SPAC Stories

Renewal and Beauty

When Saratoga Performing Arts Center originally planned a 55th performance season in summer 2020, Executive Director Elizabeth Sobol was already thinking about the ways SPAC was part of an ecosystem embracing its home in a community that had grown from the mineral springs running through it.

City and state had come together to protect and preserve those springs in the early twentieth century, creating the Saratoga Reservation — now Spa State Park.

In the 1960s, SPAC emerged as the city ‘looked to the future’ with an emphasis on ‘culture and education.’ Once again, renewal drew inspiration from the natural setting. City and state again collaborated, this time to build an acoustically magnificent open-air performing arts space and program dedicated to performance, education and appreciation in the heart of the park.

Field Horne (l) and Elizabeth Sobol (r)
January 23, 2020

In 2020, Sobol wondered how SPAC’s records could reveal the stories of renewal and appreciation of the beauties of the natural world, performing arts and community. In what way could SPAC share its stories — from founding to present — with its audience?

As the intended 2020 season of live performances by classical and popular musicians, dancers and theater companies was reimagined in the context of a global response to the COVID-19 virus, Sobol turned to social media to invite SPAC’s community to look for “the light of interconnectedness–sparked by beauty.” As individuals responded their response to nature (local or global) and beauty, the SPAC archive uncovers stories of tradition and innovation, community, and collaboration, that resonate with Sobol’s call and might bring home how renewal and beauty are an ongoing, forever part of the Center’s DNA.

SPAC “Sparked by Beauty” Facebook group, April 2020