This week, NYSCA grantees report a record summer season, collaborate to build arts-driven economies, and announce exciting new fall programs.
Proctors Theatre CEO walks crowd through building an arts economy
“Dozens of North Country artists, business owners and residents met Tuesday, Aug. 22 to discuss how to use the arts as an economic driver in downtown Saranac Lake…The two-part meeting began with a talk called ‘The Creative Economy: Re-imagining Our Rural Downtowns’ from Philip Morris, the CEO of Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. He was hired by Proctors in 2002 as the region struggled and the theater faced a daunting future…Since his success in bringing money and visitors back to a struggling Schenectady, Morris told the audience about what he learned from using an artistic institution to bring economic stability to a city…A uniting thread throughout his talk was working with what is already there and staying authentic to the area, using people and resources…After Morris’ talk, a roundtable discussion moderated by North Country Public Radio Station Manager Ellen Rocco was held with panelists Jill Breit of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, Amy Catania of Historic Saranac Lake, Joshua Kretser of The Strand Center for the Arts and Aaron Woolf, who owns the Deer’s Head Inn in Elizabethtown.” NYSCA supports Proctors Theatre through our Arts Education and Presenting Programs, TAUNY through our Folk Arts Program, Historic Saranac Lake through our Architecture + Design and Arts Education Programs, and The Strand Center through our State & Local Partnerships Program and Regional Economic Development Council.
ATF scores record summer season
“Before the first show of the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s 23rd summer season even opened in June, ticket sales were already breaking records. On June 20, Chad Rabinovitz, producing artistic director, said… ‘Last year at this exact time — a day before preview — we sold 1,250 tickets for our first show, ‘Island Song,’ which was a big hit as well. ‘The day is not over yet and we’re already at 1,700,’ he then said about this summer’s first show, ‘Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat.’ That record-breaking momentum continued throughout the summer, with ticket sales outpacing all previous seasons, Rabinovitz said on Wednesday from Bloomington, Indiana. ‘It was our most successful season, with 9,385 patrons,’ he said. ‘Three years ago, single tickets sales were 5,700, and subscriptions have increased from 570 to 1,195.’ There was such demand for tickets to ‘Tesla,’ an electronic pop musical, ATF had to add a show, and if there hadn’t been a tight time frame between shows, Rabinovitz said, they could have extended its run. ‘It was the best-selling show in ATF history, with over 3,000 tickets sold,’ he said. ‘What’s been so rewarding is hearing patron after patron come up to me after the show and say ‘It’s like Broadway is in Glens Falls.’ Many first-time ATFers are shocked at the production level and the quality from every element of the show.’ The buzz about ‘Tesla’ drew theatergoers from outside the area, including Vermont and Quebec, and as more people were introduced to the productions, ticket sales kept going up.” NYSCA supports ATF through our Theatre Program.
River dance: Battery Dance Festival takes center stage on Downtown’s waterfront
“Downtown’s longest-running pro-bono dance festival returned to Battery Park City’s Wagner Park last week for its 36th year, featuring performances from dozens of domestic and international troupes in a seven-day, waterfront bonanza of groove. The Battery Dance Festival, which debuted as the Downtown Dance Festival in 1982, draws more than 12,000 people to Lower Manhattan every year for the spectacle of movement. The nightly two-hour shows in the park included as many as seven performances in an evening, plus free workshops at Battery Dance’s studio at 380 Broadway. The choreographic confab even had a festival-within-a-festival with the Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance, which featured six Indian-culture dance companies from across India and the United States. Battery Dance takes its mission of connecting the world through dance quite literally, and the Downtown dance company uses its festival as a way to bring together dancers from across the country and around the globe. This year’s event featured 20 stateside dance crews, who were joined by international companies hailing from Belgium, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, and Botswana.” NYSCA supports Battery Dance through our Presenting and Arts Education Programs.
