SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College announces the opening of Lover Earth: Art and Ecosexuality, a student-curated online exhibition that encourages viewers to think critically about their bodies and the planet. The exhibition is presented on the Tang website.
Organized by Caroline Coxe ’20, Lover Earth draws on the ideas of Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, collaborative performance artists who coined the term “ecosexuality” to describe an erotic connection to nature. Instead of “Mother Earth,” they opt to use the phrase “Lover Earth” to denote a reciprocal relationship between humans and Earth.
Through a selection of paintings, prints, photographs, and moving images, Lover Earth recontextualizes artworks from the Tang collection—many being shown by the Museum for the first time—to create a diverse ecology that celebrates nature, sexuality, and the ways in which these ideas intersect.
Franklin Williams’s A Beautiful Dark Moment, 1973, combines acrylic paint, twine, yarn, and fabric to create abstract shapes and hairy tendrils that conflate human, animal, and plant sexual anatomy. Frank Moore and Jim Self’s video Beehive, 1985, explores the sexuality of honeybees through dance; Paula Wilson's video Salty & Fresh pays homage to feminine creativity by telling the creation myth of an artwork while alluding to fertility and birth as they symbolically relate to bodies of water.
Other artists with work on view in the exhibition are Steven Arnold, Atong Atem, Dorothy Dehner, Naomi Fisher, Flor Garduño, Corita Kent, Ana Mendieta, John O'Reilly, Olivia Parker, Clare Richardson, and Dasha Shishkin.
Lover Earth continues the Museum’s tradition of Skidmore College students curating their own exhibitions. Coxe, a studio art major, is the 2019–20 Eleanor Linder Winter ’45 Intern, and the exhibition is the capstone project of her internship.
Go to: tang.skidmore.edu.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Gulph Creek Hotels is seeking approval from the city of Saratoga Springs to renovate the Hilton Garden Inn, three months after purchasing the 112-room hotel.
Exterior renovations are part of $2 million in proposed upgrades planned by the suburban Philadelphia hotel management company.
Gulph Creek purchased the 21-year-old Hilton Garden Inn for $9.75 million in February. The South Broadway hotel was acquired from BRE Select Hotels Properties LLC, part of Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX). The deal closed Feb. 20.
The new owners have filed an application with the Saratoga Springs Design Review Commission seeking an architectural review of plans to replace the front entrance, repaint the hotel and make other exterior improvements at the 2.75-acre property. Gulph Creek is working on the project with architect Kiprian Fedetz of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Gulph Creek executives said in February that the Hilton Garden Inn's occupancy had been strong, but the company purchased it seeing opportunities for improvement. Less than a month after the purchase, the Covid-19 pandemic started spreading across New York state, forcing thousands of businesses to shut down, dramatically limiting travel.
Hotel occupancy in Saratoga County fell by 38.5% in March 2020, compared to the same period the previous year.
The city is preparing for its busiest season; however, this summer's turnout remains in question since the Saratoga Race Course plans to run without permitting fans at the track. Last year, more than 1 million people attended the races.
Gulph Creek owns a half-dozen hotels and manages 20 others in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The company secured a $9.6 million mortgage through Truist Bank of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when it purchased the Saratoga Springs hotel. Approximately $2 million of that total was part of a construction loan to cover renovations.
Gulph Creek principal Derek Sylvester said in February that the new owners also plan to upgrade the bar and reconfigure the lobby. The 112 rooms already had been renovated over the past two years.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Developer Mark Rekucki is about to invest $12.4 million to construct three warehouses totaling 186,000 square feet at his 200-acre Synergy Tech Park site in Clifton Park.
The founder of M.J. Properties of Clifton Park will build the warehouse-and-office buildings on speculation after receiving interest from a string of logistics and shipping companies since introducing plans to develop a technology park off Route 9 and Kinns Road.
