Sacandaga Valley Arts Network reopens

NORTHVILLE – Artists and fans mingled Saturday at the re-opening of the center for the Sacandaga Valley Arts Network.

SVAN, a New York not-for-profit corporation that serves the area’s growing arts community, was created in 1997. Since then, the program has really “come together,” SVAN President Rick Hasenauer said.

“Our main mission is to promote the arts,” Hasenauer said. “Whether it’s performing arts or visual arts, we promote art all over the Sacandaga Valley region.”

He said SVAN hosts plays and concerts and displays artwork such as paintings, photography, stained glass and sculptures. SVAN also provides skill development workshops for budding artists who want to hone their craft and learn more.

This year’s re-opening was particularly special, Hasenauer said, because the program is trying to keep its center open year-round instead of half the year, which has been the case for the past two and a half years.

“This space is great for the gallery and art exhibits and for the people who participate in our workshops, so it’d be great if we could keep our center open all year,” he said.

The organization has a “modest” membership, Hasenauer said, with a $30-per-year membership fee.

He said SVAN gets the funds necessary for operation from community member donations and money collected from certain events. He said most events are free, but if there is a fee it’s very “modest.”

To help the corporation fund its concerts, SVAN also received a $5,000 grant from Saratoga Arts through its Fulton-Montgomery Arts Grant Program.

Barbara and John Spaeth, 10-year members of the corporation, were very instrumental in receiving the grant.

“I wrote the grant proposal,” John said. “SVAN puts on a full music program in the summer with concerts every week. I wanted our corporation to be able to pay these musicians and bands well and also offer these concerts for little to no cost for our community.”

The couple said they’re fans of art, and the program is a great way to meet people and develop new artistic interests.

“When I first retired I joined SVAN,” Barbara said. “It was a nice way to meet new people and get out of the house. I’ve always liked music and art, even though I don’t have any artistic talent.”

John said his son influenced his membership in the corporation.

“My son is a musician, and through all the years of being involved in his concerts and theater I developed a real interest in the arts,” he said.

Sandra Peters, one of the gallery’s many artists, said her interest in creating artwork was a surprise.

“It all started when I was taking photos of my grandchildren about 12 years ago,” Peters said. “I found that over the years I was taking more and more photos of other things and I was getting a lot of satisfaction from it. Then I thought to myself, why don’t I share these with other people?”

Peters’ photography ranges from landscapes to wildlife to close-ups of nature.

One of her favorite photographs she’s taken is of Canada Lake on a sunny day.

“I call the photo ‘Where God’s Light Shines,'” she said. “The light is shining on the lake in a way that made me think that that’s where God’s light shines down and radiates. I think it’s beautiful.”

Roughly 50 people stopped by the center Saturday to see the work of Peters and other artists.

Hasenauer said he thinks SVAN is great for the community, and he was glad to see so many people stopping in at the center.

“This organization is wonderful because there’s such an array of different artwork,” he said. “The number of talented people that live in this region is incredible and the artwork they produce is magnificent.”