National Art Day is a coast-to-coast celebration of the power and joy art brings, and its importance in our lives! This includes art in all its forms — painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, music, dance, and more.
Each year, on October 25th, we show our support for artists across the nation; those passionate, creative and mold-breaking individuals who enrich our lives through beauty, give a voice to social issues and movements that impact us all, and who show us the world in a way we might never have imagined.
Let’s celebrate the artist in all of us this year with artful crafts and games, compelling documentaries, and through some of our region’s most loved arts institutions — in-person and virtually.
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Art projects, crafts & games
Nature Paint Brushes
Paint a nature-inspired masterpiece in celebration of National Art Day! Kids can start by making a paintbrush from materials found in the natural world and these easy-to-follow instructions for assembling.
Beading Art Game
Learn about Alaska Native culture and explore the arts with this game from Molly of Denali. With step-by-step instructions your child can recreate Molly’s bead designs or create new designs and patterns of their own!
Milk Jug DIY Jewelry
A craft perfect for a rainy day or simple geometry lesson, try these shape necklaces made of empty milk jugs! What kind of shapes and colors will you use?
Create Sticky Window Art
This easy, long-lasting and sticky art project will have kids experimenting with art for hours! Respond to what’s outside your window, or make a world all of your own.
Pinka-Perfect Band Game
In this game from Pinkalicious and Peterrific, your child can explore music and sounds by building unique instruments and joining in song with Pinkalicious and her friends!
Make a Puppy Marionette
Put on a puppy puppet show with your little ones after making this easy, DIY marionette – all with common items you can find around the house!
Learning at Home programs
Check out the Mountain Lake Learning at Home arts block, Friday afternoons, this month and all through November!
Friday, October 30
Spotlight Special: Fulton Fryar’s Closet
Spotlight Special: Fulton Fryar’s Closet tells a relatively unknown story of racial inequality in 1950’s Adirondack culture, and how memories of it resurfaced recently when a building at Seagle Music Colony faced demolition. The building housed a young singer named Fulton Fryar, the first African American singer to study at the colony, and whose sleeping quarters in 1957 were kept separate from those of the other singers on the campus. Learn what role architectural experts, museum curators and concerned citizens are playing to make sure Fryar’s story will be remembered.
Spotlight Special: Native American Artistry
Follow along with Producer Paul Larson as Native American artists discuss their work, including pottery and painting, the historical relevance of the pieces, and the updating of traditional motifs for modern viewers. Featured artists include Mohawk cradleboard maker Babe Hemlock, Mohawk pottery artist Natasha Smoke Santiago, Mohawk storyteller Kay Olan, and Seneca basket maker Penelope Minner. You can also view videos from this multi-part Spotlight series anytime on our website.
Spotlight Special: Creating an Adirondack Folk Opera
Explore the creation of Promised Land: an Adirondack Folk Opera and learn about the creative process, and people, behind the making of the production. The opera relates the story of the 1840’s Adirondack settlement, named Timbuctoo, with themes including civil rights, voters’ rights, and racial issues in the era before the Civil War in America – topics that remain poignant in modern times.
A group of university actors, musicians, directors and producers travel to four rural communities in Nebraska to perform Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” Through community concerts and school presentations, many people are seeing opera for the first time and they love it!
Friday, November 6
The Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers
In the vicinity of New York’s Hudson River Valley, a group of American painters led by British born artist Thomas Cole forged an artistic vision of the wilderness. This was the first American school of landscape painting. Men with the names of Cole, Durand, Cropsey, Bierstadt, and Church would impress the world with their creative brilliance and wondrous vision. On canvas they would bring to life 19th century America.
The Hudson River School: Cultivating a Tradition
In 19th century, artist Thomas Cole and engraver Asher Durand established an artistic movement that became The Hudson River School. The next generation expanded their palette with a technique that was immersed in light. This artistic innovation was later hailed as, “The Luminist Movement.” This film tells the story of these artists who became the greatest landscape painters in the world.
Friday, November 13
Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World
Go on an epic journey across nine countries and over 1,400 years of history to explore the stories behind the masterworks of Islamic art and architecture. See the richness of Islamic art in objects big and small, from great ornamented palaces and the play of light in monumental mosques, to the exquisite beauty of ceramics, carved boxes, paintings, and metal work.