Rekucki is working with Saratoga Economic Development Corp. to apply for mortgage, sales and property tax incentives through the Clifton Park Industrial Development Agency to help control the cost of the overall project. If approved, Rekucki would save $1.5 million in taxes over 10 years, including $470,000 in sales tax breaks.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On May 26, 2020, the Saratoga Central Catholic's Varsity and Junior Varsity Baseball Teams took part in a virtual 5K run to benefit Kelly's Angels Inc. The Saints were scheduled to have a baseball tournament to support Kelly's Angels, but had to cancel due to COVID-19. During a Zoom meeting, the varsity players wanted to do one last project as a team to support the organization, and decided on a 5K charity run. The teams received pledges from family and friends and raised a total of $2,305 for Kelly's Angels Inc. The mantra...Saints helping Angels.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Skidmore College community came together online to celebrate the creativity and resilience of the Class of 2020, whose final semester was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thousands of graduates, students, family members, alumni and friends from across the globe watched as Skidmore conferred 647 degrees in an unprecedented virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 30. The event was broadcast live from the Surrey-Williamson Inn on Skidmore’s campus, and streamed on Skidmore’s website and social media accounts.
The tribute included many of the usual components of a traditional Commencement ceremony — a touching rendition of Skidmore’s alma mater performed by Emma Berkowitz ’20 and Lindsay Walsh ’20; welcoming remarks by Jinan Al-Busaidi ’20, senior class president; a speech by faculty speaker Jennifer C. Mueller; and greetings from President Philip A. Glotzbach, who invited graduates to rise and move their tassels from right to left, symbolizing the conferring of degrees.
But this year was also unique: Like educational institutions across the United States and the world, the College suddenly switched to online learning this spring. During the Commencement ceremony, graduates gathered with friends and family members in smaller groups as part of global social distancing efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
Rather than walk across the stage at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), graduates, many wearing caps and gowns at home, were recognized during a live program. Diplomas were sent out by mail.
Praising the resilience of the Class of 2020, President Glotzbach noted there was no playbook for the pandemic, nor for life.
“We all had to make it up as we went along — rather like trying to keep an airplane flying while making emergency repairs. But you rose to the challenge. Along with so many people at our College, you displayed flexibility, inventiveness, perseverance and creativity,” the president told graduates. “Yours is arguably one of the most resilient classes in the College’s history — perhaps the most resilient one.”
BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa Central School District Board of Education recently approved a proposed budget of $93,258,635 for the 2020-2021 school year.
The adopted budget reflects a 1.3% budget-to-budget increase, and a 3.53% tax levy increase, with an estimated average of 1.2% tax rate increase across the district (actual tax rates are set in August). The approximate tax impact is a $52 increase for the average single family home assessed at $253,710.
Voters in the district are encouraged to learn more about the proposed school budget by reviewing the information on the website or in the district newsletter, which is mailed to all district residences. In addition, residents may call the district’s budget hotline with specific questions for the Assistant Superintendent for Business at 518-884-7195, ext. 1320. Questions and comments may also be sent via the comments section on the district website.
The annual statewide School Budget Vote and Board of Education Elections is being held by absentee ballot only. All registered voters will be receiving information on the process in the mail in early June. Ballots must be received in the mail, or in the ballot drop box, which will be placed at the entrance of the District Office at 70 Malta Avenue, by 5 p.m. on June 9, 2020.
There are two full term, three year, board seats up for election this year, commencing in July 2020. Interested voters will select from the following candidates: Matthew Dreher, Rebekah Deuel-Jones, Susan Filburn, Lillian McCarthy, Susan Moore, David Newell, and Katie Whittemore. Board of Education candidates have provided video statements that can be reviewed on the district website. Additional candidate information is also being posted by the Saratoga County League of Women Voters.
Please see the district newsletter for additional information, visit the budget pages of the district website at www.bscsd.org/Page/13104 or call 518-884-7195 ext. 1320 for additional information.
Food for Life Sessions Provide Education and Recipes to Reduce Chronic Health Conditions
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Local plant-based cooking and nutrition instructor Deb Czech is teaming up with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to bring online classes to Capital Region residents. Food for Life classes help people improve their health through a plant-based diet.
Czech is the owner of Planted Platter of Saratoga Springs, a business providing plant-based programs to individuals, workplaces, and food service operations.
