Kathleen M.M. Ringwood-Wood, nail technician. In her other life: artist in residence.
A combination of artistic talent and civic pride gave Kathleen M.M. Ringwood-Wood the opportunity of a lifetime. “I was chosen as the artist in residence to represent my city, the beautiful City of Poughkeepsie, for the opening of the Walkway Over The Hudson, a historic railroad bridge, built in 1888, that was turned into the world’s highest and longest pedestrian walkway,” says Ringwood-Wood, owner of My Nails Rock! in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “It’s 1.25 miles across, 22 feet wide, and 212 feet above the Hudson River. The opening also coincides with the quadri-centennial celebration of Henry Hudson ‘discovering’ what we now know as the Hudson River.”
Ringwood-Wood earned this opportunity to represent her town — one of 50 participating in the celebration — by responding to an “artist wanted” ad. “I wrote about my family’s history with the city (I’m a direct descendant of Henry Ostrom, who was one of the original settlers of the City of Poughkeepsie), my love for the city, and my art background. The only examples of my artwork I had were on my nail website, so I sent that,” she says. Ringwood-Wood was charged with making a large emblem to represent Poughkeepsie and 25 flags that show different things about it. In October, the emblem and the flags were displayed by marchers as part of a celebratory procession across the bridge and back.
“For my emblem, I used Styrofoam, cardboard, papier-maché, silver cord, a wooden dowel and, of course, nail polish. All of these made it very light-weight,” she says. “After all, they have to be carried 2.5 miles across the bridge and back, a mile and a quarter each way.” For the flags she used the same paints she uses to do nail art.