Displaying items by tag: saratoga springs
SARATOGA SPRINGS — In honor of World Water Day, Artisanal Brew Works will release a limited-edition beer on March 22.
World Water Day highlights the importance of freshwater, showing the connection between water and climate change. The goal is to bring awareness of how to use water more efficiently and adapting to those habits.
Artisanal Brew Works partnered with Saratoga PLAN, Preserving Land and Nature, to create a one of a kind beer that’s only available for a limited time. Owner of Artisanal Kurt Borchardt said he’s excited about the fundraiser.
“We like to do that kind of stuff,” Borchardt said.
The beer, named the World Water Day IPA will be offered until the single batch runs out. He said a portion of proceeds would go to support Saratoga PLAN.
“Our intention with this collaboration is to bring awareness to the community by connecting the dots between water conservation and all of the systems that rely on it, not just nature,” said Alex Fylypovych, PLAN’s Community Engagement Manager in a press release.
As a brewery that focuses on achieving unique flavors in beer, Borchardt stepped up to create the IPA. He added that in early summer, another beer would be released to donate to the Saratoga Auto Museum.
The brewery opened in July 2016 as a New York State Farm Brewery, meaning 90 percent of raw materials came from NYS farmers. However Borchardt said grain was becoming expensive, they were limited on hop choices and they didn’t want to pass cost to the customers.
“They love the idea of local but then they look at the price and ask why it’s so expensive,” Borchardt said. “It was really hard to compete like that and we wanted to make certain styles of beer, so directionally we changed our focus from being exclusively a farm brewery to a dual license.”
The brewery is still certified as a NYS Farm Brewery, so each year the brewery has to use a certain amount of farm materials. In addition, the brewery also has a microbrew license, which is what more breweries have.
“Once we did that we started ramping up our creativity because we weren’t constrained by ingredients anymore,” Borchardt said. “That [license] allows me to use ingredients form all over the world.”
The brewery now aims to target unique flavors in the beers they create, like a chocolate caramel truffle stout, and figure out what ingredients they can use to achieve that. He said they perpetually try different hops, water chemistry and different grains to achieve a specific flavor.
“I like the fact that were not static and were flexible in a lot of different ways. Clearly the different beer styles we make are reflective of that,” Borchardt said.
He added that over the winter, he focused on creating sour beers. He said most sours give an off flavor that he didn’t enjoy, so he focused on eliminating that over the winter until he figured it out.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — What began a career in fashion turned into something above and beyond what Virginia Fretto, owner of Razimus Jewelry, ever thought she would do.
Fretto designs and creates custom pieces of jewelry made from keepsake fabrics. Memorable garments such as wedding gowns, baby quilts and a grandfather’s tie can now be worn and remembered forever.
“So talk about fulfilling, I get to be creative and help people,” Fretto said. “The best part is this feeling and sense that I’m doing something bigger than just design.”
However, Fretto never imagined herself designing with such keepsake items and said it was something that happened naturally.
“It was just something that happened organically. I started having clients ask me if I could make them something out of an important garment and the more I said yes to it, the more fulfilling that felt,” Fretto said.
Fretto started Razimus Jewelry after she and her husband moved to New York for a job opportunity. In Boston, Fretto said she handled the corporate social responsibility at Hearts on Fire, a diamond dealership. After experiencing the corporate side of business, Fretto searched for a creative outlet and thus her business was born.
Fretto began her store with design collections of eco-friendly fabric jewelry, which she sold through a number of boutiques in the capital region. She said her store combines two passions: fashion and jewelry design.
Starting three years ago, Fretto noticed requests for custom keepsake jewelry more often. After placing a small listing on her website about such items, Fretto started to shift the business focus in Feb. 2019.
“This is a big transition for my business,” Fretto said. “The beginning of last year it started to become more of a request and something I started to realize was a service and a gift that I can provide to my clients.”
The store now holds the focus of custom designing. Fretto said they work with clients to transform fabric pieces such as a great grandmother’s apron and design it into jewelry that can either be a special gift for someone, or can even serve as memorial gifts.
“It’s really such a beautiful way to honor a loved one or preserve a memory, and there aren’t many options out there to preserve loved ones clothing after loss or to transform your wedding dress after the big day is over. I have found a really unique niche, and it is touching so many lives. I am just so thrilled that I can use my creative skills to touch so many families & people through fabric jewelry design,” Fretto said.
