Up Close & Personal: Adirondack-Inspired Art in Saranac Lake
The most beautiful thing about the art scene in Saranac Lake is, yes, the art itself, but also the fact that so many of the artists are on hand to bring a personal perspective to what you’re looking at in real time and in the flesh. Here are a few of the best art spaces right in the heart of downtown, from independently owned art studios to co-op galleries and art organizations.
Adirondack Artists Guild
While the 15 artists that display their works on the walls of this pleasant little co-op gallery on Main Street in downtown have changed over the years, they always live and work in the immediate surrounding area – and add something unique to the diverse cross-section of art already on show. Expect everything from plein-air painting to assemblages and collage to ceramics, jewelry, and photography, plus a member artist always on-site to talk shop.
Professional artists offer workshops in papermaking, letterpress, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and more in this unique visual and performing arts facility set in an old corrugated metal warehouse a half-mile north of downtown. It’s also home to exhibition space for both local and traveling art shows, as well as artists in residence, who take advantage of the facility’s equipment and materials for on-site creative time.
NorthWind Fine Arts
Another cooperative member gallery just one street away from Hotel Saranac, this open and airy venue with loads of natural light exhibits the work of nine regional artists, concentrating in metalwork, pencil drawing, jewelry, and all forms of painting. Hoping to meet a particular artist? A different group show each month includes an opening reception that’s free to the public on the first Friday to mingle with the creators in person.
Georgeanne Gaffney Studio
Set on the second floor of a historic storage building on Main Street, this two-room studio and gallery – open by appointment only – displays the fine art paintings of its owner and namesake: Georgeanne Gaffney. The longtime Saranac local specializes in portraits and landscapes rendered in acrylic and watercolor that are then marred with a sander to create a dreamy, romantic, and aged effect.
This tiny Main Street studio houses the impressive large-scale watercolor and oil paintings of local artist Tim Fortune. After several years traveling and studying abroad, Fortune settled back in his native Adirondacks after falling in love once again with its rock streams, bogs, and snow-covered trees – the very subjects he now paints.
Mark Kurtz Photography
Located across the river from Hotel Saranac, the personal gallery of one of the founding members of the Adirondack Artists Guild, Mark Kurtz, exhibits his panoramic black-and-white landscape photography, as well as hundreds of handmade prints. He’s also the official photographer for Saranac Lake’s famous annual Winter Carnival.
Sandra Hildreth Studio
Open by appointment, this studio and gallery is located in the home of the Saranac Lake artist it showcases: Sandra Hildreth, who is known for plein-air oil paintings that take you right out onto the trails, shorelines, and mountaintops of the region. Her works reflect the places she has come to intimately know through years of hiking, paddling, and cross-country skiing across the region.