First thing’s first: If you haven’t read our story about Saratoga Arts Executive Director Louise Kerr, do that now. Since being hired for the role in August 2020, Kerr has been working nonstop on her mission to turn Saratoga Arts from a nonprofit in the shadows into an all-encompassing, city-wide umbrella organization that facilitates the arts in all its forms and ensures the city’s arts institutions have all the support they need to do their crucial work. No big deal.
Part of Kerr’s work (which, by the way is indeed a big deal) has been to create partnerships between Saratoga Arts and iconic Saratoga (lowercase) arts establishments, including The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the latter of which hosted a soiree to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Saratoga Arts residing in its current building on the corner of Broadway and Spring Street. The organization itself is actually 35 years old this year.
The elegant anniversary party took place on October 21 at SPAC’s new The Pines facility. Guests arrived to lively live music at the entrance to the SPAC grounds, walked past a gaggle of children and teenagers working on an art project under the Julie Bonacio Family Pavilion, and were greeted on the first floor of The Pines building by a classical cellist. Upstairs, a Who’s Who of Saratoga’s arts scene listened to a clarinet/accordion duet, and attendees watched from the terrace as a group of arts students performed a number from Hairspray outside the pavilion.
While the party was technically in celebration of Saratoga Arts’ anniversary, it also served as the first big event the organization had been able to host for the arts community since Kerr arrived in Saratoga during the pandemic. She was given star treatment, as Susanne Simpson, president of the Saratoga Arts board of directors; Ian Berry, Dayton director of The Tang; and Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of SPAC, sang her praises. Sobol even recalled her first meeting with Kerr, which she started off by saying she didn’t want to sit on the board of any other local arts organization. Needless to say, after two hours of talking with Kerr, Sobol agreed to be on the Saratoga Arts board.
After a few brief words from Kerr herself, attendees—among them SPAC Chairwoman Susan Law Dake, Saratoga Commissioner of Public Works Skip Scirocco, New York State Economic Development Council Deputy Director Shelby Schneider, Skidmore-Saratoga Consulting Partnership Director Colleen Burke and Adelphi Hotel General manager Helen Watson—went back to mingling and snacking on light fare from Mama Mia’s and Sweet Mimi’s Cafe. Click through the gallery at the top of the page to relive the evening, whether or not you were in attendance!