Fretto uses a variety of different materials to create these custom pieces. They use everything from sterling silver to precious stones and a majority of their pieces are made with solid copper, brass, stainless steel or pewter. Fretto wanted to offer enough materials in case a client had an allergy to one of the metals.
Once a request in sent in via mail or online, Fretto and her team get to work. She has two women who work at home as contract employees. They do the sewing and beading of the designs as they come in.
“We really like that [work] dynamic. It’s conducive to moms who stay at home or people that have multiple jobs or different issues of flexibility in their schedules,” Fretto said. “It’s something that we can continue to grow and add more artisans in the area and it’s really lovely because I get to kind of work and feed off of all these other very creative women.”
Working with memorable garments creates a sense of honor in Fretto and said every story she hears holds a place in her heart. She even had the privilege of watching people open the box with their new bracelet or necklace and the tears that are shed don’t come from sadness.
“There’s a certain comfort and happiness that I know I’m providing and it’s a beautiful thing. I feel like I’m actually offering a service that was not planned but has become a really beautiful part of this journey,” Fretto said.
Operating largely through her website, Fretto said she also occupies a small portion of the Palette Cafe on Broadway. Requests for the custom pieces can be made online, in store, or through the mail.
“I’m able to use the talents that I’ve had and kind of keep developing them and keep innovating,” Fretto said. “And not just in a way that’s serving me as a creative outlet, but that I know is actually providing something so meaningful as the end product to the client.”
COPING WITH COVID-19
Paying it forward is a great way to help businesses around the community after being shut down during this outbreak. In response to this outbreak, and as a small business owner herself, Fretto created an idea to help pay it forward.
Fretto dedicated a portion to her website to help other small businesses. A portion of sales from any purchase on their website will be used to make another purchase from a small business in the local community. She wants to encourage other small businesses, in any way they are able, to use a portion of that sale to continue the cycle and make a purchase from another small business.
For example, once a bracelet is sold, Fretto will use those funds to purchase a delivery meal, local farm produce, toiletry, clothing, cleaning or other handmade products produced by a small business owners. She will then donate said product to Wellspring, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help survivors of relationship abuse and sexual assault.
The idea is to help generate some needed revenue and support in the community. While upholding social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, anything ordered will be mailed directly. Bracelets can range in price from $40 to $90.
The following statement may be attributed to The Wesley Community Chief Executive Officer Brian Nealon:
“The Wesley Community has taken immediate proactive measures as a result of the health threat posed by coronavirus (COVID-19) to our older adult population. We want to emphasize that we do not have any cases of coronavirus at Wesley Health Care Center and have not quarantined any individuals, including staff, at this time.
“Based on the most recent recommendations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, The Wesley Community has made the prudent decision to discontinue all non-essential visits to the Wesley Health Care Center, effective immediately until further notice. We have decided to take this necessary measure to preclude the spread of coronavirus to our highly vulnerable residents and the dedicated staff who care for them.
“This new policy will include visits by family members. Visitors will only be allowed into the facility if deemed essential or for end-of-life situations. Since family interaction is an important component to the well-being of our residents, alternative means of communicating with loved ones are being implemented, including the use of video conferencing.
“Staff and visitors granted access will be required to go through a mandatory screening process by a trained employee for potential exposure or symptoms.
“We do not take these decisions lightly and we understand the importance of family and friends visiting. These new policies are based on the guidance we have received from the leading national health agencies.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and following recommended guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York State Department of Health and Saratoga County Public Health Services. We will continue to work closely with these health agencies as matters continue to evolve.”
Universal Preservation Hall, a new 700-seat theater-in-the-round performance space, just prior to the first-night opening of the doors, on Feb. 29, 2020. Photos by SuperSource Media, LLC.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — “How do you like us now!”
Teddy Foster beamed beneath the sparkle of stage lights Saturday night, unveiling the grand room to the eyes of several hundred theater goers.
“I’ve been waiting to say that a long time,” said the newly named director of Universal Preservation Hall, which stands on Washington Street, one block west of Broadway. “A really, really long time.”
Foster joined the board at UPH in 2006, became its president three years later and has stewarded the grand old church building from the brink of obliteration to its present-day promise as a thriving performance and community center in downtown Saratoga Springs.
