Caroga Arts Collective Inc.

The mission of the Caroga Arts Collective is to reimagine the Adirondack experience through the power of the arts. Our principal objectives are to: present a broad spectrum of artists in an accessible and engaging environment; enrich the quality and enjoyment of life through diverse artistic, cultural, and educational experiences; deepen appreciation for the area and the environment as a natural partner for creative growth; and promote Caroga as a unique tourism destination for generations to come.

Caroga Arts Collective is a multi-disciplinary arts organization founded in the Town of Caroga, N.Y. with the purpose of increasing access to the arts while acting as an economic and tourism driver. Caroga Arts uses its accessible and intimate venue to present an eclectic group of artists, which includes those early in their careers, those who have become national household names, and those with ties to our Southern Adirondack community. Caroga Arts is largely volunteer-run, with only one full-time and four part-time staff members. Additional seasonal staff and interns are added during the summer months. The Board of Directors is made up of 15 members who are diverse in their geographic location and experience.

The origins of the organization began in 2012 when Kyle Price and his friends presented a week of free concerts, ambitiously calling themselves the Caroga Lake Music Festival (CLMF). During the first five seasons, CLMF grew from one to five weeks, presenting concerts at a variety of local venues. Until 2015, this was funded solely by generous donations made during the concerts. In 2016, to accommodate its growth, the organization gained not-for-profit status as Caroga Arts Collective. Today, Caroga Arts presents over 50 performances and community events annually bringing world-class artists from various genres of music, visual art, poetry, and film to the Southern Adirondacks. The Caroga Lake Music Festival alone brings approximately 150 artists to the Town of Caroga each summer. The goal of the Festival is to increase the accessibility to music of all genres while also creating an environment where the artists can be embedded directly into the community. The Festival itself includes more than 30 concerts at Sherman’s Park and partnering venues in and around Fulton County, serving over 10,000 people. The pool of musicians includes GRAMMY-award winners as well as the leading instrumentalists, vocalists, and singer-songwriters from across the country, including members of the Cavani String Quartet, Seattle Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Silk Road Ensemble, and more. During their stay, the artists are housed and fed by members of the community and the Resident Artists teach in the Lessons and Ensemble Program (see below) and participate in the Kids Carousel Concerts. These opportunities allow the artists to gain a deep understanding and appreciation of the community, thus fostering a sense of belonging that encourages them to return year after year. This pool of artists is broken into two groups, resident, and guest artists. The resident artists stay with the Festival for at least a week and receive a $500 weekly stipend, meals, lodging, and some travel support. The guest artists typically stay for one to three days to collaborate and perform with the resident artists. These artists are generally a part of a larger group and are the headliners of the Festival. As a result, their fees range from $2,000 to $25,000, which is largely covered via individual and corporate sponsorships. While in residence, all artists are encouraged to interact and connect with the residents of our Caroga Lake community and extend our sincere appreciation for their generous contributions to Caroga Arts.

Our Lessons and Ensemble Program was launched in 2022 and takes place during the Caroga Lake Music Festival. This program invites students of all ages to take part in general music education and instrument-specific instruction led by the Resident Artists. Caroga Arts offers scholarships and is able to offer highly discounted instrument rentals to ensure the program is accessible to all. During the 2023-24 school year, Caroga Arts plans to take this successful model and adapt it to an after-school program in partnership with Wheelerville Union Free School, a PreK-8 school in Caroga, and the Johnstown City School District. Providing access to arts education is especially important for Caroga Arts as there are currently no orchestra programs and a general lack of strong music education programs in Fulton County and the surrounding school districts.

Caroga Arts is committed to reflecting the members of its community in the programming. The primary audiences are residents of Fulton County, with 13.6% of the population living below the poverty line and 91% of the population identifying as white, non-Hispanic. The Town of Caroga, itself is one of the most economically depressed areas in the Adirondack State Park and New York State, with a year-round population of only 405. Rural arts organizations do not have the option of narrowing their target audience. We must serve everyone because nobody can be left out. Approximately 40-50% of Caroga Arts’ audience is from historically underrepresented communities, including a low-income population and people from geographically remote areas. Caroga, like many other Adirondack towns, sees a nearly doubling in its population during the summer months. The 2020 census showed that only 55% of the homes in the Adirondack state park are owner-occupied year-round. This trend, and the impact the pandemic had on the housing market, has driven prices beyond the means of as many as 80% of Adirondack residents. To serve everyone in the community, including both the year-round and summer residents, Caroga Arts presents a broad range of affordable programming so that anyone might find a welcoming entry point. Additionally, Caroga Arts presents many concerts at locations away from conventional concert halls including in parks, community centers, senior centers, schools, marinas, taverns, churches, and more. This change in venue makes classical music more accessible to those who might not have self-selected that type of programming and offers performances within minutes of where our audiences live. Once they have engaged with Caroga Arts, each participant is given the opportunity to safely engage with unfamiliar disciplines and forms and invest in the organization’s mission by contributing their time or treasure.

More recently, Caroga Arts has been expanding its programmatic calendar outside of the summer months. The organization has been able to accomplish this by presenting a series of residences over the last few years that have included performances, educational opportunities, and community outreach. In March 2022, for example, Caroga Arts hosted a one-week residency with the KASA Quartet, during which they presented concerts in New York City, Gloversville, Saratoga Springs, and Cobleskill. In 2021, during the pandemic, Caroga Arts experimented with virtual residencies in partnership with Wheelerville Union Free School. Students spent a semester collaborating with world-class artists like vocalist Cara Samantha from American Idol, choreographer Nancy Long from Utica Dance, and visual artist Martina Muller from Lightforms Art Center in preparation for a virtual performance of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.” The final film can be found here:

Partnerships with local and regional organizations have been critical to Caroga Arts’ success. Caroga Arts has been able to reach new audiences and provide unique and innovative programming as a result of its partnerships with the Paul Nigra Center, Sacandaga Valley Arts Network, Gloversville Library, The Glove Theater, Caroga Volunteer Fire Department, the Caroga Museum, Utica Dance, and more. The partnerships with both organizations and individuals are sometimes modest and sometimes monumental but always are critical to Caroga Arts’ mission.

Caroga Arts is also dedicated to creating a welcoming, inclusive, and physically accessible environment for audiences and artists. Caroga Arts attracts a high volume of seniors with sight, hearing, and mobility impairments, so sound clarity and projection along with good lighting are prioritized to ensure that all individuals feel comfortable at events. The performance venue at Sherman’s Park is ADA-compliant to ensure access for mobility-impaired artists and audience members. In recent years, Caroga Arts has also had the opportunity to present artists with visual impairment and other disabilities including Matthew Whitaker and Flame The Band. This inclusion has led members of those communities to attend events with greater frequency.


114 East Shore Road West, Caroga Lake, NY 12032, USA.

Organization Contact

Kyle Price 614-327-7060