Saturday, March 26, 2011

Arts in Saratoga Springs, NY

More commonly known as Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, New York hosts some of the best attended art venues in the Capital Region of upstate New York.

The permanent settlement of Saratoga occurred in 1776 after a British soldier, fighting in the French Indian Wars,  was brought by Native American Indians to the healing springs of Saratoga. It was not long before a vibrant trade business and hotel trade began to develop around the infamous springs, starting with the first hotel built by Gideon Putman still in existence today. With the progress of trade and infrastructure the settlement grew into a formal township and, in 1819, Saratoga Springs was officially established. Not long after, in 1863, the country's first horse track was built in its current location providing the basis for further growth of the town. Today, the racing season in August brings multitudes of  horse afficiandos to Saratoga Springs. 

SPAC amphitheater
Saratoga also offers a host a number of diverse entertainment venues other than its race track, such as the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), located in the park,  and Saratoga Arts Center, located in downtown.   SPAC, founded in 1961, hosts live performing arts and festivals such as the jazz festival, symphonies, ballets, and contemporary music concerts throughout the year.   

Organized in 1986, Saratoga Arts Center offers its community diverse workshops, art education, art placement programs, a gift shop and exhibit gallery and is a core sponsor for events such as Saratoga's New Years First Night festival    In addition to the Arts Center, the main downtown street, Broadway, offers four additional galleries featuring the works of local, regional and international artists.

Beekman Street Gallery
A more recent development in the arts of Saratoga is nearby Beekman Street's Art District. Beelman's Street turn-of-the-century homes have been converted into Saratoga's art district with several bistros, artists coops, and artist studios to offer its visitors along with a calendar of events such as Arti Gras (April) and first Saturday Art Walks. 

Throughout Saratoga are several museums.  The Saratoga Museum houses historical relics and documentation of Saratoga's founding  The National Museum of Dance located in Saratoga is the country's only museum solely committed to the history of dance   There is also the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame  ,  the New York State Military Museum and Saratoga Auto Museum

At nearby Skidmore College, one can attend numerous lectures and view special exhibits at the Tang Teaching Museum , which I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the Alumni Invitational exhibit this afternoon.  The exhibit incorporated innovative pieces such as welded coin functional furniture, mixed media collage works, and photography.  The upstairs level housed a special African themed exhibit showcasing works that explored the interrelationship of humans and their impact upon their environments.

Though Saratoga was once considered a "summer town", it has over the years developed the foundations for being a more year round destination with a host of activites, outdoors and indoors, to offer its visitors.  It is definitely a town worth putting on your "must see" list when traveling to New York state.

Tomorrow, A. Paul & I head to Boston then, alas, Monday we arrive back to Provincetown.  I leave you this evening scenes of Saratoga with a few images from the opening exhibit at the Tang Museum.


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