Local Activist Art Kamell Celebrated in Memorial Concert

Art Kamell (Photo courtesy of Kamell family)
Art Kamell (Photo courtesy of Kamell family)

Pete Seeger, David Amram and a host of other Hudson Valley musicians will perform at a memorial concert in Beacon on Sunday, Dec. 5, to celebrate the life of local social justice activist Art Kamell. The concert will be held at St. Luke’s Church Annex, 850 Wolcott Ave from 2-5 p.m. Other performers will include Charlie King, Karen Brandow, and Vinie Burrows.
       Kamell, a retired labor lawyer who worked closely with his wife  Connie Hogarth in local politics, the peace movement, civil rights and environmental movements, died at his Dutchess Junction home on Nov. 4. The memorial concert will benefit Doctors Without Borders, Pastors for Peace, School of the Americas Watch and the United Farmworkers Union: four of Kamell’s favorite organizations. A $20 contribution will be requested at the door, though no one will be turned away.
       Connie Hogarth stated that “Art gave himself selflessly through the causes, beliefs and communities he was involved in. His life-long devotion and activism for compassion, peace and justice have been extraordinary examples in and to the world as well as to his innumerable friends.” Kamell was active with the Beacon Sloop Club, WESPAC, Clearwater, Amnesty International, NYCLU, and the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action at Manhattanville College, among others.
       Born Dec. 4, 1928 in Yonkers, N.Y., he was the son of the late Leo and Barbara Schneiderman Kamell.  He is survived by his wife and his two children, Lincoln Kamell of Seattle, WA, and Elizabeth Kamell of Syracuse, N.Y., his two stepsons Richard Hogarth of Lake Charles, LA, and Ross Hogarth of Woodland Hills, CA, his grandson Brady Todd Hogarth, two nephews David and Leo Sacks, and his niece Joanne Sacks.


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3 thoughts on “Local Activist Art Kamell Celebrated in Memorial Concert

  1. A great man who, during his life made important and positive contributions to humanity and the planet we all share. Mr. Kamell is very much missed by all who had the good fortune of having known him…Rest In Peace, Art!

  2. One day last year, I felt kinda lucky seizing the aisle position of those ‘three-seaters’ on a Metro North train straining to leave Grand Central. I had no idea how lucky.

    Even before 125th Street I knew this was going to be the first time I would have a real conversation with the guy in the window seat.

    By the time we hit Croton, we were friends.

    When I got off at Garrison, I had a phone number for this engaging, intelligent, twinkly-eyed vet of many long struggles for the soul of our community and country.

    As it turned out, he called me first…just after my wife came back from Beacon with tales of this charming gent with a cane she’d been flirting with at Homespun. She was a little startled when I told her it must have been Art Kamell. I decided we’d better meet Art’s wife Connie too. Another lucky find.

    I came to see Art and Connies’ deep committment to what is right, right here where we live, regardless of climate or calumny, as living a truth that I fear is dying — if we always grant ourselves some kind of ‘small community exemption’ from the practice of moral courage in our own here and now, how can we ever expect to perform with moral courage, when the stakes are the fate of a nation?

    Today, my way-too-short history of knowing Art also leaves me with the question of how is it possible to love a person you’ve only just met? Well, today being Thanksgiving, the answer should be obvious: just accept what you’ve been given with gratitude, not sorrow.

    Thank you, Art

    Gordon Stewart

  3. I knew Art had a brilliant legal mind. He also had a loving heart and real life wisdom.
    Once upon a time, in front of Foodtown, Art,though weakened from illness, asked me why I looked troubled. I explained, an ice cream truck interrupted my show at a summer camp. I told the kids my stories were better than ice cream.
    Some of the kids and staff,later thought I said I better give them ice cream. “Now, Art, they are all mad at me – what do I do?” Art, just reached into his grocery bag tore open a box, pulled out a popsicle and handed it to me. “Give them all popsicles!” He declared. “There’s over 100 kids!” I moaned. “Believe me, you’ll get back far more than anything you’ll pay for those popsicles!”
    Well, I took Art’s advice. The kids were thrilled and the camp hired me back!