El Museo del Barrio, in New York City.

Isabel Alvarez holds an MFA and a B.A., both, from Queens College, CUNY, having graduated magna cum laude with a focus in the visual arts, art history, and Latin American Literature. She has taught Caribbean art history and studio courses at Rutgers University and CUNY.  She is a board member of El Museo del Barrio in NYC, is on the advisory board at the Brodsky Center for Prints and Paper, in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; and is on the arts advisory board at The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in SUNY, New Paltz. 

Isabel Alvarez Nazario

(Photo by Glenda Daniel


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