"Art for Good" Scholarship

"Art for Good" Scholarship

Garry Polmateer ’99 considers himself fortunate.

Fortunate to have made the choice to attend Hudson Valley when he was accepted to a host of other prestigious four-year engineering schools. Fortunate for the chance to ditch engineering after two semesters when it turns out he really was, deep down, an “art major.” Fortunate enough to work hard at building up a company, Red Argyle, which was recently noted on Inc. magazine’s list of the country’s fastest growing privately-held companies.

So fortunate that he decided it was time to give back to his alma mater. Polmateer recently established the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation’s Art for Good Scholarship, which is already funded to provide the cost for art supplies for Fine Arts students.

Garry’s story is one many Hudson Valley alums can relate to. His twin passions in high school were engineering and art. Guess which one the guidance counselor recommended he pursue? After being accepted at RPI, RIT and Worcester Polytechnic, Garry and his folks looked at their options and determined Hudson Valley offered a fantastic value with the same caliber engineering foundation courses.

But two things happened after his first year at Hudson Valley. First, Garry realized that engineering might not be the career field he was interested in and, second, he saw the host of other opportunities that the college provided.

“I changed majors every semester for the next three semesters. I just dabbled in everything that Hudson Valley had to offer; a little Psychology over here, a little Anatomy and Physiology over there. It was so liberating and so affordable to go to Hudson Valley and just try different things. I think that really shaped the rest of my path. I was just a curious person and Hudson Valley really accommodated that with all that it had to offer.”

When Garry finally cycled back to his love of art, he was inspired and challenged by the faculty, especially Professors Thom Lail and Tara Fracalossi, and, in part, they were the inspiration for giving back. “I considered those art classes boot camp, but in a good way. They really hammered a discipline into their students. But at the same time Thom and Tara have provided constant advocacy for the program.”

While finishing his bachelor’s degree in fine arts at The College of Saint Rose, Garry had been working a part-time job in IT. When graduation came, he said he could either move to Brooklyn and being a struggling sculptor or take the generous job offer his employer was offering and do art on the side.

He chose the latter and it ended up being a smart move. After a decade of work in the non-profit world, a former co-worker who had started Red Argyle invited Garry to join him as a partner.

“I started working out of my basement 10 years ago, and now we’re at 45 employees, and doing a ton of work with companies around the world,” he said.

Red Argyle focuses on creating customer management and process solutions for companies using a software called Salesforce, which touts itself as the world’s #1 customer relationship management (CRM) software solution. Along the way Garry and his business partner, Tom Patros, have also made sure the company has had a philanthropic compass.

“Red Argyle is part of Pledge 1%, so, as a company, one percent of our time and profits go to non-profits. We’ve been a big supporter for the regional Food Bank and I served on their board of directors for three years. We’ve seen real growth over the past three years as a company, so we’re thinking about how to build a legacy of giving back.”

“My personal passion is making art,” he said. “When I was a student, I was lucky enough to be able to go beg money from my parents or sell some stuff on eBay to pay for my art supplies. I know there are students who could really use this. The real trigger was when George Floyd was murdered and I really tuned in to the conversations and the moment. I wanted to put together a fund that combines my love of art and also recognizes in some way how important art has been for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) discourse. I wanted this fund to target inbound students who might not have the means to take on this extra expense.”


To support Hudson Valley Community College students enrolled in the Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Digital Media department, who experience unanticipated hardships, which cause a burden or who simply need additional support to purchase supplies for studio art courses. Funds may be used but not limited to educational studio art supplies such as painting, drawing, photography or design materials as listed on course material lists. Preference to underrepresented ethnic and racial groups. There is a first preference to award to new students and second preference will go to returning students.