Upcoming exhibitions scheduled to take place at the Upstate Artists Guild in Albany include “Occupy UAG” in January and “Call of the Wild” in February, but as it turns out, those shows might never get the call.
The six-year-old, volunteer-operated, storefront gallery at 247 Lark Street is four months overdue in paying its $1,200-a-month rent, and the landlord notified UAG last week that legal action had been set in motion. The nonprofit art gallery is facing possible eviction at the end of December. The gallery is also behind in its other bills.
“The Upstate Artists Guild is a not-for-profit community arts organization fueled entirely by donated time and money – a collaboration of hard-working and single-minded volunteers,” the organization states on its website. “We have become known as a center for arts in Albany and a unifying force among the wealth of Upstate New York’s arts. We now reach out to the community for support to keep us here on Lark Street and ensure continued growth and support for your local arts.”
“We need to generate a continuous flow of money from as many sources as possible so that our organization can continue to keep a roof over its head,” UAG president Rebecca Schoonmaker Finnen wrote this week on the UAG website. “We hope that this new fundraising appeal will provide us with the financial resources to get us back on track and earning funds into the future. We hereby challenge our individual members and community friends to take a pledge with us and contribute $500 over the next eight months.”
Albany’s Lark Street area has been something of a long-time hot-bed on the indie art gallery scene, spearheaded by the gone-but-not-forgotten Firlefanz Gallery (which closed in 2006 after a three-year run) and the Amrose Sable Gallery (which closed in 2009 after three years just off Lark on Hudson Avenue).
So the Upstate Artists Guild – which opened its doors in January, 2006 with an exhibition of artwork by the Student Art League of the College of Saint Rose – has already outlived its predecessors by several years.
The question is, how much longer it can survive?
From 12noon til 5pm on Saturday (December 10), the Lark Street BID is hosting its annual “Winter Wonderlark” celebration – which includes the sixth annual Santa Speedo Sprint. If you’re visiting Lark Street on Saturday, please stop by UAG to see how you can help save a valuable grassroots arts organization.
Steve Barnes’ story at The Times Union