FACE TO FACE: DRAWN TO SARANAC LAKE - In 2014, over 180 people sat for Adirondack artist Diane Leifheit for a couple of hours each at Compass Printing Plus in Saranac Lake while she captured their face in pastel. The medium is referred to as portraiture.
Portraiture is often viewed as a privilege of the well to do. This project sought to democratize the process, to encourage dialogue with the community and the artist; to leave a legacy to the town of its own interests in the arts and its people. The year-long goal was to create the images of the people: people who work in the village, people who have found safe haven in Saranac Lake, families who encourage art exposure of their children, the visitor who found a sense of belonging in a small town, the banker, the skateboarder, the retired teacher.
Face to Face: Drawn to Saranac Lake is a three year project. The first year was making the portraits. In the second year there will be an exhibit of the project. The third year the images will be complied into a book which will be available to the public. To learn more and follow along in the process visit dianeleifheit.blogspot.com.
Personal Thanks For Participation And Support
I have to thank everyone who participated and supported Face to Face: Drawn to Saranac Lake the 2014 Portrait Project, Democratizing the Portrait, phase one.
When I began on January 21, 2014 I honestly had no idea how big the project was. It was just something I have had to do. The people who sat - or slept as in the case of the born in 2014 baby - all gave away a part of their day to sit in a busy print shop and talk with me while I captured their likeness. To all of you I am so grateful for your time and patience.
Thanks go to John Gagnon and the crew at Compass Printing Plus. I am certain the project would have been more difficult to accomplish without the generous gift of space in the front window of the shop. All that art dust I scattered there will probably take several turns of the vacuum before it is all cleaned up.
Special thanks goes to Pendragon Theatre, my fiscal sponsor for the project. Thanks to those who have contributed large and small to the "keep it going fund". Thank you to Cherrie Sayles who’s enthusiastic "Get 'er done!" was why I could. Much thanks to Katy Van Anden and the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Adirondack Artists' Guild, Saranac Lake ArtWorks, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, North Country Public Radio, Plattsburgh Press Republican, and Mountain Lake PBS for helping me get the word out. Thanks also to Bluseed Studio, Historic Saranac Lake and the Saranac Lake Free Library; all who backed me by writing letters of support.
Thank you of course to the 2014 Decentralization Grant from New York State Council on the Arts, which covered the materials for phase one of the project. Thank you to Kathy Recchia, the grant coordinator for Adirondack Lake Center for the Arts.
This project will exhibit over 180 faces, but it could not have happened if Saranac Lake was like any other place. Saranac Lake brings in many people everyday who visit, shop, own businesses, do business and work and play here. It is home to people are are fiercely proud of their hometown yet still welcome all who come here. It is in this way the project represents many more people than the relatively small number whose portraits have been made. Saranac Lake is a special place.
To the 180 plus faces, thank you for letting me capture 2014 in your portraits.
In answer to the next question: When do we get to see them all? The answer is "Next November at the Saranac Lake Free Library." Yes I will need a ton of your support for that phase (Stay tuned.) but right now I am grateful for your participation and support during 2014. Thank you.