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.