SARANAC LAKE — BluSeed Studios and Saranac Lake ArtWorks are joining forces to strengthen and expand their impact in the arts community. After months of exploration and discussion dating back to this past spring, the two organizations have formalized their collaboration and are beginning 2017 “under one roof.”

“The potential for BluSeed and ArtWorks to work on collaborative efforts will improve both our groups’ abilities to promote arts in Saranac Lake.” said BluSeed Studios founder and Artistic Director Carol Vossler. “It seems to be a ‘marriage’ that is both natural and logical to do since we have already worked together in the past and this will allow us to expand on what both groups already have accomplished.”

Through the summer and fall, a work group made up of representatives of both organizations discussed the best mechanisms for the two groups to work together, identify tasks which needed to be completed, parameters for joint programs and projects as well as how best to implement collaborative efforts including integrating budgets and hiring additional staff. While there will be one board overseeing the combined group, with a special ArtWorks committee, memberships for each will continued to be handled separately and funds raised will be kept apart.

“We are very excited about what a closer working relationship between BluSeed and ArtWorks will offer to both organizations as well as the community.” said photographer Mark Kurtz, a past ArtWorks Chair. “It takes a lot of work and effort to continue implementing programs focused on the arts in Saranac Lake and pooling our efforts and resources will allow us to work much more effectively.” He added that BluSeed and ArtWorks, along with other regional partners, have been working closely in the development of the Adirondack Regional Art Trail, which can be found at www.northguide.org.

For those wondering how the merge will impact existing programs, leaders at both groups emphasize that individual missions and long-running commitments will remain in place. ArtWorks will continue to promote area artists and Saranac Lake as an arts destination as well as manage festivals and events including the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, Artist at Work Studio Tour and 3rd Thursday Art Walks. BluSeed will continue with its focus as a multi-disciplinary arts and culture nonprofit, providing art educational programs and facilities as well as cultural events. Through the new merger, the combined board will identify new opportunities to implement both existing and new programs over the next year.

“The resulting merger will streamline operations and allow for expansion of arts programming, while maintaining each organization’s unique strengths,” said BluSeed Board Chair Jim Connolly. “The collaborative effort allows BluSeed to provide organizational support to ArtWorks which has primarily used volunteer efforts over the years to implement its programs.”

Sandy Hildreth, painter and one of the key Saranac Lake ArtWorks coordinators responsible for the Adirondack Plein Air Festival since its inception, agrees, adding: “We are looking forward to working more closely with BluSeed Studios. The collaboration will allow us to think more strategically about how we implement various art events in the community with the potential to both expand what we are already doing and to consider new programs and events that will attract visitors, artists, and even new residents. ArtWorks has clearly proved that the arts can have a positive economic impact.”

Larry Poole, former Chair of BluSeed Studios and long time ArtWorks member said “this has been under discussion for some time and it is wonderful to see that the two organizations have developed a closer relationship to continue to make Saranac Lake a center for arts and arts education.”

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