– SPAC is expanding its 2023 season to include live theater, jazz, folk, world, and classical music, with 28 performances, 24 debuts, and 11 premieres.
– Educational programming at SPAC has increased from 400 to over 1,500 classes annually, and the institution serves an estimated 50,000 students throughout the region.
In a world where change is the only constant, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) has decided to embrace this mantra and switch things up a bit. Like a chameleon, SPAC is adapting to its surroundings by expanding its 2023 season to include an annual program of live theater, jazz, folk, world, and classical music.
Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, waxed poetic at the annual conference, describing SPAC as a “confluence of human-made and natural beauty” and as a “refuge for all people and cultures.” She also highlighted SPAC’s mission to connect people to people and to the planet. With such profound sentiments, one wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking Sobol for a modern-day philosopher, rather than the leader of an arts institution.
As for the programming, Chris Shiley, Vice President of Artistic Planning, announced that the depth and scope of SPAC’s offerings have “exploded.” The summer season will span three months and will include 28 performances, 24 debuts, and 11 premieres, anchored by the theme ‘EARTH.’ It seems SPAC has really dug its roots deep into the ground with this one.
The season will also include LiteraryArts@SPAC, featuring insightful conversations with famous authors, thinkers, and poets; CulinaryArts@SPAC, offering culinary experiences focused on sustainability, community, and socially responsible growing and consumption; and VisualArts@SPAC, bringing works of art to life at various locations within the SPAC campus and through collaboration with community and cultural partners in the Capital Region.
SPAC’s educational programming, led by Dennis Moench, Vice President of Education, is also transforming. The number of classes offered annually by SPAC has increased from 400 to over 1,500, and the institution now serves an estimated 50,000 students throughout the region. Additionally, SPAC will expand and enhance its accessibility and inclusion programs in 2023 through partnerships with local service providers AIM Services and Saratoga Bridges.
In facility news, last year SPAC began the renovation of its amphitheater backstage, which had remained unchanged since 1966. The makeover, thanks to partners at Live Nation, has modernized the backstage area, making it a more comfortable and inviting place for artists. The Performer’s Road, also from 1966, has been widened, regraded, and repaved. Finally, the Spa Little Theater has undergone extensive renovations and now hosts a year-round concert program, welcoming over 8,000 guests.
SPAC ended the year with $470,000 in operating reserves, thanks to fundraising efforts, board support, and the utilization of $1.5 million in critical federal grants for budget relief from COVID. This reserve will help navigate the challenging 2023 season.
In conclusion, it appears that SPAC has decided to leap headfirst into a brave new world of expanded programming, educational outreach, and facility improvements. So, if you’re looking for musical magic, literary enlightenment, or gourmet delights, it seems that SPAC will be the place to be in 2023. Mark your calendars, folks, because the Saratoga Performing Arts Center is stepping up its game and inviting us all along for the ride.