Caroga Arts Collective is embarking on the Sherman’s Legacy Campaign to revitalize and reimagine Sherman’s Park and Myhill into an Adirondack vacation destination where music, arts, community, and culture flourish. In the first phase of this project, Caroga Arts Collective will create a state-of-the-art amphitheater at Sherman’s Park and a year-round artists’ residential lodge at Myhill.
Caroga Arts Collective was formed, in part, to address the need in Fulton County, New York for economic stimulus and increased access to the arts. The Covid-19 pandemic and associated mental health crisis have only increased the need for the healing power of the arts. Caroga Arts Collective believes that by creating a unique destination for artists, audience goers, and art enthusiasts in Caroga, there will be an increased demand for housing, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, retail stores, and all the necessary ancillary services, thus helping spark the next golden era for this Adirondack town.
To serve this population and bring the arts back to the area, Caroga Arts Collective needs a year-round, efficient, and flexible facility. Currently, Caroga Arts Collective is able to attract world-class performers and instructors for its events and programs but does not have the necessary rehearsal facilities, performance venue, or housing to adequately support their needs. Certain restrictions of the current Sherman’s Park performance spaces cause challenges and risks to the performer and production crew, including but not limited to: the lack of a backstage area which leads to instruments being exposed to humid and wet conditions that could cause severe damage; water leaks on stage that warrant a stop in the performance; lack of storage and space for high-end sound equipment; visual limitations between performer and audience member; acoustical inadequacies for highest level performer and audience experience; and space limitations, which restrict artistic programming to certain sized groups and repertoire selection.
There is also a need for increased accommodations in the Town of Caroga for the artists. Up until this point, members of the community have generously opened their homes to artists, and local hotels have donated rooms as they are available. While this has led to a strong relationship between the community and the visiting artists, Caroga Arts Collective is beginning to outgrow the capacity of its volunteers.
Following the donation of the Myhill and Sherman’s properties, the Caroga Arts Collective devised a dream for an interdisciplinary campus that stretches across the Town of Caroga. This campus would address the challenges mentioned above, meet its expanding programming needs, and aid in the production of high-quality, innovative artistic work to better serve the community. With this plan, Caroga Arts strives to cultivate an environment in which artists, visitors, and local residents and businesses will thrive.
The Sherman’s Legacy Campaign will support the first phase of this work, creating year-round rehearsal, performance, and administrative spaces and housing for artists.
The first step in realizing Caroga Arts Collective’s vision was to create a Master Plan focused on the goal of creating a world-class experience for guests and musicians; a place where artists and students come together to nurture their talents, and a place that gives back to the community. In 2020, the Caroga Arts Collective engaged Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture & Preservation, a nationally-recognized firm in the field, to devise a Master Plan for the restoration and redevelopment of Sherman’s Park. Simultaneously, a committee was established to assess the Myhill property and solidify plans for its future. Through the work of these two groups, it was decided the complete redevelopment of the two properties into a cohesive campus, would be broken down into phases.
During phase one, the focus of the Sherman’s Legacy Campaign, Caroga Arts Collective will build an amphitheater at Sherman’s Park that provides superb acoustics and will accommodate an 80-person orchestra. In addition to the stage itself, the structure will feature a green room, two private dressing rooms, dedicated storage spaces, and a climate-controlled piano room. It will also include a large screen for film viewing, creating the potential for a film festival. The orientation of the stage house is designed to provide optimum views of both the water and the performers.
At Myhill, Caroga Arts Collective will construct a lodge that will include eight bedrooms, four baths, a large wing, and a basement. The plan will provide needed living space, practice space, dining, kitchen, bedrooms, administrative workspace, rehearsal/performance space, and more.
Once the first phase of the project is complete, Caroga Arts Collective plans to restore the main building at Sherman’s Park into a year-round home for music, dining, community events, classrooms, dressing rooms, and rehearsal spaces, and tiered seating will be added for the amphitheater. The original dance hall portion of the building will become a jazz club, and the open wrap-around porch will be restored allowing a connection with the lake and the outdoor music venue. To help Sherman’s Park become the center of the Caroga Lake community, Caroga Arts Collective also plans to create a boardwalk along the lakefront and docks that will allow easy access to those arriving by water. The carousel is being restored, and the former bumper car pavilion will be relocated across Mead Creek and repurposed for use as an outdoor classroom and picnic pavilion along with a playground area.
At Myhill, small cottages will be constructed throughout the property to house additional artists, and a memorial garden will be added in honor of the original donors of the property. This garden will serve as a place for reflection as well as
a secluded rehearsal and performance space.
Once all phases of work are complete at Sherman’s Park and Myhill, Caroga Arts Collective hopes to develop a walking/bike trail that will create a connection between the two sites. This trail will directly impact the experience of both visitors and community members as they will have a safe and picturesque way to travel between two parts of town, currently only accessible by walking on the state highway. Close attention is also being given to the sustainable impact on the surrounding lake environment.
What Will It Cost?
Phase one of the Master Plan is dedicated to the construction of the amphitheater and artists’ residence at Myhill, and is estimated to cost five million dollars. Funding for phase one will come from a combination of government agency grants, private foundations, and our community of supporters. Great progress has already been made toward this goal. Caroga Arts Collective was awarded $1 million by New York State Council on the Arts and was one of only two organizations to receive
the maximum grant amount. The grant will support the building of the amphitheater. Once these structures are complete, Caroga Arts Collective believes it will be able to raise its national profile and reach new funding sources to support the rest of the project.
How You Can Help
The future gleams brightly on the Town of Caroga, Sherman’s Park, and Myhill. For many, the reimagining of Sherman’s Park and Myhill comes from a place of nostalgia and the desire to leave a legacy for future generations. This legacy will allow our children, grandchildren, and beyond to create their own fond memories at Sherman’s Park and Myhill through Caroga Arts Collective.
We hope you will consider joining Caroga Arts Collective with your own legacy gift. Every gift helps to build a legacy and makes a difference in reaching our goal. Together, we will
reimagine the Caroga experience through the power of the arts.
Every gift made up to $10,000 per household will be matched by our generous donors Darla and Brad Dake, making your donation worth twice as much. A household, in this instance, is defined by people who currently reside at your address. If your children are no longer living with you, they are considered separate households and qualify for the match independently. Business gifts will be matched to $10,000 as well.
If you are interested in making a pledge in support of the Sherman’s Legacy Campaign, please follow the link below and then return your completed form.
If you are interested in making a gift, you can either complete the online payment form below or by mailing a check to Caroga Arts Collective at PO Box 1048, Caroga Lake, NY 12032.
Thank you for your support of Caroga Arts Collective and your interest in the Sherman’s Legacy Campaign. Should you have any questions, please reach out to Judy Simon, Director of Development, at email@example.com.