I had the pleasure of talking with the new Executive Director at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) over a cup of tea at A New Leaf Coffee House this week in Lake Placid.

Before I divert to that conversation, I just want to mention that in addition to the fine selection of coffee and tea that A New Leaf has to offer, it is also brimming with art work for sale in a gallery-like setting. I find myself surrounded by outdoor photos of Michele Buck and the unique work of Lake Placid's Nip Rogers. While waiting for my appointment, I also tiptoe upstairs and stumble on a funky couch and a lovely old cash register.

OK, back on track. James Lemons arrives and we sit down for an energizing chat about the LPCA, arts in the North Country, and theatre in general. An hour flies by and I feel like we're old friends. I learn that James comes to Lake Placid from Texas by way of Florida where he was General Manager for quite a large theatre operation. They had just finished renovating a 100-year-old theatre when he headed north. As General Manager, James had his hand in a little of everything--from relations between state and local government and ticketing processes, to managing the 55 housing units located throughout the community.

James comes from a theatre background himself, with a concentration in directing. I ask what his vision is for the LPCA and he thoughtfully answers that he will be taking a regional arts approach by looking at the region as a whole and determining what will work and how to grow and partner. As luck would have it and by happy coincidence, one of James's mentors now runs the Adirondack Theatre Festival in Glens Falls which bodes well for collaboration in the greater Adirondack area.

But James cautions, "We don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater...We have lots of really good programs and we don't want to lose those programs that are working really well. We've identified market segments and places in which to enhance audience involvement...we want to reach more people in their 20's and 30's...we want to embrace Lake Placid as a whole...we want to partner and collaborate to get more people to the area."

He speaks about a special summer concert showcase of local musicians—local bands that have a strong following in the area—in which one ticket price would admit you to 3 or 4 band presentations. Another plan is for a Laugh Out Loud weekend featuring Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (founded by Amy Poehler of Saturday Night Live fame).

My taste buds are aroused by the next fund-raiser idea: A Progressive Dinner set inside various rooms in the LPCA featuring local restaurants and culminating with a one-man performance. This is slated for mid-May. It sounds like a great opportunity to see parts of the building that one doesn't ordinarily get to see unless you are taking a class or performing yourself AND sample some of the finest cuisine in town at the same time!

The LPCA summer season is all set and will be announced in a few short weeks, according to James. In the meantime, make sure to click through to the LPCA web site to learn more about the exciting events that are in store.

For more arts events in the Lake Placid region click through to the events web site.

Kathleen Recchia has been enjoying the arts in the Adirondacks for about 20 years—both as observer and participant (acting, directing, and producing). She also enjoys cross-country skiing, swimming, juggling, and hosting visitors to the area at her bed & breakfast in Jay.