When artist Constance A. Dodge looks out the window of her studio, an Adirondack landscape unfolds before her eyes.
Decked with gardens of rocks and flowers, the peach-colored house with the red roof that she shares with her spouse and three cats overlooks Great Sacandaga Lake. The Batchellerville Bridge is a stone’s throw away. To the north, there are only mountains, trees and sky.
“There’s a peacefulness . . . the serenity, the mountains. You just get fed by the environment,” she says.
SVAN Art Trails
WHAT: Self-driving tour of artists’ studios and galleries
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 8 and 9). Some studios open only on Saturday.
WHERE: Benson, Bleecker, Caroga Lake, Northville, Edinburg, Vail Mills, Mayfield, Gloversville and Johnstown
HOW MUCH: Free
MORE INFO: Map online at www.svanarts.org or pick up at Fulton County Chamber of Commerce, Vail Mills Visitors Center and at libraries and art centers in Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, Albany and Troy
This weekend, Dodge’s Lakeside Gallery in Edinburgh will be one of 30 stops on the Sacandaga Valley Arts Network’s second annual Art Trails, one of the most scenic art events in the greater Capital Region.
With a map of the Sacandaga watershed as a guide, one can drive around the 29-mile-long lake, looking at all kinds of artwork and meet the artists who created it.
In Northville, you’ll see paintings, eggshell mosaics, photographs, drawings, rustic frames, pottery, embroidery, furniture and wood-turned bowls. In Bleecker, you’ll find sterling silver jewelry. And in Edinburgh, you can chat with an artist who makes hand-painted scarves.
But don’t expect to do all 30 stops in one day or even one weekend.
The art tour covers a wide area. In addition to Edinburgh, there are stops in Northville, Vail Mills, Mayfield, Johnstown, Gloversville, Benson, Bleecker, Caroga Lake and Porter Corners.
Each stop will be marked with a SVAN sign.
“If you look at the map of where people are located, no one can do everybody,” says SVAN member Marilyn Sargent.
“You can do a portion in one day. Some of them are really off the beaten track.”
Sargent and Dodge, a painter and member of the prestigious Schenectady-based Oakroom Artists, are co-creators and co-organizers of SVAN Art Trails. They have also been a couple for more than 25 years. Two years ago, they were married in the patio garden behind their Sacandaga home.
The women are longtime members of SVAN, an 18-year-old non-profit group that offers the community year-round arts events, programs and classes, including live music, art exhibits and theater.
Run entirely by volunteers, SVAN has more than 200 members who work in the arts or are supporters of the arts.
Last year’s Art Trails, which had 21 stops, was very successful, says Sargent, and eight more artists signed up this year.
“Adirondack Stained Glass in Gloversville only did one day last year. Now they are doing two days this year, they were so enthusiastic,” says Dodge.
Arlene Rambush, a weaver who lives in Benson, sold most of her work at the first Art Trails.
“People were standing in line to get into her studio,” Dodge says.
But Art Trails is not just for the artists, Dodge and Sargent say.
“It’s really just for the good of the community. The arts improve the economy of any area,” says Sargent.
“People are fascinated about getting into the studios and seeing them,” Dodge says.
“And you don’t have to buy anything,” says Sargent. “Just come and appreciate the art.”