June 1, 2023

Downtown Schenectady ArtsWeek Shines a Spotlight on Local Arts and Culture

The Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation (DSIC) is once again joining with local partner organizations to build public awareness of and engagement in the wealth of arts and culture in and around Downtown Schenectady. The 5th annual Downtown Schenectady ArtsWeek takes place Saturday, June 3 to Saturday, June 10, 2023, and is highlighted by well-established and brand-new community arts events and activities.

“We are proud to showcase the incredible art and cultural institutions in Schenectady during Downtown Schenectady ArtsWeek,” said Amy Sonder, DSIC promotions manager. “This year, dozens of art activities will take place throughout downtown that highlight different artforms, including performances, visual arts, textiles, and more. The public is encouraged to come out during the week and showcase their creativity.”

A variety of signature events will take place during ArtsWeek, including two art traditions that are both celebrating their 29th anniversaries. First, the Schenectady Kids Arts Festival kicks off ArtsWeek on Saturday, June 3, from Noon-4:00 p.m. Betsy Sandberg, volunteer committee chair, said, “This year’s Kids Arts Festival will offer the most extensive variety of artists, art educators, and entertainment in our nearly 30-year history.”

Sandberg also chairs Jazz on Jay, which opens its 29th annual series at Noon on Thursday, June 1, with the ESYO Jazz Combo. The Trojan Horns take to the stage on June 8 as part of downtown’s ArtsWeek festivities. The concert series will continue every Thursday through August 31 with a full slate of the best the region has to offer, representing tastes of classic jazz, post-bop, soul, and avant-garde, to name a few of the styles embraced by the historic series. Rain location for both events is inside Robb Alley at Proctors.

On Saturday, June 3, the 11th Schenectady Pride Festival will celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month at Schenectady Gateway Plaza on Lower State Street from 1:00-4:00 p.m. The festival will feature live music and performances, DJs, vendors, and the popular annual drag revue.

Artworks by the late Robert Blood will be featured prominently throughout ArtsWeek. A public exhibition of the renowned Schenectady artist’s outdoor sculptures kicks off on June 9 in three locations: On State Street in front of Proctors and The Nest Restaurant, and in Stratton Plaza behind Proctors on Broadway. A mini collection of pieces by Robert Blood will be on display in the lobby of miSci at 15 Museum Drive. Additional pieces of Blood’s artwork will be featured as part of Gallery 5, a new periodic pop-up art gallery that debuts June 9-11 in the street-level retail space of the Electric City Apartments at 236 State Street.

To close out Downtown Schenectady ArtsWeek, the DSIC will spearhead a Community Paint Day for a brand-new mural by local artist Fran Giordano based on the beloved “Frog and Toad” books. Giordano said, “Art in the public realm helps to unify communities and gives people a place to reflect. It also enriches our lives in a way that nothing else can.” The mural will transform the east wall of the DSIC’s office building at 143 State Street. The community is invited to come to the corner of State and S. Ferry Streets on Saturday, June 10 from 10:00 a.m. to noon to leave their mark on Schenectady and help bring this artwork to life.

Heather Hutchison, executive director of CREATE Community Studios in Downtown Schenectady, said, “CREATE is always excited to highlight the importance of the arts in Schenectady.” CREATE will be welcoming the community to check out their new location at 140 Erie Boulevard during CREATE-A-THON, their annual art-making fundraiser on Saturday, June 10 from 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Guests can get a first look at their new ceramic studio and enjoy a day of interactive art activities including alcohol ink, paint pouring, community weaving, and more.

Other signature events throughout the week include Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, an international touring exhibition taking place daily at Schenectady Armory Studios NY; Art in Bloom, a summer-long free art program that takes place every Sunday during the Schenectady Greenmarket, and Afghan Embroidery and Dress-Making, An Exhibit by Latifa Ali Mohammad on display at New York Folklore.

Dozens of additional arts and cultural activities – from live music and theater to art shows and lessons – are taking place throughout Downtown Schenectady ArtsWeek. For a detailed listing, visit the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation’s website.