Saranac Lake: A Mecca for the Arts

Saranac Lake certainly has its act together when it comes to the arts. This evening I am attending the 1st Annual Saranac Lake ArtWorks “State of the Arts” Celebration at Bluseed Studios in Saranac Lake.

Most of the cultural organizations in the greater Saranac Lake area have been invited and almost all are in attendance. It is an amazing gathering of visual artists, theatre artists, literary artists, and the folks who manage the organizations that produce some of the finest events in the North Country.

Photographer Mark Kurtz is the evening’s master of ceremonies as the outgoing president of Saranac Lake Artworks. He describes Bluseed Studios as “the go-to place whenever we want to have an event.”

We learn about the origins of the Cabin Fever Film Festival and Saranac Lakes' highly successful Art Walks from Tim Fortune who had his hand in so much of the success of arts events in this small Adirondack city. Tim points out a scrapbook amongst the works on a table in the back of the room that was started in 1996 and charts the growth of the arts in this area. Tim’s own gallery will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, his wife jovially shouts out, “He was 12 when he started!”

It is a festive and supportive evening and more tourist towns should use this community as a cultural model. It is all about working together for the sake of art without any sort of competitive negativity. In fact, at some point in the evening Mark Kurtz says, “We can’t have too many galleries in Saranac Lake.”

We hear from artist Sandra Hildreth who explains the Plein Air arts festival which began in a very laid-back manner with no one paying too much attention to statistics of what was sold or anything else. Last year was the 5th year of Plein Air and, according to Sandy, there were 75 artists registered with almost $17,000 in sales in one day. She adds, “We run a good event. Buyers are beginning to find us!”

Other notable speakers and organizations represented this evening are Peter Seward for Hobofest—a free, all-day music event at the railroad tracks in Saranac Lake that attracts all ages of tourists and locals on Labor Day weekend; David Zwierankin from Pendragon Theatre, the year-round professional theatre founded by Bob Pettee and Susan Neal 35 years ago; Paula Hameline for the Adirondack Carousel—a relatively new addition to the town; Cris Winters the incoming president of Saranac Lake Artworks and spokesperson for the annual Studio Tour; and, of course, Bluseed's own Carol Vossler.

There are an enormous amount of cultural events planned for the holiday season in this bubbling community. Make sure to click through to the SL Artworks web site for a full listing of all the cultural organizations and their upcoming events.

For more information about events in the Saranac Lake Region click through to the website.

Kathleen Recchia has been enjoying the arts in the Adirondack for about 20 years—both as observer and participant (acting, directing, and producing). She also enjoys cross-country skiing, swimming, juggling, and hosting visitors to the area at her bed & breakfast in Jay.

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About The Author

Kathleen Recchia has been participating in arts in the Adirondacks for about twenty years. She is a theatre artist--performer, director, producer as well as the owner of The Book & Blanket Bed & Breakfast in Jay, NY.

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