The Paint and Palette Art Association, also known as the Paint and Palette Club, formed in 1963 to encourage and promote the visual arts in the Saranac Lake area.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 6, 1994

Paint and Palette Club holds 30th annual festival


Enterprise Staff Writer

SARANAC LAKE — The 30th annual Paint & Palette Festival is under way at the Harrietstown Town Hall, featuring the works of more than 50 artists.

Thirty years ago, the Paint & Palette Club formed when five local artisans began workshops under the direction of Sarah Joffe, Creta Chase, Yetta Rosenstein, Peg Hunt, Doris Richter and Ruth White met once a week to learn the art of painting.

The informal group met throughout the summer, receiving encouragement from Joffe along the way.

"You did this right, but it may be better if you tried this ...," Hunt remembered of her mentor's guidance. The very first art exhibit was held less than one year after the group began to meet. According to Mary Reely, current chairperson of the Paint & Palette Club, Jeanne DeMattos was instrumental in planning the exhibit.

"Jeanne was very much a part of us from the start. She was the one who pulled the first show together, business-wise," Reely said.

Thirty years ago, there were no limits on the number of entries each artist could exhibit.

"We brought in everything," Hunt said. "Six of us had pictures of the same still-life we were all working on — a blue vase — in the first show."

More than 20 artists from the area participated in the original showcase, at a time when art galleries were relatively non-existent in the Adirondacks. Members distributed flyers wherever they could, depending on who was going where.

"If someone was going to Old Forge, they took some posters," Hunt recalled. "It (the first show) was very successful. We sold a lot of paintings."

The group has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 30 years. Currently, the Paint & Palette Club has a core of about 20 members who meet regularly once a month, and attend workshops at various times throughout the year. What began as a group of local people now has members from Malone, Potsdam and Tupper Lake.

This year's show highlights the works of about 60 artists from around the area. Ken Wiley, professor of art at North Country Community College, has been in charge of arranging the art for display "for years and years," Reely said.

"We receive the works on Monday, and Ken starts then," Reely said. "He's finished by the opening reception on Wednesday. He even plans his vacations around the show. He really is the man of the hour!"

The Paint & Palette's annual show has been donating proceeds to worthy causes for years. The club raises money through artist entry fees plus a percentage of each work sold during the show. After deducting expenses such as printing flyers and renting the hall, the money is forwarded to the recipient Over the years, Hunt said, $39,000.57 has been donated.

This year, for the first time, two organizations will receive donations — the Getaway Youth Center and Meals on Wheels. Based on previous years, each group should receive $500 following the show.

In addition to the annual gift, the Paint & Palette Club contributes to various causes throughout the year. Recently, $400 for track lighting was donated to the Cantwell Community Room in the Saranac Lake Free Library. The Winter Carnival Committee has also received gifts from the club.

Also, awards are granted annually to students at NCCC and the Saranac Lake High School.

"It's nice to see that North Country Community College's 1976 award recipient is back in town. Sylvia Hough will be exhibiting her works," Reely noted.

These days, artists are limited to three entries for hanging and a portfolio of 15 works; all mediums are welcome. Among the items featured this year is a display of works by the original six members of the group. The show, which began Wednesday, is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday, and from 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday.