Saranac Lake ArtWorks group celebrates 10 years

Kathy Recchia, operations director-events and outreach coordinator, views BluSeed Studio’s current gallery. (Photo for the Enterprise — Timothy Behuniak)

SARANAC LAKE — Saranac Lake ArtWorks and BluSeed Studios, among other art groups, are having an anniversary celebration at 6 p.m. July 27 to honor their years of business.

Carol Marie Vossler founded BluSeed Studios more than 15 years ago as a working artist and while teaching at North Country Community College. She’s currently an artistic director at BluSeed and works with ceramics and papermaking classes.

“Carol has a passion for art and doesn’t want artists to feel inhibited,” Operations Director-Events and Outreach Coordinator Kathy Recchia said. “BluSeed Studios is a space for people to do more with their creativity.”

Saranac Lake ArtWorks began as a 501(c)(3) and grew rapidly – it’s celebrating 10 years in 2018. But it was difficult for the group to gain grants due to its status. Recently, it merged under BluSeed. Because of this, the local art community has gained more traction and further expanded its programs and reach.

Two features of BluSeed Studios and Saranac Lake ArtWorks are town-wide Studio Tours and Art Walks. Saranac Lake artist Tim Fortune founded Art Walks 20 years ago. Art Walks occur on the third Thursday each month and bring local creativity to the community by hosting street performers, artists, and musicians throughout the streets of Saranac Lake.

Studio Tours give local artists another avenue to share their craft with the public. Saranac Lake artists Sandra Hildreth and Diane Leifheit began the Studio Tours 12 years ago. According to Hildreth, a Studio Tour “creates a different kind of environment for experiencing the arts.”

What originally began in 2007 as one or two tours a year, the Studio Tours now take place on six different weekends from June to November.

“It’s really neat this way because if you’re a resident, you can decide to go on certain weekends,” Recchia said. “But if you planned for it, you really could visit all of the artists.”

Various artists pay a small fee to participate on selected days and are then put on a list for the public to see. On streets, Studio Tours signs sit outside participating businesses and galleries. This year, 19 artists, including photographers, painters, sculptors, and more, contributed to the program.

Studio Tours aim to knock assumptions and pre-conceived ideas regarding creatives and their work. Many think that artists only want to sell their work to customers with deep pockets. But by visiting artists in their studios, visitors might learn that “what the artist produces really is affordable and they could take a piece of art home,” Hildreth said. “And it’s nice to be able to see why someone else loves to make things with their hands.”

Countless individuals and art groups have worked tirelessly to make Saranac Lake an approachable community for artists and fans of art. Art Walks, Studio Tours, and art festivals and programs like the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, have contributed to this goal.

“People need to believe that the arts can have a positive impact,” Hildreth said. “We have an become an arts destination. We just need to capitalize on it.”

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