Friday marked the beginning of a big push for art in Saratoga Springs by the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame.
Twenty-five 5-foot-tall fiberglass ballet pointe shoe sculptures were unveiled Friday in an exhibit at the South Broadway facility.
“I think this is one way for everyone to see them and the sponsors and the artists to see all the stuff that they’ve been working on,” said Donna Skiff, museum director. “We’ll have them mapped out eventually at the different locations.”
The fiberglass sculptures are part of a program that the museum has been working on since January. A committee of National Museum of Dance board members, staff, and local art professionals selected 25 sculpture designs from artists around the area and then paired them with sponsors to complete the sculptures for the museum’s Saratoga En Pointe art program.
“I’m so pleased and so proud that the sponsors and artists collaborated together to create these beautiful sculptures with their personal touches on each one of them,” said Michele Riggi, president of the board at the National Museum of Dance.
Ron and Michele Riggi sponsored one of the sculptures. The couple paired with local artist Judith Aratoli Tully to create the Palazzo Riggi Pampered Pups ballet pointe shoe, featuring many of the Riggis’ 3 dozen dogs.
“I got pictures of her dogs, she gave me reference materials and I came up with the concept,” said Aratoli Tully. “She’s very supportive.”
The Riggis’ shoe was one of three sculptures that Aratoli Tully has been working on the past three months. She had to complete one sculpture per month in order to have them ready for the unveiling Friday.
Even though Michele Riggi had her own sculpture, she would not say which one of the 25 were her favorite.
“I do have a favorite but just like my dogs, I never tell,” she said.
Another local artist who had her hand in on creating one of the 25 sculptures was Cassidy Hall. Hall was sponsored by the Saratoga Hilton, Saratoga Springs City Center and Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau to create a sculpture to go in front of the Saratoga Springs City Center, titled Saratoga Spirit.
“We wanted to do something for the spirit of life in Congress Park and I wanted to take it and make it a little more contemporary,” said Hall. “I got really lucky.”
The unveiling of the 25 sculptures was not the only event taking place at the museum Friday night. The activities also included the reopening of the renovated Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame, which included a ribbon cutting by Marylou Whitney and husband John Hendrickson, whose donations helped pay for the renovation. Also, the Hall of Fame inducted Anna Pavlova, an early 20th century ballerina widely regarded as one of the greatest in the history of dance.
The sculptures will go to their permanent homes in mid-June after their bases arrive at the museum June 10.