Saratoga, move over: painted canoes may be in the works for Lake George

LAKE GEORGE - A flurry of fancifully painted canoes could be on display throughout Lake George Village as soon as this summer, if a municipal trustee's brainstorm is realized.

Village Board Member Ray Perry is launching an effort to have canoe hulls painted, put on public display and competing in a contest, similar to how the Saratoga County Arts Council operates their "Horses Saratoga Style" public art competition every five years or so in downtown Saratoga Springs.

Perry said Monday night he is now seeking donations of canoes, presumably older, non-seaworthy hulls, for the competition.

Individuals or businesses who wish to donate a canoe for the project may call Perry at 668-0466, or leave a message for him at the Lake George Village Hall.

In Saratoga Springs, the "Horses Saratoga Style" 2007 contest attracted entries from artists across the state, Vermont, and Massachusetts, painting 34 fiberglass horses in varied whimsical ways. The contest has spawned T-shirts, posters, calendars and postcards. The displays helped "brand" Saratoga as a fun destination, Perry said, noting that other communities host similar promotions.

Brandon Vt. and Lexington, N.C. both have successful painted pig displays, and Bennington Vt. has its painted moose competition.

"A public art display like this can attract attention for the village and draw a lot of people here," he said, noting that the canoes could be displayed jutting out from storefronts or hanging from trees.

In Bennington, painted moose sculptures in Moosefest 2009 became a symbol of community friendship, according to the local chamber of commerce. Saratoga's street art displays were so popular the program included surrounding towns and the painted horses ended up on display in the Museum of Natural History in New York City.

This summer, 17 artist-decorated Adirondack Chairs were on display then auctioned off for chairity in August.

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