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Volume 2 – Art Night Provides Culture, Fun and Art for Schenectady

VOLUME 2 – MARCH 4th, 2010


SCHENECTADY – As more and more people stand up and take notice at the rebirth of downtown Schenectady, people come out to Art Night.

Art Night has become a staple in downtown Schenectady over the past few years. It provides local artists with a public outlet to reach out to the local community.

It also provides locals with a cultural event that not only adds to the all around experience of downtown Schenectady but also offers fun for the entire family.

As Schenectady continues to evolve the attendance at each Art Night continues to grow.

Locals can find another great thing to do in the revitalized downtown Schenectady scene.Locals have been coming out every 3rd Friday of each month to take in the art and culture of Art Night

In this edition of Fever Confidential we put the spotlight on Mitch Messmore a founder and organizer of Schenectady Art Night.

His efforts have helped bring culture and a family friendly environment to the downtown scene.

Fever Confidential had a chance to sit down with Mitch Messmore:

What inspired you to start Art Night?

I saw the great things happening through the arts in Albany with 1st Friday and I wanted to complement the Cultural Renaissance in the Capital Region with another event that people could go out to and enjoy for FREE. I made it a point to have it fall on the third Friday of the month, so it wouldn’t compete with 1st Friday Albany and Troy Night Out. Art Night is about community and growing the arts and businesses in the Capital Region.

Why Schenectady?

I was born and raised in Schenectady and I wanted to give something back to the city and try to make it into the place I always wished for in my youth. I think we are doing a pretty good job at it.

How has Art Night grown in the past few years?

When Art Night started we had a handful of venues and about 400 people come out for the event. Now we have, on average, over 20 venues and between 800 to 1200 people coming into Schenectady on a Friday night. We have even expanded outside of Downtown and the Stockade areas to Upper Union Street as well.

What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far regarding Art Night?

I don’t think I can pin down just one thing. We have had many accomplishments including: Showing “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the side of the old Center City building in downtown Schenectady during the holiday season; The free “Animalia” performance by C. Ryder Cooley on the main stage at Proctors; The world premier of John Sayles’ “Honeydripper” at Proctors; We coordinate Art Night in conjunction with Schenectady County’s SummerNight every year in July; An original multi-media performance that was written choreographed, scored, and VJ’ed by local artists and performed for free in the GE Theater. Just to name a few.

What artists have you become a fan of ( or your really impressed with) by seeing their work at an Art Night event?

There are so many…Where to start…I have recently had the honor to curate a show of paintings by Samson Contompasis. He’s not only a fantastic artist, but he is a visionary for the arts in the Capital Region. Another artist that has been on my radar for a while and will be showing his work during Art Night in June and July is James Juron. Is has talent way beyond his years.

What has impressed you most about the rebirth of Schenectady?

I have been impressed most by the artistic and entrepreneurial talent that has come out build a bigger better Schenectady.

What do you feel separates Schenectady from other cities in the 518?

Schenectady has a unique history and has been the birth place of many great inventions that have changed the world. Schenectady has also produced many great artists and works of art including: Ann B. Davis (Alice from the Brady Bunch), Robert Blood (Internationally rewound sculpture), Mickey Rourke (Actor), John Sayles (Film maker), Author Kurt Vonnegut lived in Schenectady while working for GE in the early 1950s. Many of his early books were written in and mention Schenectady.

If you were to add one venue/idea/event to the rebirth of Schenectady what would it be?

I have tons of ideas, but to start Art Night at Proctors will be hosting the 2010 Regional High School Juried Art Show in April, and for the third anniversary of Art Night in May we are going to have a Fashion Show in the GE Theater at Proctors. There are many other irons in the fire that will bring Art Night into every corner of Schenectady.

Where do you see Art Night in the next 5 years?

I do see Art Night Schenectady as one of the driving forces for the economic rebirth of Schenectady, and Art Night will be celebrated through the city. We already have a good start with venues in downtown Schenectady, the Historic Stockade, Union College, and Upper Union Street. Art Night has, and will, continue to bring new artists and businesses into the city.

Where do you see Schenectady in 2015?

I see Schenectady in the fore front of Green Energy through the efforts of GE’s renewable energy program. I also see the Capital Region (including Schenectady) as a new hub for the arts in New York State. We already getting world famous artists premiering new works here, in the Capital Region, and I foresee that trend growing 10 fold in 2015.

I also see as THE #1 resource for the arts and entertainment throughout the region.

————————– would like to thank Mitch Messmore for participating in this edition of Fever Confidential.


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