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Remembering the Lake Placid School of Art

June 23, 2012
By CHRIS MORRIS - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid School of Art and Center for Music, Drama and Art hosts its second annual reunion today, an event that will feature concerts, discussions and tours.

The state-accredited, post-secondary art school operated in the 1970s where the Lake Placid Center for the Arts sits today. Daniel Patchett, who organized the reunion, said he used Facebook to start locating former students last year for the first-ever reunion. This year, he expects more people to attend.

Patchett grew up with an interest in art, receiving his bachelor's degree in fine arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and his master's from University of Iowa in Iowa City. His studies were backed by a scholarship from Nettie Marie Jones and the W. Alton Jones Foundation.

Article Photos

Daniel Patchett organized today’s Lake Placid School of Art reunion, which includes concerts, discussions and tours of the former school at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Morris)

"In 1968, Nettie thought it would be nice for me to get out of the flatlands of Maryland and come to the mountains, and I did," Patchett said. "And when I came up to Lake Placid, I fell in love with the area."

By 1971, Patchett was working as managing director of the former Boathouse Art School on Lake Placid's Paradox Bay, and his professional relationship with Jones continued to grow. That summer, Jones decided to follow up on a dream of hers: to put together a year-round visual and performing arts facility.

Jones eventually purchased the land where the LPCA now stands, and by December 1972, she had opened the Center for Music, Drama and Art, and soon after the School of Art was open. Patchett helped run the school.

"The art school served as a two-year, post-secondary school of art, licensed by the state of New York," Patchett said. "We also had adult classes in the evening, children's classes on Saturdays. It was a full, rounded program.

"We also went out into the community and did music appreciation and art appreciation," he added. "We traveled to places like Malone and Mineville, and it was kind of fun looking back on it. Kids never had this type of exposure to the arts before. The kids ate it up."

The school had everything, Patchett said, and it offered an educational experience similar to that of art schools from bigger, metropolitan areas. It offered classes in printmaking, ceramics, visual arts, experimental arts, performance arts, photography and painting.

Students from as far away as North Carolina and Virginia attended the school, Patchett said.

"The students had a very special thing here," he said.

The school was open until the late '70s, and after the 1980 Winter Olympics, the school was gone and the space transformed into the LPCA.

Today's events include an alumni and faculty meeting at 1 p.m., a concert by Katie Beck at 2 p.m., jazz music by Le Groove at 3 p.m., and an art center tour at 4 p.m. There will also be a tribute to Nadine Duhaime, the LPCA's longtime executive director, who will retire this year after 26 years at the helm, and a showing of a documentary called "The Homecoming."



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