It was built in 1871 and served as a Methodist church for its first 100 years, as well as playing a role in the city’s civic life by providing a venue for visiting statesmen including Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryan and Frederick Douglass. But by the 1960s, it had fallen on hard times. Downtown Saratoga was in decline and the Methodist congregation relocated to a new building outside of town. The church sat empty for several years. A local Baptist congregation bought it for $18,000 in 1976 but hadn’t the means to preserve and restore the aging structure.
In 2000, the city condemned the building. Local preservationists organized a nonprofit group and reached out to the Baptist congregation to help save the structure. Donations paid for an initial wave of renovation work beginning in 2003. The building was stabilized but the restoration effort ground to a halt with the economic collapse of 2008-09.
The venue had housed a smattering of events in recent years – from fashion shows to First Night celebrations, and concerts by Colin Hay and John Sebastian. Max Weinberg – drummer of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, brought his 15-piece big band to UPH in 2010, and Brooklyn-based band Cuddle Magic performed a memorable mixed-media show at the hall with pianist Phyllis Chen and novelist and short story writer Rick Moody in 2014. Because the renovations were only partly completed, however, the maximum occupancy of the hall was severely restricted.
“I was smart enough to realize I needed either a plan to move forward or an exit plan,” Foster said, speaking about the future of UPH in 2015. “You’re remembered not for how you start something but how you leave it. I didn’t want to be remembered as the woman who let down Universal Preservation Hall. So, we got busy.”
In the summer of 2015, following three years of discussions, an operating alliance was created with Proctors, the historic theater in downtown Schenectady that has served as a performing arts destination in that city since the 1970s.
A $13.5 million renovation project followed. The original stained glass windows and the building’s pews have been restored. New seating descends from the rear balcony and, on the other end of the 7,000 square-foot room, ascend into the apse. Movable platforms allow the space to open up, depending on the requirements of any given performance. There is a new glass atrium entryway and elevator, and a state-of-the-art sound system. The architecture maintains its Gothic accents and re-opened to the public on Feb. 29, Leap Day.
“When we saw it was possible to open on this day, we leapt,” quipped Proctors CEO Philip Morris on opening night. The Proctors Collaborative includes Proctors in Schenectady, Albany’s Capital Repertory Theatre and now UPH in Saratoga Springs.
The 700-seat theatre-in-the-round set-up is not alien to longtime regional theater goers, sharing the performer-audience intimacy of the former Starlite Music Theater - which began its life as the Colonie Musical Theater in 1958, before taking the more familiar Colonie Coliseum name in the early 1970s.
It seems fitting Rosanne Cash was selected as the debut performer in the re-christening of the grand hall. The eldest daughter of Johnny Cash was 9 years old when the Man In Black performed at the 5,000-seat Convention Hall on Broadway on a November night in 1964 in support of his then-new album “I Walk The Line.” One year later, Saratoga Springs’ largest indoor venue went up in flames. The emergence of UPH marks the return of a mid-sized, year-round venue to the downtown district. According to a statement issued in 2018, UPH will serve an estimated 65,000 visitors per year, with a $3.5 million annual economic impact as a year-round venue space.
As for parking, UPH is located within a few hundred feet from the four-level parking garage on Woodlawn Avenue. The structure, built in 2012, holds about 450 vehicles. The garage will provide easy access to a planned glassed-in entryway to the east of the hall’s current entrance.
Upcoming concerts at UPH include: An Evening with Chris Botti 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6. $79.50 - $179.50; Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame Ceremony 6 p.m. Monday, March 9, $50; Howard Jones Acoustic Trio 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, $29.50 - $69.50; Irish Hooley with the Screaming Orphans 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, $25.
Rochmon Record Club which began its monthly gathering under the guidance of music savant Chuck Vosganian, AKA “Rochmon,” will mark its return to UPH at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, when the offering will feature a presentation of Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” Tickets are $25.
Tickets for all shows are available by phone at 518-881-4500, online at universalpreservationhall.org or at the Box Office at 25 Washington St.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — David Amram has played the French horn in the legendary jazz bands of Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton. He created and performed in the first ever Jazz/Poetry readings in late 1950s New York with his friend Jack Kerouac, and worked with Allen Ginsberg in the film “Pull My Daisy.” He has composed the scores for “Splendor In The Grass,” “The Manchurian Candidate” - the original film – and served as the Composer and Music Director for the Lincoln Center Theatre. When he was named the first Composer In Residence for the New York Philharmonic, it was Leonard Bernstein who made the appointment.
