Capital Region museums and galleries chugged along in 2012 as the nation’s economy began its slow and painful crawl up from a deep recession.
Our important juried exhibit, the Mohawk Hudson Regional, continued to gain support, with more sponsors than ever providing funds and awards. The number of artists submitting entries keeps growing, too.
In the spring, Saratoga Arts partnered with the Arts and Culture Program at the Albany International Airport and opened a new gallery called The Annex in the second-floor space vacated by the Departures gift store. The debut show was a solo exhibit by Robert Cartmell.
In Cobleskill, the Tri-County Arts Council closed its doors. Art Night Schenectady, which began in 2007, has nearly disappeared, but there is hope of a revival in 2013.
And there were changes in leadership.
In February, Mark Schaming became the director of the New York State Museum, and in June, Chris Marblo started his new job as president of the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy.
Ian Berry, associate director and curator at Skidmore College's Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, took the reins as Tang director earlier this month.
The Hyde Collection is still searching for an executive director to replace David Setford, who left in August, and hopes to make an announcement in the spring.
Year in Review 2012
Gazette visual arts reporter Karen Bjornland picks the best of the year from the region’s varied arts venues:
1.“Unearthed,” “Through Shen-Kan,” “Then and Now,” at the Clark Art Institute. An unusual exhibit of rarely seen ancient Chinese art, including a 10-ton sarcophagus, plus artifacts from Sterling Clark's 2,000-mile trek though northern China in 1908.
2. “Oh Canada,” at MASS MoCA. A super-sized survey of contemporary Canadian art. (Exhibit runs through April 8, 2013)
3. “Nancy Grossman: Tough Life Diary,” at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. Dark, disturbing “head sculptures” by groundbreaking female artist.
4. “Core Sample: Ellen Driscoll,” at the Esther Massry Gallery, The College of Saint Rose. An intelligent and timely exploration of our oil and water consumption.
5. “Stephen Knapp: New Light” at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls. Abstract art created by shining light through fragments of glass.
6. “John Van Alstine: Arrested Motion/Perilous Balance,” at Opalka Gallery, Sage College of Albany. Finally, a Capital Region exhibit for this nationally recognized southern Adirondack sculptor
7. “Life and Death” by Chip Fasciana at the Albany Center Gallery. A solo show of abstract art made from bread, animal bones, recycled wood and more.
8. “Taking Flight: and the World of Birds” at the Berkshire Museum. A nature lover’s paradise, with 34 of Audubon's original hand-colored prints and more than 100 taxidermied birds.
9. “An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War” at the New York State Museum. Did you know that New York once had more slaves than any other state? (Exhibit runs through Sept. 22, 2013)
10. “The Maya: An Artistic Homage” at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. Solo show of prints and sculpture by Galway artist Patricia Kay.
— Gazette visual arts reporter Karen Bjornland