When Art Nights ruled Fridays
Eclectic event had a strong run in downtown Schenectady
Elaborately customized motorcycles lined up on State Street. Children painting in bright colors. A bookstore packed with eager fans, ready for an author signing. An ethereal woman, flitting through shadows, suspended from a wire, playing accordion, a goat’s head strapped to her back …
Art Night Schenectady served as a nexus for the art underground of the Capital Region and an urban audience hungry for excitement, entertainment and new sights, sounds and tastes. Developed by Capital Region Initiative Supporting the Arts Chairman Mitch Messmore, who would later found Art Night Beirut in Lebanon, Art Night Schenectady began in 2007, and, in addition to garnering large crowds for five years, also brought together shops, studios and restaurants throughout the city’s downtown.
Working with fellow travelers like Proctors Creative Director Richard Lovrich and regional artists and administrators like Meghan P. Murphy, Joleen Button, Kathleen Morris and Nancy Lussier, Messmore created opportunities for everyone from high school aspirants to professional artists like Patrick Porter, C. Ryder Cooley, Scott Michael Ackerman and James Juron.
Special events included “Art Bike Schenectady;” the premiere of Schenectady native John Sayles’ film Honeydripper; a Variety Circus; the Bones of Yayael collaboration with Northeast Ballet and artist Lillian Mulero; the debut of Electric City Couture; and an outdoor screening of It’s a Wonderful Life, projected on the former City Center building.