On March 8, Amram will be featured in a panel discussion about the Beat Generation, as well as a concert during which he will read selections of “Beat” poetry and present historic photography of the legendary faces and places of the mid-20th century movement which changed the face of America.
Locals may recall Amram’s recent appearance at SPAC with Willie Nelson at Farm Aid, or his emotionally stirring performance at the Lake George Jazz Festival in September 2001, when in the immediate days following 9/11, Amram brought together the T.S. Monk Sextet and Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra for a musical collaboration in Shepard Park that marked, for many, the first public event they attended in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The collaborations of his storied career have included the likes of Arthur Miller and Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson and Bob Dylan.
The events take place Sunday, March 8 at Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College, and are as follows:
Sunday, March 8 • 3 p.m. A pre-concert panel discussion on the “Beat” generation with David Amram and Joan K. Anderson, choreographer and co-director of the School of the Arts at the National Museum of Dance, moderated by Charles Peltz. Admission to the panel discussion event is included with concert tickets.
Sunday, March 8 • 4 p.m. The Glens Falls Symphony’s 2020 Alfred Z. Solomon Colloquium Concert “Dance! Beats!”
The concert features tango music of legendary Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla; David Diamond’s Rounds for Orchestra; Bela Bartok’s vibrant Rumanian Dances with a special performance by ballet dancers from the School of the Arts at the National Museum of Dance, choreographed by Joan K. Anderson, co-director of the School of the Arts.
Plus: Greenwich Village Portraits by David Amram - composer of the “Beat” generation - performed by world-renowned saxophonist Ken Radnofsky.
Amram will read selections of “Beat” poetry and present historic photography of the legendary faces and places of the “Beat” generation.
Tickets: $30 Adults | $10 Students. Available online at www.theglensfallssymphony.org, call the Symphony office at 518-793-1348 or stop by the office upstairs in the LARAC Gallery building: 7 Lapham Place in Glens Falls. Office hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — There will be additional green space at Saratoga Race Course this summer with the elimination of a long-standing hospitality tent alongside the paddock.
The 240-square feet of picnic space will be restored prior to the start of the 2020 summer meet, offering fans an unimpeded view of the historic Saratoga paddock, according to a statement issued by the New York Racing Association this week. The Paddock Tent had been a fixture at Saratoga for more than a decade.
"A great deal of what makes Saratoga so special is the ability to see both the horses and jockeys up close. We are removing the Paddock Tent in order to offer more fans the exciting opportunity to watch these incredible athletes as they parade through the paddock prior to each race," NYRA CEO and President Dave O'Rourke said, in a statement.
The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation also endorsed the tent's removal. "The landscape of the paddock is a significant historic feature of the Saratoga Race Course. We are very pleased that the large tent is being removed, allowing the green space and important views of the paddock and original saddling shed to be restored," said Samantha Bosshart, executive director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, in a statement.
Opening Day at Saratoga is Thursday, July 16 and the meet will run through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7. Following Opening Weekend, July 16-19, racing will be conducted five days per week, Wednesdays through Sundays. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — More than three million residents aged 65 and older currently live in New York, reflecting a boom of older adults during the past decade in nearly every corner of the state.
Saratoga County – which has experienced a 55 percent spike over the past decade - depicts the largest county growth in the elder population statewide, dwarfing neighboring communities in Albany County (a 23 percent increase), Rensselaer County (a 32 percent increase), and Schenectady County, which experienced a 13 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade, according to the Center for an Urban Future analysis of the U.S. Census from 2007-2017.
In specific numbers, the 65-plus age group in Saratoga County has increased by 14,300 from 2007 to 2017, from just over 26,000 to more than 40,000. The county’s under-65 population meanwhile has remained relatively flat during that same period.
To meet current trends, the Saratoga Senior Center, located in Saratoga Springs, is making plans to build a new senior center to accommodate the explosive growth in senior population.
“When I took over in 2010, we served 300 seniors a year, now we have more than 2,000 a year, and every day we have 125-150 seniors walk through our doors,” says Lois Celeste, the agency’s executive director.
Founded as the Golden Age Club in 1955, the Center started with just 35 members. The group purchased their own building at 162 Circular St. in 1960. A larger and more modern facility named The Robert Gass Senior Center was erected in May 1979 at 5 Williams St.