Andy Serkis to make directorial debut at Hamptons International Film Festival, with ‘Breathe’
“ ‘Breathe,’ the directorial debut of actor Andy Serkis (‘War for the Planet of the Apes’), has been chosen as the Sunday Centerpiece at the 25th Hamptons International Film Festival which will take place from Oct. 5 to Oct. 9. Serkis’ film stars Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy as a real-life couple who attempt to continue living an adventurous life together after the husband is diagnosed with polio. Other films that were announced for this year’s lineup include ‘After Louie,’ starring Alan Cumming as an New York City artist during the AIDS epidemic, and the Iraq War drama ‘The Yellow Birds’ featuring Toni Collette and Jennifer Aniston. Both Cumming and Collette are scheduled to attend the film fest. The festival’s ‘A Conversation With . . . ‘ series will this year include director Rob Reiner, whose biopic ‘LBJ’ starring Woody Harrelson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, will be shown at the festival. Additional films to be screened include ‘Human Flow,’ a documentary about the global refugee crisis; the art-themed drama ‘The Square’ starring Elisabeth Moss; and ‘Oh Lucy!,’ a short film about a Japanese woman who takes on an American alter ego.” NYSCA supports the Hamptons International Film Festival through our Electronic Media & Film Program.
Eyebeam’s new artist-in-residence cohort is heavy on racial justice
“New York art institution Eyebeam announced this week the new residents for the year that comes, all of whose work focuses on issues of racial inequity in society. The artists will receive $30,000 for the year and 24/7 access to Eyebeam’s facility in Industry City as they continue work on their projects. This year’s theme is trust, as it relates to democracy, ownership or community…This year’s artists in residence are: Dhruv Mehrotra, ‘working on ‘Othernet: Internet Island,’ an autonomous alternative to the Internet.’…Stephanie Dinkins, ‘creating an AI entity that reflects the concerns of communities of color.’…BUFU, ‘creating an app that makes accessible a virtual archive and emergency resources for homeless QTPOC.’…[and] American Artist, ‘insisting on both the visibility of blackness and erasure in virtual spaces.’” NYSCA supports Eyebeam through our Electronic Media & Film Program.
BPO is co-host of rare visit by national music conference
“It’s a musical event almost as rare as the recent solar eclipse. As the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra pointed out, the last time the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians met in Buffalo, Jimmy Griffin was the mayor, and the Buffalo Sabres still played at Memorial Auditorium. Now, almost 30 years after that 1988 event, the group is back. Its conference takes place at the Adam’s Mark Hotel from Aug. 22-26. The organization represents the top 52 orchestras in the United States. The conference here came about thanks in large part to Daniel Sweeley, who plays French horn with the BPO. Sweeley sits on the national board and serves as the BPO’s delegate to the organization. Each orchestra in the organization sends at least one representative, and other leading industry figures are also among the 110 people expected to attend. BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta is participating in one of the panel discussions, and so is the BPO’s distinguished tuba player, Don Harry. Discussion topics will include diversity in the workplace, pension concerns, health care, and community relations. Orchestra stability is a hot topic, and a talk will involve representatives from orchestras that have bounced back from the brink of extinction. The conference will also hear from orchestras that for the most part have managed smooth sailing.” NYSCA supports the BPO through our Music Program.
Albany Symphony releases new album
“A new Albany Symphony album featuring three concerti by Hudson Valley composer George Tsontakis is now available on the Naxos label — the latest from a Grammy-winning orchestra with more than two dozen recordings under its belt. Released on Aug. 11, ‘George Tsontakis: Anasa-True Colors-Unforgettable’ was recorded at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and the American Music Festival. Tsontakis, whose percussion concerto ‘Mirologhia’ was recorded by the symphony in 2006, has been a frequent collaborator under David Alan Miller’s tenure as conductor and music director…In a press release, Miller called Tsontakis ‘as one of our most important, creative living American composers.’ For more information on the ASO and its latest recording, see albanysymphony.com…The album is available for purchase at the box office at the Palace Theatre at 19 Clinton Ave., Albany, or via download and streaming at all the usual places.” NYSCA supports the ASO through our Music and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.