Saratoga Performing Arts Center reached out to a number of arts and business organizations in 2018, and that spirit of collaboration will also be a big part of the venue's 2019 season.
"This past season, we furthered many of our goals to increase accessibility to the arts and to build a bridge between the community, other cultural partners and our campus," SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol said Thursday afternoon at the group's annual board of directors meeting. "Looking ahead to 2019, we will continue to present world-class performances and experiences, forging even deeper ties with business and cultural partners, increasing community engagement, expanding outreach through our education programs, as well as making major developments in the improvement of our infrastructure."
One of SPAC's new partnerships will involve public radio stations WMHT in Albany and WRTI in Philadelphia. Both will record and broadcast four Philadelphia Orchestra concerts at SPAC during the summer of 2019.
"The past several months have been focused on building new partnerships with the local business community, while also continuing to nurture our cultural collaborations," said Sobol. "Our new Freihofer's Jazz Fest Friday initiative with the Saratoga County Chamber and our recent Bugatti Parade are just a few examples of our expanded vision to connect with local businesses in an effort to bring more cultural tourists to the region."
The board of directors also announced that the 2019 classical season will mirror 2018’s, including seven performances by resident company New York City Ballet from July 16-20 and the Philadelphia Orchestra for 12 performances from July 31-Aug. 17. Also, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will return to the Spa Little Theater Aug. 4-20.
Also announced at Thursday's meeting was that work on a $1.75 million initiative to rehabilitate and upgrade SPAC's amphitheater ramps, lighting and other infrastructure should be complete prior to the opening of the 2019 season.
Introduced at Thursday's event were new board members: Bill McEllen, leader of Fingerpaint's Saratoga Springs Office; Jaynne Keyes, a philanthropist and member of the New York State Council of the Arts, C.J. DeCresente, president and CEO of DeCrescente Distributing Co.; and David Jersen, CEO of Jensen Construction Group.
Sobol also announced that SPAC is projected to finish the 2018 fiscal year breaking even, and that audience attendance at 2018 classical performances exceeded projected levels. SPAC's goal to bring new audiences to the venue and promote multiple visits was also realized with a 31 percent increase in first-time ticket buyers.
SPAC's 2018 season continues next Thursday at 9:30 a.m. with the Lecture Luncheon Series at the Spa Little Theater. Will Schwalbe will talk about "Reading... One of Life's Greatest Pleasures."
Other upcoming events include "Live at the Jazz Bar: Latin Night!" featuring Alta Havana on Nov. 1; Nutcracker Teas in the Hall of Springs on Nov. 18; and "St. Luke's Performs Bach's Brandenburg Concertos" at the Bethesda Church on Dec. 15.