“We’re out of space and we need to build a larger facility to serve our existing population and for the influx of ‘boomers’ to come in the very near future,” Celeste says. “We looked at the current building to see if we could expand, but we can’t really go out, or up,” she says of the agency’s Williams Street location, which stands in a city-owned building.
The agency is currently involved in siting a new venue in Saratoga Springs. Celeste isn’t prepared to specifically identify the site at this point as project details have yet to be finalized, but explains that the agency has plans for a new, larger building that could be announced “in the next couple of months,” with a targeted completion of the new center expected in 2021.
The announcement of a new building comes as the non-profit, non-residential community center celebrates its 65th anniversary.
At the Center, adults age 50-and-over can join for $25 per year and participate in programs, trips and social activities tailored to adults and seniors.
Earlier this month, the Center started opening its doors on Saturdays to accommodate the growing demand and changing needs of its seniors. The expanded activities – grant funding was provided by the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust – feature varied activities such as yoga, dance, billiards, computer skills training and arts workshops, and take place 9 a.m. – noon on Saturdays.
The Saratoga Senior Center will also host a “Leap Of Kindness Day” from 10 a.m. – Noon on Saturday, Feb. 29. The event is free and open to the public.
The Saratoga Senior Center is located at 5 Williams St., Saratoga Springs. For more information, call 518-584-1621, or go to: saratogaseniorcenter.org.
Rod Stewart’s back. The pop singer returns to SPAC July 29. He last performed at the venue in July 2017, with Cyndi Lauper.
This time around, he will be accompanied by Cheap Trick at a majority of summer concerts – although that won’t be the case at Saratoga.
An opening band is anticipated to be named in the near future.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — To date, promoter Live Nation has announced the following shows to stage at Saratoga Performing Arts Center this year. Additional shows and/or support artists for these previously announced shows are expected. For a comprehensive list of performances at SPAC not presented by Live Nation – which includes NYCB, and Saratoga Jazz Festival, among others, go to: spac.org.
June 6: The Lumineers - III: The World Tour
June 7: Celtic Woman
June 13: Zac Brown Band: Roar with the Lions Tour
June 24: KIDZ BOP Live 2020 Tour
June 30: Steely Dan with Special Guest Steve Winwood
July 2: Tedeschi Trucks Band - Wheels Of Soul 2020
July 8: Alanis Morissette w/special guest Garbage and also appearing Liz Phair
July 10, 11: Dave Matthews Band
July 12: Countryfest 2020 with Brantley Gilbert & More
July 21: Chicago with Rick Springfield
July 22: Nickelback: All The Right Reasons Tour
July 24: Matchbox Twenty 2020
July 25: The Black Crowes Present: Shake Your Money Maker
July 26: The Doobie Brothers: 50th Anniversary Tour
July 29: Rod Stewart
Aug. 1: Journey with Pretenders
Aug. 3: Dead & Company
Aug. 4: Disturbed: The Sickness 20th Anniversary Tour with Staind & Bad Wolves
Aug. 9: Foreigner: Juke Box Hero Tour 2020
Aug. 11: Incubus with 311.
Aug. 18: Sammy Hagar & The Circle and Whitesnake with special guest Night Ranger.
Aug. 23: Goo Goo Dolls: The Miracle Pill Summer Tour.
Aug. 31: Daryl Hall & John Oates.
Sept. 6: Maroon 5.
Sept. 6: Meghan Trainor.
Sept. 11: Backstreet Boys: DNA World Tour.
Sept. 12: The Australian Pink Floyd Show: All That You Feel World Tour 2020.
What should we do with an extra day? That’s a question that first entered my brain in 2000.
I was with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at that time. I had been there for five years. I had seen how much good a strong vibrant well led chamber of commerce could do for its community, its members and the local economy.
But on February 29, 2000, I sat there and wondered how the Chamber might mobilize the community to use this extra day to do something….but what?
Fast forward to 2015, I’m at the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, and I saw an opportunity to discuss this idea.
That fall, we convened a meeting with a bunch of local leaders. People from the nonprofit sector, the for-profit sector and some local philanthropists.
We reminded them that 2016 was a Leap Year. We suggested we find a way to use this extra day for something good. I kept calling it the “extra day initiative.”
There was interest. People liked the concept. That’s why they showed up. But what should we do or what could we ask our members and people in the community to do with their extra day.
Bo Goliber, from Fingerpaint, at some point in the discussion, shouted out “Leap of Kindness Day.”
