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SaratogaArtsFest takes the city by storm

Posted: 06/15/2009

A citywide arts festival with 100 events spanning music, dance, visual art, film, theatre, and literary art—and offering something for all segments of the community—is an appealing concept, but actually putting it together is another matter. How did SaratogaArtsFest, now in its third year, manage to pull it off this past weekend, June 11-14? Collaboration.

Marie Glotzbach, president of the SaratogaArtsFest board of directors, emphasizes the growing partnerships that make SaratogaArtsFest possible, noting a long list of alliances with groups representing the community, the arts, and education, as well as the support of sponsors and patrons and the work of a fleet of volunteers. “The ArtsFest is truly the product of a community collaboration, and seeing this wide array of groups come together with a common goal is remarkable,” she said. “There’s a lot of positive energy here, and it is exciting to share it and watch participation grow.”

SaratogaArtsFest boasts some 50 community partners, including Skidmore, as well as 165 volunteers and a long list of supporters and patrons.

An eclectic list of artists and performers The four-day festival featured local, regional, and national artists. The line-up included the legendary Paul Taylor Dance Company; Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy; acclaimed saxophonist Eric Alexander; Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble ACJW; the Stefanie Batten Bland dance company; the SITI Company theater group; and the Trilaterus Trio, featuring Ron Wasserman from the NYC Ballet Orchestra.

SaratogaArtsFest 2009 also celebrated a wide range of local talent, from acclaimed artists to young performers from area schools. Among the visual artists were abstract painter David Miller and ceramist Regis Brodie, both Skidmore faculty members whose work has been shown widely. The Skidmore Dance Showcase featured Skidmore faculty members Debra Fernandez, Ruben Graciani, and Mary Harney.

The area’s musical talent included the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s brass quintet, led by trumpeter Eric Berlin; Lake George Opera of Saratoga; the Saratoga Chamber Players, and Albany rockers Big Nixon. The Albany-based New York State Theater Institute will present a production for children titled Letters from a Window in the Sky.

To appeal to a younger audience, SaratogaArtsFest offered an extensive lineup of workshops, exhibits, and demonstrations for children. Through a new program titled Project YES! (Youth Experiencing SaratogaArtsFest), the festival’s organizers teamed up with the Saratoga Springs City School District to give away complimentary ARTSPASS Admission Packages in each of the public schools, for a total of 250 in the district.

Goals and sponsors The mission of SaratogaArtsFest is to establish Saratoga Springs as a premier arts destination with a comprehensive, community-wide arts festival that showcases local, regional, and national artists. SaratogaArtsFest is committed to increasing appreciation for the arts, expanding audiences, and strengthening cultural tourism in the region.

Major sponsors of SaratogaArtsFest include Adirondack Trust Company, CDTA, Designsmith Studio, Interactive Media Consulting, Quad Graphics, Rotary Club of Saratoga Springs, Skidmore College, Star 101.3, Stewart's Shops,, the Times Union, and WAMC Northeast Public Radio.