Video: SPAC Annual Meeting

{{{ Editor’s Note: For those who missed the SPAC Annual meeting on May 19, or just want to refresh their recollections, we are posting this video that has beeen provided by SPAC. If you prefer to read, a summary of the highlights appear below the video – AG}}

Saratoga Performing Arts Center Reflects on 2021;

Celebrates the Full Return of its Resident Companies and Season in 2022

SPAC announces new “Fund for the Future”

SPAC’s Board of Directors welcomes Raimundo C. Archibold, Jr. and Sally Bott as new members

Photos: Francesco D’Amico provided by SPAC

SARATOGA SPRINGS – At its Annual Meeting on May 19, 2022, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) reflected upon the challenges and opportunities presented by the past two years and looked ahead to its reopening in 2022. Following a reduced season in 2021, SPAC will welcome back New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for their full productions and residencies –– in addition to hosting its iconic Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, a popular concert lineup presented by Live Nation, and the return of Caffè Lena @ SPAC.

“Like so many individuals and organizations, the last two years have tested us mightily, but they have also called upon our deeper wells of creativity, compassion, resilience, and imagination. So that now, in summer 2022, in a full return of a SPAC Renewed and Rejuvenated, we are like our region’s endangered Karner Blue butterflies – re-emerging beautiful and glorious after being cocooned for so long,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president & CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center at the Annual Meeting.“This splendid re-emergence is accompanied and made possible by a historic and unprecedented confluence of favorable financial factors.”

“Fund for the Future”

SPAC announced that it ended the year with four million dollars of operating reserves. This was attributed to a significant reduction in programming expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, fundraising efforts supported by members, the Board of Directors and the general public and the utilization of critical funds received from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and Paycheck Protection Program. Two million dollars of these reserves have been committed to immediate capital improvements and critical operational needs, while the remaining two million dollars will be used to establish a “Fund for the Future.”

“What COVID taught us is that arts organizations live in fragile ecosystems – with subsistence survival from year to year. For years our financial outlook, which was largely one of scarcity, led us to defer important organizational and infrastructure investments – leaving us exceedingly vulnerable andexposed,” Sobol said. “This unprecedented situation has meant that for the first time ever, SPAC has been able to restore and renew itself across its whole operation including reinvestment in our resident companies, restoring our staff, and completing vital infrastructure and capital improvements.”

The “Fund for the Future” will help to ensure that the classical arts at SPAC can thrive, while deepening the Center’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access initiatives and arts education. It will also help to offset the skyrocketing costs associated with supplies and equipment, continued precarity related to the public health crisis, and its annual shortfall on its four weeks of classical amphitheater residencies, which regularly exceeds two million dollars and is projected to be even greater in 2022.

“Growing the ‘Fund for the Future’ will be one aspect of our long-range strategic planning. Today, however, we are taking the first step to simply and boldly reaffirm our commitment to our signature programming – and to what has become our most important work in the community – arts education,” added Sobol.

Facility Improvements:

Following the official opening of The Pines@SPAC in 2021, the Center continues to invest in the organization with important updates to its infrastructure, physical campus, and amphitheater.

Sobol reported that SPAC will welcome back the full New York City Ballet company this season with a new dance floor made specifically for NYCB, and a new performance curtain, which replaced a curtain that was almost 40 years old. The Philadelphia Orchestra will return this July for its three-week residency with 150 new music stands and chairs, which SPAC has never owned and has historically had to borrow for the past 55 years.

Sobol also noted that thanks to SPAC’s partnership with Live Nation, significant work to the backstage of the venue will be completed to modernize the dressing rooms and workspaces for artists and crew members. Additionally, the Performer’s Gate and Road area will be reconfigured, addressing important safety issues.

In a continuing effort to improve accessibility, SPAC has installed an Assisted Listening System in the amphitheater as well as a new sound system, replacing equipment from the 1990s.

To enhance the online patron experience, SPAC has completely replaced its antiquated ticketing and donor software and plans to unveil a new website in the fall of 2022. In addition, yesterday, Wednesday, May 18, SPAC broke ground on a new digital sign on Route 50.

Educational Programming & Community Outreach:

In support of its mission to provide free access to enriching arts programs for local youth, Sobol shared that SPAC’s season will kick-off on June 5 with its signature education event, The Adirondack Trust Company Festival of Young Artists, marking the first full-scale festival on the SPAC grounds since 2019. Following the theme Interdependence, inspired by Presidential Inaugural Poet and festival mentor Richard Blanco, the festival will celebrate the collaborative creativity of more than 500 of the Capital Region’s brightest young dancers, musicians, singers, poets, and visual artists.

Another highlight of SPAC’s educational programming for 2022 will be several NYCB Workshops including an “Access Workshop” on July 16 designed for children with disabilities. In addition, modern dance troupe BalletX will lead a workshop on July 26, in advance of its SPAC debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra on July 27. The Philadelphia Orchestra will also bring its “Sound All Around” education program on July 31 and its popular “PlayIN” on SPAC’s stage on August 5.

Additionally, SPAC will once again partner with National Dance Institute (NDI) and Double H Ranch to bring a series of dance workshops to the campers. Approximately 120 campers will participate in the workshops, which are designed to incorporate NDI’s award-winning dance pedagogy into inclusive classrooms where children of all abilities can dance and perform. Genre-defying trio Time for Three will also visit Double H Ranch for an interactive concert with the campers.

As part of SPAC’s mission to give equitable access to the arts, SPAC expanded its Classical Kids program, which reaches about 12,000 students and provides two free tickets per participating family. Summer Nights at SPAC, which serves Schenectady families, will also return with five free events, serving approximately 2,000 individuals.

SPAC Board Member News:

The board welcomed Raimundo C. Archibold, Jr., CFA as a new member. Archibold is the Managing Director at Schwartz Heslin Group, an investment banking and advisory services firm located in Albany, New York. He brings over 25 years of experience in equity research where he covered primarily the technology and telecommunication sectors.

Sally Bott, Operating Partner at Atlas and recent resident of Saratoga Springs, also joined as a new Board Member. Bott is an experienced human resources professional with more than 30 years of HR experience.

2022 Season Dates:

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

June 12 – August 21

At Pitney Meadows Community Farm

New York City Ballet

July 12 – 16

Opera Saratoga | Sweeney Todd  

June 29-30

The Philadelphia Orchestra

July 27- August 13

For tickets and more information, visit SPAC.org

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