Everyone said brilliant.
As the representative from GLOBALFOUNDRIES suggested, we then had to figure out how an individual by themselves or a company with 3,000 employees could both participate.
How might we scale this idea of a Leap of Kindness Day?
That led us to contact larger local nonprofits to see what we could do to help them. They told us. We need food, clothing, personal care items, money, etc. Setting up a collection drive was reasonably simple for our larger members and they organized drives to meet these local needs.
Others came to us with their own ideas. Espey Manufacturing wanted to thank our US Navy Sailors with Stewart’s gift cards. The Hampton Inn and Suites, in Saratoga Springs, made breakfast for the Lake Avenue Fire Station. Polyset brought breakfast and lunch to first responders in Clifton Park. The Ballston Spa BPA collected non-skid socks for a local nursing home.
As we started sharing #leapofkindnessday with our members and our community, other chambers of commerce took notice.
In 2016, we had 52 chambers of commerce in 30 states that asked us if they could share our Leap of Kindness Day idea with their members and communities. We said yes.
Its 2020 now. Four years later. This is another Leap Year. And so we’re again leading the effort to promote Leap of Kindness Day in Saratoga County and beyond.
New acts of kindness have been announced.
Customers at Curtis Lumber, for instance, have already bought more than 500 2x4s that Curtis Lumber will be donating to Habitat for Humanity on February 29.
The Clifton Park Halfmoon Library is collecting funds from patrons for CAPTAIN Community Health Services. T-Shirt Graphics is selling hoodies for just $8 online. All purchases will be donated to the Racetrack Chaplaincy who will give these to backstretch workers.Two website development firms offered to help Kelly’s Angels with a special request. There are collection drives for food, clothes and personal care items already underway.
This year, we already have more than 160 chambers of commerce in 41 states, Canada and Ireland joining us in celebrating Leap of Kindness Day.
Now, you don’t have to organize a collection drive to participate. Every individual can do something kind for someone else. Make a donation on February 29 to your favorite local charity. Send a thank you note to someone that changed your life.
February 29 this year is a Saturday. Take your family or friends out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and TIP big.
Here in Saratoga, we had the chance to invent Leap of Kindness Day. And the impact is humbling to say the least as more people every day share what they plan to do not just in Saratoga County but across the world. So we ask, what will YOU do with your extra day on February 29, 2020?
For more information on how you can get involved and make a difference, visit: www.saratoga.org/foundation/leap-of-kindness-day-2020.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Three young girls sat equidistant around a U-shaped table, hard at work shaping clay pots in the C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studio. Instructor Jen Horn stands at the center, digging through a box of ceramics tools.
The homeschool students are here for the Homeschool Art Class that Horn runs every Wednesday.
Heather Hutchison, Julie Lewis, and Aili Lopez — C.R.E.A.T.E. founders and three-fourths of the operations staff — sit in front of a wall saturated with local art.
C.R.E.A.T.E. opened two spaces in 2017 — on Broadway and in Schenectady. After two years, their Saratoga office moved to 70 Beekman St. with Living Resources.
The non-profit provides wellness activities and expressive art instruction to the public, with a focus on underserved communities and people with mental health needs. C.R.E.A.T.E. does not currently provide art therapy services, but plans to one day and has their roots there.
Some of the classes offered on a weekly basis include Lopez’s teen group every Monday, which pulls in a consistent group of students, and Wednesday’s healing art hour — perfect for homeschool students or people on their lunch break. Other events can be found on their website.
Besides the activities and classes done on site., C.R.E.A.T.E. also holds “suitcase programs” in which they go to places like the local library, Healing Springs Recovery Community Center, or Project Lift, which provides free after school programming.
Suitcase programs allow C.R.E.A.T.E. to reach communities that may not be able to find them on Beekman. And it is grants, from places like The Kimberly Beth Kennedy Family Foundation in Saratoga, that make this possible.
Other outside programs included a fundraising event recently conducted in collaboration with the Beekman St. Arts District and Frederick-Douglass Lodge. According to Lewis, about 65 people went to create alongside eight artists — many from Beekman — who donated three hours of their time and even some of their materials.
Currently, a collaboration between SUNY Empire State College and CREATE Community Studios depicts an exhibit featuring more than 120 pieces on display at the college’s 113 West Ave. campus. For more information, go to: createcommunitystudios.org.