Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Summer Full Of Art In Saranac Lake

summerart2015-artistsguild-b-lobdellThe days are long, the mountains green and the arts bloom and ripen like potatoes in the hardscrabble fields of Adirondack farms! While the Saranac Lake area has a flourishing, year round arts community, summer sun produces abundant exhibits and exciting special events.

Saranac Lake ArtWorks sponsors three “Last Saturday Studio Tours”, with the first one on July 25.

The following artists are all opening their home studios to the public or are setting up special demonstration/displays in other public spaces: Jacqueline Altman, watercolor paintings (Adirondack Artists Guild); Marie Cogar, fused glass (home studio); Tim Fortune, oil & watercolor paintings (Small Fortune Studio); Georgeanne Gaffney, acrylic paintings (Adirondack Artists Guild); Sandra Hildreth, oil & watercolor paintings (home studio/gallery); Jean Leopold, watercolor paintings (Adirondack Carousel); Diane Leifheit, pastel works (Point of View Studio, Gabriels); NorthWind Fine Arts member art; Mark Paul, wood carvings (Mountain Farm Studio, Sugarbush); Peter Seward, painting and illustrations (Upstairs Gallery); Edith Urban, quilts, paintings and more (home studio/gallery); Cris Winters, mixed media & fiber art (Pink House Gallery). Stop at any of the Saranac Lake area galleries to pick up Studio Tour information cards and maps. There will also be Studio Tours on Aug 29 and Sept 26 with some of the same as well as different artists participating.

summerart2015-studiotourConversation and observation cultivate new art connoisseurs as fresh exhibits open every month. Mingle with artists and enjoy great refreshments at the opening receptions: the Adirondack Artists Guild (currently jewelry and custom made leather bags by Toos Roozen-Evans); Bluseed Studios (featuring a sculpture installation and mixed media by Mavis Miller); NorthWind Fine Arts (woodcarvings by Rachel Lamb, sculptures by Alice Vera); the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (Zigi BenHaim’s exhibit “Made in America”); the Paul Smith’s College VIC (plein air paintings by Lori McCall and Nikolay Mikushkin); and Pendragon Theatre (2-D and 3-D works by painter and sculptor Shawn Halperin).

Our individual artists with public studios or shops usually have their work on display all the time: Mark Kurtz Photography Tim Fortune’s Small Fortune Studio, Beth Gallagher’s Piece by Piece Quilt Studio, and Bookman Design, located at Moose Maple Books, featuring rustic furniture by Russ DeFonce. Stop in and watch them work! New to Saranac Lake is the Pink House Gallery on Woodruff St, with mixed media and fiber art by Cris Winters and guest artists. The Pink House will officially open Aug 7, with a reception, and will also conduct workshops. The Adirondack Carousel, while not actually a gallery, is a work of art in itself, or rather 24 hand-carved and painted works of art that rotate in a circle to music!

Saranac Lake ArtWorks has 49 artist members located throughout the Adirondacks. Many of them work out of their home studios but are open by appointment. Pick up an ArtWorks Member Directory brochure to learn more about our artists and how to contact them and see more of their work.

Coming in August at the galleries are “Close Encounters”, wildlife paintings by the author, which opens Aug 7 (Adirondack Artists Guild); “The Mystical Circus & Magnificent Menagerie”, artwork by Vicki Celeste opens Aug 7 (Bluseed Studios); Anne Diggory & Patrick McPhee: An Exploration of Landscapes opens Aug 21 (Lake Placid Center for the Arts); Works of David Woodward & Russ Hartung is another Aug 7 opening (NorthWind Fine Arts); Tim Fortune & Burdette Parks will have a show together beginning Aug 14 (Paul Smith’s College VIC); and “Where the Wild Things Are”, paintings by Canadian artist Holly Friesen opens Aug 20 (Pendragon Theatre).

The 3rd Thursday ArtWalks have been going on since June (actually more like 20 Junes) with dozens of artists setting up displays and demonstrating their craft. Live music resonates throughout the downtown streets from 5 – 7:30 pm on these magical evenings that attract 100’s of visitors. The ArtWalks happen on the 3rd Thursday of June, July, August and September.

summerart2015-pleinair-ladukeWant to see 300 wet paintings all at one time and place? The fastest growing summer event is the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, Aug 18 – 22 in Saranac Lake. Now in it’s 7th year, the Festival hosts fifty accomplished plein air painters from all over the east coast and Canada who will spend 4 days painting outdoors at various locations. The finished, wet paintings will then go on display in the Harrietstown Town Hall on Main St. The Show & Sale will be on Saturday Aug 22, from 10 – 4 pm, which is a major change from the Sunday shows of previous years. Mark your calendars! Spectators are welcome to come out and watch the artists at work. Maps and directions will be available at event headquarters, the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery in Saranac Lake.

Last, but not of least importance, is the anchor of the performing arts in the Adirondacks: Pendragon Theatre. It was born over 30 years ago with a creative mission to “preserve the vitality and enhance the quality of professional theatre through year round performance and educational programs”. Their summer schedule includes “The Snow Queen”, “TinTypes”, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”, “Arcadia”, “The Seagull”, and “Ghost Tails”., along with art exhibits in the lobby gallery. provides the complete schedule.

In addition to these scheduled ArtWorks events, there are spontaneous “pop-up” galleries, workshops, presentations, demonstration, and assorted classes and kids programs. Free Wednesday evening concerts downtown in Berkeley Green! These are the ones I know about because I live and work in Saranac Lake. Indoors or outdoors, there is art growing and being harvested all over the Adirondacks, including our neighboring communities. Enrich your life and check out the art on view in the galleries. Children welcome! Pick up an ArtWorks brochure to see what else is going on or visit

Photos: Above, an Adirondack Artists Guild exhibit opening (photo by Barry Lobdell); and below, Kirk Larsen painting during an ArtWalk (photo by Jack LaDuke).

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Sandra Hildreth, who writes regularly about Adirondack arts and culture, grew up in rural Wisconsin and is a retired high school art teacher. She lives in Saranac Lake where she was spends much of her time hiking, paddling, skiing, and painting. Today, Sandy can often be found outdoors Plein air painting - working directly from nature, and is an exhibiting member of the Adirondack Artists' Guild in Saranac Lake. She is also active in Saranac Lake ArtWorks. Sandy’s work can be seen on her website

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