Georgia O’Keeffe: A Woman on Paper
Georgia O’Keeffe: A Woman on Paper, highlights the artist’s career while focusing on the little-known story of O’Keeffe’s time spent in Columbia, S.C., as an art instructor at Columbia College. The program follows O’Keeffe’s career through various artistic stages, ending permanently in New Mexico, where she created more realistic paintings with vivid color.
Friday, November 20
Making a New American Nutcracker
Join narrator Neve Campbell and the creative team behind The Joffrey Ballet’s new production of Christopher Wheeldon’s “The Nutcracker,” a bold re-imagining of the Christmas classic that places Marie in the humble home of a 19th Century immigrant family where she falls asleep and dreams of a journey through the Chicago World’s Fair.
Getting to the Nutcracker
Getting to the Nutcracker is a behind the scenes look at what it takes each year to produce the Nutcracker Ballet from auditions to final performance, following the Los Angeles based, Marat Daukayev Ballet Theatre, led by the former Kirov star. Boys and girls, ages 3-18 are profiled; passionate people who, with their families, make incredible sacrifices of time and money, just so that they may dance. The audience follows the dancers through the auditions, the rigorous hours of training and rehearsals, and shares the joy of landing a principal role and the pain of losing one.
Friday, November 27
Crane Candlelight Concert 2018: Go Tell It on the Mountain
In a concert tradition that began in the 1930’s, the Crane Chorus and the Crane Symphony Orchestra come together each year to present a very special holiday concert. Featuring over 300 carolers and musicians from the renowned Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam, the concert includes traditional Christmas and seasonal hymns from around the world along with popular favorites. The 2018 concert was conducted by Jeffrey Francom and Joel Schut and featured the Broadway and opera star Lisa Vroman ’79, soprano.
Crane Candlelight 2019: The Best of Crane Candlelight
The Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra of SUNY Potsdam presents the Crane Candlelight Concert 2019, themed “The Best of Candlelight.” The concert highlights the best songs performed at Candlelight from over the past 10 years. Making this year even more special, the Crane Chorus was joined by the Holy Name of Jesus Academy Chorus, a local youth choir, for five songs. Dr. Jeffrey Francom conducts the chorus, while Dr. Ching-Chun Lai, conducts the orchestra.
Mountain Lake PBS original programs
Enjoy these local, arts-focused Mountain Lake productions all year-round!
Spotlight Series: Native American Artistry
Spotlight: Native American Artistry, produced by Paul Larson, is a multi-part Mountain Lake PBS documentary series. Viewers join Native American artists as they discuss their work, including pottery and painting, the historical relevance of the pieces, and the updating of traditional motifs for modern viewers. Featured artists include Mohawk cradleboard maker Babe Hemlock, Mohawk pottery artist Natasha Smoke Santiago, Mohawk storyteller Kay Olan, and Seneca basket maker Penelope Minner, amongst others. The whole series can be viewed anytime, online via the Mountain Lake website.
A Spotlight Special: Jean Arthur’s Birthplace Celebrates the Star
A Spotlight Special: Jean Arthur’s Birthplace Celebrates the Star showcases the creation of an outdoor mural in downtown Plattsburgh, coordinated by Outside Art: The Plattsburgh Public Art Project. It depicts local native Jean Arthur, star of some of the greatest films of Hollywood’s Golden Age, such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Shane.
The special documents the painting process of Plattsburgh native Brendon Palmer-Angell, and features Jean Arthur’s biographer, John Oller, speaking about the earliest years of Arthur’s life in Plattsburgh, as detailed in his book Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew. And, to find out more on what else Outside Art has been up to, visit their Facebook Page.
Spotlight: Painting with a Piano
Originally premiering on the big screen at the Strand Center Theatre in Plattsburgh, New York, during the Lake Champlain International Film Festival, Painting with a Piano chronicles artist Philippe Van Eetvelt’s inventive painting style. Van Eetvelt uses the keys of a piano, and a machine he created to mix color with music, to paint.
Producer Paul Larson speaks with the international artist about his bright canvases that sometimes explore dark themes. When he’s not examining the relationship between music and art, the painter from Montreal treats subject matter including women in society and the end of humankind on earth.
Local & regional arts organizations
Learn and create with a variety of North Country museums, galleries, and art centers.
