The Lake George Arts Project was established in 1977 to offer comprehensive programs in the arts. Its mission is to provide exposure and income opportunities to professional and emerging artists, and to provide quality arts programming for the residents and visitors of the Lake George region.
Originally a Comprehensive Employment Training Act project, the Arts Project’s early years produced the Prospect Mountain Sculpture Show (1979), a major exhibition that attracted national media acclaim; the Summer Concert Series (which continues in Shepard Park during July and August); and numerous community arts workshops, presentations, school programs, and fairs. The end of CETA in 1981 (and the consequent loss of six of the then seven employees) heralded a period of rethinking and rebuilding of programs. A second major outdoor visual arts exhibition, Ice and Air Show, was held in 1983.
In 1984, the Arts Project produced its first annual Jazz Weekend, and moved to a location capable of housing a gallery. The Courthouse Gallery opened in 1985, and marked the Arts Project’s return to year-round arts programming. In 1986, the Arts Project recommenced literary programming with an annual three-month writer-in-residence. Special visual art events have included Riverrun Yes (1988, Dan George); Cross-Wind Tunnel (1991, George Peters), and Birdwatching in Lake George (1999, Jane Ingram Allen). A new Shepard Park stage, with input and fundraising by LGAP was commemorated in 1990. Off-season jazz concerts held at the Hyde Collection’s new facility began in 1991.
The Collectors’ Club subscription to limited edition works of art began in 1992, as did a yearly residency for young visual artists. The Arts Project’s biannual literary review, The Lake George Arts Project Literary Review, was published in late 1993; the second volume came out in the fall of 1995, and a third in 1997. From 1997 Through 2008, jazz patrons John and Marilyn Breyo donated over $200,000 toward performance fees for the Lake George Jazz Weekend. Beginning in 2009 Kenneth and Susan Gruskin have become major supporters of the Jazz Weekend.