Adirondack Folk School

by Karen LeBlanc

As a Design Tourist, I actively seek out attractions and destinations that preserve and promote the craft and heritage of artisans around the world. While flying out of the Albany International Airport, I discovered a small exhibit promoting The Adirondack Folk School

The installation was commissioned by the Albany International Airport Art & Culture Program and  it caught my attention for its handcrafted works and mission statement which read: “Our cultural memory is fragile so the school seeks to be a place of where artistic discovery meets history, sustainability and self-reliance.” 

 The iconic Adirondack chair often comes to mind when we think of craft from this region but the Adirondack’s artistic heritage encompasses an entire style that includes home furnishings, boats, and decor still found in cabins, lodges, and homes today throughout the region.

The Adirondack Folk School promotes and sustains Adirondack crafts by offering classes in the arts, crafts, and cultural heritage of the Adirondack region. The non-profit school resides in the former Town of Lake Luzerne town hall building and is located in Adirondack Park, a six-million-acre state park of protected land, on “the last free-flowing part” of the Hudson River just above Rockwell Falls in New York.

Local artisans, craftspeople, and volunteers teach more than 200 classes a year in subjects such as Adirondack chair building, twig and rustic furniture, caning, paddle making, birch bark basketry, fly tying, weaving, organic gardening, fiber arts, soap making, boat building, ceramic arts, and blacksmithing.

The Adirondack Folk School is on my must-see list of authentic experiences that connect travelers with local culture, cuisine, art and craft.  

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