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Arts group seeks grant for arts district
Art push

Arts group seeks grant for arts district

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LARAC headquarters

Jeffrey Fehder -jfehder@poststar.com The Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Center (LARAC) Lapham Gallery, located on City Park, is leading the effort to secure a federal grant to create an arts and culture district in Glens Falls.

GLENS FALLS -- Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council is seeking a $50,000 federal grant to establish an arts and cultural district with “physical” and “virtual” connections between 13 arts organizations and museums in Glens Falls.

Initiatives would include sidewalk markings to direct pedestrians from one location to the next, banners, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, a joint website, and a mobile device app that would provide information about organizations and historic buildings in the district.

“That’s how everyone finds things these days,” said Ellen Butz, director of LARAC, referring to the mobile app. “They don’t want to be looking at a piece of paper.”

Glens Falls Mayor John “Jack” Diamond mentioned the project in his State of the City presentation on Tuesday as one of his goals for 2015.

“I like the energy they (arts groups) are bringing to the table, and I look forward to working with them,” he said.

The project has a two-fold goal: to expand joint marketing and to create opportunities for local artists to design materials, banners and artistic bicycle racks/sculptures, said Jacquiline Touba, president of North Country Arts.

“We want to have artists involved,” she said.

Artists would be hired on a competitive contract basis.

The approximately one-square mile district would extend from the Chapman Historical Museum along Glen and Warren streets to The Hyde Collection art museum, to The Shirt Factory Arts and Healing Center on Lawrence Street and along Ridge Street and Lapham Place to LARAC.

The district would be a loose affiliation of participating museums and organizations.

The district would not have the authority to levy a tax on or regulate properties within its boundaries.

LARAC is applying for the funding on behalf of the city of Glens Falls and a coalition of arts and culture organizations that began meeting as a focus group in 2012 when the city was preparing its Downtown Development Vision and Strategy. That strategy called for branding Glens Falls as the Arts & Culture Gateway to the Adirondacks.

After the plan was adopted, Touba said, “We decided that all of the arts groups would continue to meet.”

Participating organizations are Adirondack Theatre Festival, Art in the Public Eye, Chapman Historical Museum, Charles R. Wood Theater, Feeder Canal Alliance, Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls Symphony, The Hyde Collection, Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council, North Country Arts, The Shirt Factory and World Awareness Children’s Museum.

Other organizations and galleries may be added.

“We are trying to be as inclusive and accessible as possible,” Butz said.

The National Endowment for the Arts grant program requires grants be matched with local funding or labor.

The local grant application calls for the city to provide labor valued at $25,000, such as installation of bicycle racks, plaques, banners, curb cuts and crosswalk markings.

The Glens Falls Business Improvement District would provide $6,000, Sandy Hill Foundation $3,500, businesses and individuals $14,000 and arts organizations $1,500.

Follow staff writer Maury Thompson at the All Politics is Local blog at poststar.com, at PS_Politics on Twitter, and at Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.

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