Inspired: New Lake Placid Arts Alliance to highlight art, culture, history

Exhibits from the Lake Placid Arts Alliance went up in the windows of the former home of Pure Placid on Main Street in August 2020, celebrating the arts, culture and history of the village, which is mostly known for its sports heritage. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — The Arts Alliance of Lake Placid has one message for residents and visitors: There’s more to New York’s Olympic village than sports and outdoor recreation. A lot more, considering the community’s art, culture and history.

The Alliance is brand new. It’s a subcommittee of the Lake Placid/North Elba Community Development Commission and is chaired by Lori Fitzgerald, a longtime member of the Lake Placid Business Association and volunteer for multiple efforts in the village, such as the committee that organized the 40th anniversary celebration of the 1980 Winter Olympics this past February.

This time, it’s the arts.

“We have a goal to really get art out into the community, into public spaces and communicate the strong history of art, culture and history throughout the community,” Fitzgerald said Tuesday, Aug. 25. “There’s a lot of history and creativity that people are unaware of, so part of this is to educate people about some of the really interesting things about Lake Placid that they don’t know about.”

There are five organizations that have voting members in the Alliance: the LP/NE Community Development Commission, Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society and the Adirondack Film Society.

The Alliance’s first project is to fill the windows of vacant storefrints with displays of that art, culture and history.

“There are several storefronts along Main Street that are vacant, and in order to brighten up the space and have things look less abandoned,” Fitzgerald said, “we decided that we would create stories about Lake Placid’s art, culture and history and put them into those storefront windows to let visitors and locals alike know that this history exists.”

One display is currently in the space formerly occupied by Pure Placid at 2423 Main St. between China City and Ben & Jerry’s. There are paintings of musicians and Composer Stuart Malina and a poster from the LPCA’s high school art show.

LPCA Executive Director James Lemons said the Alliance is a great way to promote Lake Placid outside the sports events this town is known for: the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, World Cups, marathons, Ironman Lake Placid triathlons, horse shows, rugby, lacrosse and water sports.

“It’s been a super positive experience for us so far,” said James Lemons, executive director of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, adding that this new alliance gives the LPCA a chance to tell stories about its own arts heritage. He mentioned that the most recent residencies of dance companies reminds him of the 1970s when the village hosted dancers such as Martha Graham, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp.

The timing is right for the Main Street window initiative, as the village is poised to redesign Main Street’s infrastructure in coming years, according to Fitzgerald.

“Part of what we’re going to be charged with is determining how art, culture and history fit into that new landscape,” she said. “In fact today we’re just starting some of the strategic planning to think about where we might include art, historical stories, sculpture along the Main Street redesign, potentially in the crosswalk bump-outs.”

The Alliance also has a mural subcommittee that is currently scouting locations on Main Street, Saranac Avenue and Sentinel Road for local artists to paint murals.

For more information about the Lake Placid Arts Alliance or to learn how to get involved, email Lori Fitzgerald at lorifitzgerald310@hotmail.com.