Schenectady ArtsWeek a mix of in-person, virtual events

Carmen & Life’s Guilty Pleasures will perform at the Schenectady Trading Company from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday. (YouTube)

Carmen & Life’s Guilty Pleasures will perform at the Schenectady Trading Company from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday. (YouTube)

Downtown Schenectady ArtsWeek will look a bit different this year.

It won’t all be virtual, nor will it be exclusively in-person. It’ll be a hybrid.

“We wanted to focus on having art available within everyone’s comfort zone,” said Amy Sonder, promotions coordinator for the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp., which organizes ArtsWeek. “While we have a lot of people who are ready to go to events and participate in person, we do offer a lot of the activities virtual as well so that [will] allow people to still participate but remain at home and where they feel more safe.”

Running from June 5-12, it brings together Electric City artists, galleries, musicians and more. The Schenectady Kids Arts Festival kicks off the celebration at 10 a.m. on Saturday with a virtual program.

“Since it’s too soon to have more than 3,000 kids and their families coming to downtown Schenectady for the 27th annual Kids Arts Festival, ArtsWeek is the next best thing,” said Betsy Sandberg, one of the organizers of Kids Arts Festival.

The virtual program will introduce the festival’s second essay contest. Kids ages 5-18 can submit essays reflecting on how they helped change anything for the better or ideas on how to make their community better. Winners in each of the two age groups will be awarded a Google Chromebook.

Following that will be a community paint day on the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail with CREATE Community Studios on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

Attendees can help to complete a mural that portrays themes of community, as designed by local artist Bella Burnett. People are also welcome to paint signs to be displayed along the trail this summer as part of “Color the Canal.”

Throughout the week, people can pick up art to-go kits at locations like Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery, Clinton Street Mercantile, Electric City Barn and others. The kits include origami, finger puppets, paper flowers and others.

“Maybe you don’t consider yourself an artist . . . but you’d be surprised. There’s definitely an art form out there for everyone. That’s what we hope to achieve throughout the week is that [people’s] minds are broadened to what art can do,” Sonder said.

Beyond visual arts, live music is a key part of the event. On Saturday, Carmen & “Life’s Guilty Pleasures” are slated to perform at the Schenectady Trading Company from noon to 2 p.m. The following day, CHIME Middle and High School students will perform downtown at the Schenectady Greenmarket.

“We’re very excited for that because a lot of their concerts for their junior and senior years have been canceled,” Sonder said. “And to be the first performance for the Greenmarket in over a year and a half is exciting as well.”

Then, Azzaam Hameed & Friends starts off the annual Jazz on Jay series starting at noon on Thursday, June 10.

“Hopefully it’ll be a beautiful day out. We want you to come down but if not you can tune in on Facebook and we’re going to provide that same level of entertainment for you,” Sonder said.

Here are some other highlights from the week:

  • The Schenectady Pride Festival on Saturday, June 5 from 3-6 p.m. at Gateway Plaza.
  • “Around These Parts” – Film screening of locally made films at 8:30 p.m. on Monday at the Schenectady Trading Company.
  • Electric City Art Gallery will host “Meet the Artist” events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday and next, as well as from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, June 11.
  • “SCH’DY 2021,” an exhibit featuring pieces from Schenectady artists, will open on June 11 and run through July 13 at Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery.
  • The Open Door Bookstore is slated to highlight local authors, featuring book signings throughout the week.

For the full schedule of events visit For more on Kids Arts Festival, visit

Categories: Art

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