ARTS ALLIANCE NEWS: Defining and reflecting our community’s character through public art

Moving the 1980 Winter Olympic sculpture “Vans for Ruth” to Mount Van Hoevenberg from the Olympic Center (Photo provided)

The Lake Placid Arts Alliance — part of the Lake Placid/North Elba Community Development Commission — was formed with the approval of our master plan by the town of North Elba and village of Lake Placid boards in 2021. The plan is based on the belief that art enhances, defines and reflects a community’s character and image.

The master plan outlines 12 goals for the Alliance:

1. Maintain high artistic standards in works of art displayed in the permanent and temporary collections and spaces of the village and town.

2. Enhance our community’s image locally, regionally and nationally by ensuring the presentation of the highest quality public art.

3. Create exciting, appealing and harmonious spaces by integrating public art into architecture, design and public space planning.

4. Build awareness of community history, culture and geography.

5. Provide uniform procedures and policies for donations, loans, commissions and the decommissioning of public art.

6. Outline the responsibility of the village and town for ensuring management and maintenance of public artwork.

7. Facilitate planning for the placement of art in village and town facilities and public spaces.

8. Assure appropriate recognition of all displayed artworks in the village and town.

9. Create safe and accessible public art areas.

10. Care for the collection with an ongoing review and tracking system for maintenance needs.

11. Create an art fund to maintain the integrity of the public art collection for future generations.

12. Create an inventory and map of existing public art and assess management and maintenance needs for each.

The Alliance is comprised of five voting member organizations: Community Development Commission, Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society and Adirondack Film. In addition, ad hoc members participate in our Alliance. The public is always welcome to attend our meetings.

Our first project was to move a sculpture from in front of the Olympic Center to its new home at Mount Van Hoevenberg. “Vans For Ruth,” was one of about a dozen sculptures commissioned for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. The move was necessitated by the renovations at the Olympic Center and was done in cooperation with the town, state Olympic Regional Development Authority and LeChase (the contractor doing the renovations). As you can see from photos taken during the move that it was no small undertaking, and we thank everyone who got it to its new home safely.

In the coming months, we will be working with students from Skidmore College to inventory, assess and research the history of the entire Olympic sculpture collection. In addition, we are working with the village and town to develop a creative solution for a fence at the municipal beach. We will update you on these as we progress and tell you about some other exciting and fun projects that we have in the initial phases of development.

All projects are subject to village and town approval and will be presented to the public for feedback prior to installation.

(Lori Fitzgerald is the chairperson of the Lake Placid Arts Alliance.)