Due to COVID-19, Food for Life classes are now being offered online for the first time. Czech and her fellow Food for Life instructors across the United States and abroad will teach participants how plant-based diets can help achieve weight loss and prevent and sometimes reverse chronic diseases, including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Planted Platter’s summer class schedule will include both day and evening sessions.
“These Food for Life classes will not only teach people the benefits of plant-based eating, but also show them how to put together simple, affordable meals. We will discuss strategies to shift to eating more plant foods, while respecting everyone’s need to make changes at their own pace,” says Czech. “With the current issues surrounding the country’s meat supply and interest in reducing COVID-19 risks associated with underlying health conditions, people are especially curious right now about plant-based meal options.”
Each class covers important nutrition topics with short videos from the Physicians Committee’s medical team followed by Czech teaching students how they can put this information into practice in delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with underlying health conditions—such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity—make up the majority of COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Plant-based diets are scientifically proven to prevent and even reverse many of those diseases.
“We’re all looking for ways to stay as healthy as we can during this unprecedented time,” says Susan Levin, MS, RD, director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee. “Food for Life classes give people the tools they need to stay healthy. From the comfort of their homes, participants will learn about topics including foods that support the immune system, diabetes prevention and reversal, heart health, and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as tips on planning a budget-friendly menu with pantry staples.”
Czech became a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee in 2019 and has been a plant-based eater and cook since 2012.
Designed by physicians, nurses, and registered dietitians, Food for Life is an award-winning nutrition education and cooking class program that provides an innovative approach to diet-related chronic diseases. Since 2001, Food for Life has been a pioneer in delivering hands-on information about the direct role of plant-based nutrition in health and disease prevention to communities around the world.
In June, a one-hour “lunch and learn” series will occur on Tuesdays (June 9, 16, 23) from 12-1 p.m. In both June and July, on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 6-8 p.m., classes will cover topics such as boosting immunity and fighting cancer (July 6-7), healthy heart and blood pressure (June 8-9 or July 13-14), and diabetes and weight control (June 15-16 or July 20-21).
SARATOGA SPRINGS — “Recent days remind us that we all need to speak when we see injustice,” city Mayor Meg Kelly told the City Council June 2. “The events in Minneapolis last week that saw a black man pleading for his life under the knee of an officer – while several other officers either assisted or stood by – can only happen again if each of us forget our outrage,” Kelly said. “All of us must galvanize our current feelings and demand change in our institutions that allows such racial discrimination. I know that Saratoga Springs is a city to lead this.”
Protests have been staged every day this week opposite City Hall on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. On June 1, city Police Chief Shane Crooks and a handful of members of the city police department joined protesters gathered at the location.
“I do believe our police department is the leader of this charge. They went out there, they took a knee with the protesters,” Mayor Kelly said. “Our policemen and policewomen really know our community and they work really hard at all relations.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The New York Racing Association opened for training at both the Oklahoma Training Track and Saratoga Race Course this week, coinciding with the return to racing at Belmont Park.
Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, however, both NYRA track locations will undergo big changes. The Belmont Park spring/summer meet will be held without spectators in attendance and much the same is anticipated for the Saratoga meet, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday, July 16 and run through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7.
The Oklahoma facility was originally slated to open April 15. NYRA says after consultations with the NYSGC and state and local public health officials, it has implemented a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols designed to protect and mitigate risk for employees, horsemen, backstretch workers and the Saratoga community.
The Oklahoma Training Track and Whitney Viewing Stand will be closed to owners and the public. Access will be restricted to essential personnel duly licensed by NYRA and the New York State Gaming Commission.
All personnel working at the Oklahoma Training Track must test negative for COVID-19 or test positive for the antibodies for COVID-19. This applies to both local personnel as well as those arriving from other regions.
All personnel licensed and approved to be on the property will be required to complete a daily health screening and temperature check conducted by trained EMTs. Face masks or coverings and adherence to strict social distancing measures will be mandatory at all times. Masks and personal protective equipment will be provided.