Plattsburgh State Art Museum
Located on SUNY Plattsburgh’s campus, the Plattsburgh State Art Museum features several permanent collections of western and non-western art, ranging from ancient to contemporary, displayed within their main galleries, an evolving outdoor sculpture park, and exhibition areas throughout the campus.
The museum also houses an expansive collection of artworks from famed regional artist, Rockwell Kent, including paintings prints, drawings, dinnerware, books, photographs and more. For more information on current exhibits and other offerings, visit the museum’s Facebook page.
The Hyde Collection
The Hyde Collection combines the intimacy of an historic house with the sophistication of a larger art museum complex. One of the northeast’s exceptional small art museums, four galleries offer a changing schedule of world-class exhibitions, featuring distinguished collections of European and American art. The Hyde offers significant national and international exhibitions, and a packed schedule of events that help visitors to experience art in new ways.
Online, visit The Hyde’s Museum Blog where they share the latest art news, curator’s thoughts, and virtual tours from around the world. If you have a young artist in your midst, be sure to check out The Hyde’s Family Programs and their Artful Afternoons online via YouTube.
Stone Ledge Sculpture Garden
The Stone Ledge Sculpture Garden, located just south of Plattsburgh, NY on US Route 9, is hard to miss with its large-scale metal and wooden sculpture sited across the sprawling lawn. Created by Jackie and Dick Sabourin in 1994, the garden offers an opportunity for locals and tourists alike to breathe the fresh air and take in impressive works of art. And, it’s free and open to the public year-round!
The collection features many works by sculptor John Kokoszka, which pay homage to a variety of notable moments in world and art history, such as Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes’ famous painting “El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid.”
Strand Center for the Arts
An active Arts Center and historic Theatre in downtown Plattsburgh, NY, the Strand Center for the Arts offers rich cultural experiences and arts education for all ages and skill levels in the visual arts, clay, music, dance, literary arts, and more. Year-round gallery exhibitions, artist markets, and community events draw folks from across the North Country and beyond.
The Strand Center Theatre hosts a variety of theatrical, film, and musical performances, and is a landmark of cultural and historical importance. Originally built as a Vaudeville Theatre in 1924, it is currently on the National Register of Historic Places. For virtual offerings, check out the Strand-ed at Home Concert series, a virtual gallery, and more on the Strands’ Facebook page.
Lake Placid Center for the Arts
The Lake Placid Center for the Arts is a year-round performing and visual arts facility. Located in the Adirondack Park of Northern New York, the LPCA presents music, dance and theatre performances, film exhibitions and visual arts presentations. The Arts Center also provides special arts-in education programs, workshops, and residencies for aspiring and renowned artists.
Traditional Arts in Upstate New York
Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) is dedicated to showcasing the folk culture and living traditions of New York’s North Country. This includes diverse customs and traditions ⎯ like storytelling, music, crafts, foodways, and folk art ⎯ that make life special in our region, from the St. Lawrence River to the Adirondack Mountains.
PBS LearningMedia resources & collections
Explore and learn about dance, music, visual arts, and the theatre from around the world with PBS LearningMedia.
Explore the many forms of visual art, from basket weaving to painting, and glasswork to furniture, with resources that encourage analysis, research, and practice. Filmmaking, photography, and architecture, in addition to careers in art, the history of visual arts, and art institution, are all also explored.
Discover the world of Theater with lesson plans, videos, interactive activities, and more. Theater classics, such as August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, Shakespeare’s Otello, and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, are presented with lesson plans and teacher and student support materials. Theater styles, the history of theater, and theater in world cultures are a few of the additional topics explored in Theater.
Encourage students to perform, analyze, and appreciate Music with resources that explore music from various time periods and cultures. Teachers can combine music and other disciplines with several lesson plans that include visuals and support materials, such as “Belarusian Waltz: Art as a Form of Protest,” “Macbeth | The Metropolitan Opera,” or “The Dancing Scientist | Take the Stage.” Careers in music, music in world cultures, and music institutions are among the additional topics explored in Music.
Encourage and explore the participation, analysis, appreciation, and history of Dance. Resources support students in comparing different styles of dance, from clogging to stomping to ballet; teachers can collaboratively plan interdisciplinary lessons; and groups of students can explore cultures across the globe from the perspective of dance. The history of dance, dance as a profession, and technology in dance are among the additional topics explored in Dance.