Saranac Lake is one of those places that has seemingly dodged the homogenization of the American town. Yes - it does have a donut franchise and hamburger too, but what is important is it is home to a wildly diverse and vibrant population nestled in the middle of the Adirondack mountains. There is an embedded can-do spirit that is witnessed in this years ice palace construction for Winter Carnival. The palace is rising in defiance of global climate change. Saranac Lake often makes the weather news for being the coldest spot in continental US, but not this year. Today it is way above freezing, and rainy - all detrimental to the concept of Ice Palace and Winter Carnival, but I am very sure the palace will be finished for opening ceremonies. Saranac Lakes determination is also witnessed in its fierce resistance to that box store that guts so many other small town Main Streets. But that spirit did not stop there. Visionary positive thinkers came up with a viable alternative. Saranac Lake now has its own Community Store. Not bad for a population of about 5000.
At the Adirondack Artists' Guild Gallery in Saranac Lake, the exhibit Mapping the Familiar: Artist Maps of Saranac Lake closed this week.
The exhibit focus is on methods of printmaking and artist ideas of
place. Ten artists made art maps of the town and each produced an edition of 15 maps. The methods of making the maps encompass silk screen, intaglio, digital, drawing and photography. The concepts are as diverse as the town yet all have a connection to each other. Each piece holds an idea that lead viewers to look closely and appreciate not only the place but the sense of the community. In emphasis of this community spirit, the curator and map maker Jess Ackerson has involved the community in its own map - a community map that has been added to all month. Walking trails, secret places, locations of interest - like where one could see peacocks - have been added to the Community Map.
The exhibit is not gone. It can still be viewed online. The exhibit is looking for another bricks and mortar venue to continue to be viewed. In the meantime, the Guild has maps for purchase until February 28 and includes the full edition of all 10 artist maps, the purchase of which will provide the funding for printing the Community Map.
Purchase my map "An Incidence Of Bridges", silkscreen on unbleached mulberry, three prints available, by calling the Guild at 518-891-2615.
Logging bought a population to this junction of river and lake. Bridge-making made it a town. The Cure kept it here. The River is thinking about washing it away, begging the question: How would one get there from here?
Recollection of the first print project was kindergarten using pre-carved potatoes. Then lino cuts in eighth grade which is still in the artists possession. A fixation with pen and ink occurred for many years. When a pen and ink was completed after days of inking the original, Xerox never failed to astound that 50 could appear with a flick of the button. Other methodologies of reproduction have been used since, mostly direct scanning of originals then digital reproduction of the work.
Bottom line though, I'd rather be painting.