Sweet Line up in Saranac Lake
BluSeed Studios is one of the artistic cornerstones for the strong arts community in Saranac Lake. I haven’t spent nearly as much time at BluSeed as I would have liked, but I’ve always enjoyed it each time I make it there.
Nestled along the railroad tracks at 24 Cedar St. in Saranac Lake, the industrial warehouse was dormant until it was revived into an arts nest in the early 2000s. BluSeed studios is now a space where would-be, amateur and professional artists can create, perform, show their work and teach others, as well as work on ways to improve the arts community throughout the Saranac Lake region.
The place is run by Artistic Director Carol Vossler, and she recently hired an office coordinator, Michelle Hannon. Together, they run the show, along with some help from an active board of directors.
BluSeed has a busy spring schedule, which is nice - this tends to be summer prep time or break time for many arts organizations in the region. “We like to have a vibrant calendar,” Hannon told me as she went through the studio’s list of upcoming events. But she said not to worry, because there will be plenty going on at BluSeed once the summer rolls around, too.
All Live shows at BluStage shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, or $12 for BluSeed members. Reservations are recommended for Live at BluStage shows and can be made by calling 518-891-3799 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BluSeed gallery is open from 1to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, or by appointment.
BluSeed's website isn't working right now, but their Facebook page is kept up to date.
Feb. 28 - art opening
This weekend starts with an opening reception for Artist-in-Residence Bryan Osborn’s first exhibition, “Finding My Name.” It includes collaborations with artists Ben Erb of Plattsburgh and Alex Giroux of Saranac Lake.
Osborn, who went to SUNY Plattsburgh, is pushing the BluSeed boundaries with his experimental exhibition. It includes elements of collage and graffiti — Osborn plans to tag a wall at BluSeed’s exhibition space. Osborn is also a sound engineer, so the exhibition will include hip-hop audio elements.
“It’ll be interesting,” Hannon told me. “It’s going to be different from your standard BluSeed exhibit.”
BluSeed artists in residence usually stay for anywhere from one to six months; Osborn is planning a residency of about three months. The next artist is a man from Burlington who does book arts like book binding and letter press.
Osborn’s opening reception runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, and the exhibit will remain at BluSeed through April 5.
March 1 - Live at BluStage
Then on Saturday, my friend and fellow Saranac Laker Theresa Hartford will take the stage. She says that if you see any of her shows this year, this is the one to go to! Heather Styka will open for her, and Theresa will be joined onstage by Lucid drummer Kyle Murray, Michael Portal on guitar, and Shamim Allen will add vocals to the mix.
Here’s the PR buzz: “Her powerful vocal ability ranges from a low sultry gravel, to a jazzy/rap, to the sweet and sentimental. The 32-year-old draws from a variety of influences, including blues, gospel, soul, and jazz. She describes her music as folk, but grittier, and while she wants the overall product to sound good, she’s not striving for perfection with every note. The goal, in a word, is authenticity.”
You should definitely check out the show. She’s got a beautiful voice, and attendees will be treated to a brand-new Theresa Hartford original!
March 8 - meeting on Adirondack Regional Art Trail
From 1 to 3 p.m. March 8, BluSeed is hosting a meeting about the Adirondack Regional Art Trail. It’s a newly created initiative that intends to connect artists and art resources across the region, give visitors an easy way to find information and help promote the Adirondack North Country as a cultural destination.
Organizations involved in the Art Trail initiative are Adirondack North Country Association, BluSeed Studios, Traditional Arts in Upstate NY, and Saranac Lake Artworks.
BluSeed was awarded nearly $60,000 in state funding through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council to develop the initiative.
Organizers hope that visual, literary and performing artists, arts organizations and businesses will come learn about the new regional project, provide input and participate in marketing discussion.
Light refreshments will be served.
March 21 - Live at BluStage
Paul Asbell, who moved from Chicago to Vermont in the 1970s and still resides there, will take the stage with his Americana-style guitar riffs. Paul played with a number of fixtures on the Chicago blues scene since he was 18, but since 1994, he has been reconnecting with his original folk-based roots. He has been playing festival shows and solo concerts enthusiastically received for their individualized twists on blues and jazz standards, old-timey country-based themes and original pieces from the “American roots” tradition.
According to Paul’s website, he has earned a reputation as a true “musician’s musician.” He has quite the resume, hitting up numerous jazz festivals and other fests, and playing with everyone from Julian Lage to Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, a former student of his.
Hear Paul play.
April 5 - performance poetry
In honor of National Poetry Month, Saranac Lakers will be treated to a unique experience on Saturday, April 5. This ain’t no poetry reading; it’s full-on performance poetry, and it’s so different Hannon struggled to explain it to me.
Mahogany L. Browne and Jive Poetic will bring their performance poetry to Saranac Lake from Brooklyn. It’s poetry, but it’s so rhythmic it sometimes sounds like it’s verging on rap. Check out Mahogany, and Jive Poetic’s amusing and disturbing GMO-themed performance.
Adirondack Center for Writing joins BluSeed in presenting the performance, which is generously funded by Poets & Writers.
The show runs from 7 to 9 p.m.Admission is a suggested donation of $10. Reservations are welcome.
April 11 - photography opening
Next, Phil Gallos will present his exhibit titled “Daughters of Mother Earth: the Nude and the Adirondack Landscape,” from April 11 through May 3.
In this exhibition, Gallos plans to examine the interplay between the female body and nature. Here’s his description: “[It] is the portrayal of the beauty arising from the communion between the body of the human female and the female body of the Earth... Many of the photographs in this exhibition are full-body nudes-in-the-landscape rendered in color. Others are partial-body abstractions combining color with black & white."
The exhibit opening will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 11.
May 2 - Live at BluStage
Folk music artists Dan Berggren and Alex Smith join up onstage for a night of folk tunes Friday, May 2.
Dan is an old hand at the performance arena, playing live music since 1973. Alex is a Long Laker in his 20s who is starting to build a career in the biz. He’s got bookings that range from private weddings in Long Lake, to regional ones in Burlington and Saranac Lake, to gigs as far away as Kentucky and North Carolina.
I used to know Alex when I lived in Long Lake for a few years, but I didn’t realize he was in the music business now. I’m excited for him, and I think it’s great that he’s writing songs about the Long Lake area. It’s interesting to listen to songs like “Long Lake;” “Adirondack Blues,” in which he talks about how hard it is to make a living in a place where you only make money two months a year; and “North Point Road,” named for a rural road in Long Lake, and it makes me miss life in that tiny town.
Despite the 40-year age difference between Berggren and Smith, they say their similarities far outweigh it: both were raised in small Adirondack towns, both studied at St. Lawrence University, and both continue to keep a keen ear on local stories and write songs that reach far beyond the Blue Line. Both are featured in the PBS documentary on Adirondack music, “Songs to Keep.”
May 9 - Middle School Art Show
Hannon was excited when she talked about the Middle School Art Show. Apparently it was a lot of fun last year.
“They plaster the walls from floor to ceiling,” she told me. “Every free space is covered with kid art. It is so much fun.”
There will be a huge range of mediums including paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints and multi-media works, created by more than 300 Saranac Lake Middle School students.
The show runs from May 9 through May 31, and there’s an opening reception from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 9.