Getting Together To Get Down

Oasis got down with a new community art series on Thursday, Feb. 20, and will continue every Thursday at 9 p.m. until Thursday, May 22.

Presented by Co-Founders of Conscious Minded Media, a music and art management and event production company, Ryan Coyle and Ali Laz, the Get Down! series encourages open jams and free expression, according to the event’s Facebook page.

Coyle, whose stage name is Cosmal, said that although New Paltz has a number of opportunities for open mic events, those events simply consist of a performer standing in front of a non-participatory audience. Coyle said Get Down!, on the other hand, provides more of a community experience.

“As a mainstay in New Paltz, [Get Down!] can help strengthen the community by allowing people to come together to express themselves and improvise their art and music to create something new and beautiful,” Coyle said.

Laz said the first Get Down! event was a positive, awesome experience.

The evening began with a stand-up comedian, followed by the New Paltz-based band “Just The Tip” who hosted the jams with Coyle and invited others to play with them. People were prepared to perform at the event, waiting in the wings with their  drums, instruments and voices.

“It was a very beautiful and unique experience to see people connect and communicate through creative improvisation,” Laz said. “I put up a community canvas with paints and brushes. All of us started painting our own sections and somehow it all combined and connected into one beautiful painting.”

Coyle and Laz performed at the event as well. Coyle,  a one-man band, looped together the guitar, keyboard and drum pads to create the sound of a full, live band with electronic influences, while Laz painted offstage.

“While [Coyle] is creating the sound, I create the live visual aspect of the performance through live painting. I use a color changing light which changes with the beat of the music,” Laz said. “Sometimes I paint what I hear and feel at the moment or sometimes I go into the performance with a subject to embellish on.  Every show is a stimulating improvisational experience for the senses.”

Coyle and Laz’s facilitating experience includes headlining the last three Forest Fests, a yearly spring music and art festival held in New Paltz, as well as performing at different musical events in the festival circuit like Bonnaroo, Camp Bisco and Catskill Chill Music Festival.

Although Conscious Minded Media was created two years ago, Laz said she and Coyle had been thinking of doing an open jam, community art and free expression event for a while.

“We want to push the envelope of the evolution of human consciousness in a positive light through connecting with one another,” Coyle said. “Between the students and residents, New Paltz is a wonderful, open-minded and enlightened community.”