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She has the vision: Laura Colomb.

Photo: Joe Putrock

Community Arts

Saratoga County Arts Center Gallery exhibitions coordinator Laura Colomb helps keep the arts scene growing

By Shawn Stone

It’s that rare thing lately, a lovely summer afternoon. The sidewalks of Saratoga Springs are crowded, as people window shop or pause to read menus outside restaurants. It’s the day before track season opens, and Laura Colomb is inside the Arts Center Gallery at the Saratoga County Arts Center hanging the next show.

If you haven’t visited the Arts Center Gallery on Broadway, you should. The outside of the building is deceptive—you’d think it would be a small space, but the gallery is spacious and the windows allow for generous sunlight. Colomb takes a break and talks about her job curating exhibits—which she loves.

“The nice thing,” Colomb says, “is that I get to do it all myself.”

She enjoys the freedom of designing and laying out exhibits. She’s been at the Arts Center for two-and-one-half years, and the feedback to her shows has been positive. She enjoys meeting the many talented regional artists, and showcasing work that hasn’t been shown.

Colomb believes that “audiences are underestimated,” and that there are people who “crave” challenge.

The Arts Center Gallery features around ten shows a year. “We’re trying to go to a 2-month exhibit schedule for the rest of this year”; the Saratoga County Arts Council has approximately 800 artist members.

In addition to the Arts Center Gallery, Colomb coordinates shows for the Saratoga Springs Public Library, the Clifton Park Halfmoon Library, Saratoga Hospital and the Saratoga Springs Amtrak Station.

“We’ve definitely been trying,” she says, “to push the arts scene.”

Metroland recently named Colomb as the Best Emerging Regional Curator, and, as one of our critics wrote, for good reason: “Over the past couple years the exhibitions at The Arts Center Gallery have been increasingly well organized and displayed. . . . [her distinctive displays have] made this space a primary venue for regional art.”

Colomb, a Glens Falls native, earned her B.F.A. at the College of Saint Rose; she got her Master of Fine Arts at Boston University. Her medium is oil painting. She also had a residency in London at the Royal Academy; Colomb had a year to paint. Which, she says, was pretty nice.

Colomb has two shows of her own paintings coming up in September, a solo show at Upstart in Glens Falls, and a group show at the Ivy Associates Gallery in Schuylerville.

Asked what it’s like when the summer rush is over with, Colomb explains that it is quieter when the track closes, but, between the thriving downtown and the Skidmore College scene, “we have pretty steady walk-in traffic,” even in the middle of a cold upstate winter.

Ironically, Colomb didn’t curate the show she’s hanging this afternoon. Visions From Saratoga Battlefield . . . Conserving Historic Landscapes is a group exhibit of regional artists developed by the Friends of Saratoga Battlefield, the Agricultural Stewardship Association and Saratoga PLAN.

It is meant, Colomb explains, to raise consciousness about the importance of preserving the views around historic monuments, specifically the Saratoga National Battlefield. (This is the kind of battle that’s fought all the time at places like Olana.)

It’s also the kind of show, Colomb adds, that should suit a Saratoga summer perfectly.

Visions From Saratoga Battlefield . . . Conserving Historic Landscapes opens Saturday (Aug. 1) and runs through Sept. 26 at the Arts Center Gallery (320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs). Call 584-4132.

Photo: Saratoga Shots By Martin Benjamin

A trio of exercise riders runs an early morning starting gate lesson at the Saratoga Race Course. Here, the horses are galloped out of the gate to simulate the start of a race.

Saratoga Race Course

Open daily July 29-Sept. 7, except Tuesdays

Location 267 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs, 584-6200.

Admission $3 grandstand, $5 clubhouse; children under 12 free; reserved seating sold separately. Travers Day $5 grandstand, $10 clubhouse.

Parking $10 per car at the trackside and $5 across the street at the Oklahoma Training Track. General parking is free.

Racing Nine or 10 races a day; pari-mutuel wagering on every race.

First Race Post Time is at 1 PM (except Travers Day, Aug. 29, when it’s noon.)

Major Stakes Races The Alabama Stakes (Aug. 22); The Travers (Aug. 29); The Woodward (Sept. 5).

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