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We believe that students of all ages, backgrounds, identities, and abilities should have equal access to high-quality arts education and performance opportunities, including those who are new to an art form as well as experienced practitioners. That is why SPAC offers an array of free programs, workshops, and events each year at its state-of the art facilities. 

Festival of Young Artists

The Festival of Young Artists is a free community event and online gallery that is presented annually to celebrate the collaborative creativity of hundreds of the Capital Region’s brightest young actors, dancers, musicians, singers, poets, and visual artists.  

The landmark community event is a festival held at SPAC in late spring which includes pop-up performances, poetry slams, art shows, and a grand production on SPAC’s main stage. 

The curated, online gallery is launched in early spring to serve as a precursor to the live festival event and a platform for student artists to share their artistic visions and achievements with an expanded audience. The gallery remains online for approximately 10 months following the festival event.  

Check out the current online gallery and learn more about the live festival event! 

Visit the FOYA Online Gallery


Youth in Motion

Youth in Motion is an arts education summer program provided by SPAC in partnership with National Dance Institute (NDI). The 2-week program gives young people the opportunity to experience life-enhancing benefits through the art of dance.  SPAC and NDI believe in dance as an art form that should be accessible, appealing, and a powerful part of every child’s life. Our goal is to inspire and engage young people through immersion in the creative dance process, ultimately developing within them a stronger self-esteem and a desire for continued achievement.

Details about the program
  • 2-week intensive dance education program
  • For children ages 8-12
  • No prior dance experience is needed to participate and have a good time.
  • Dance classes are highly energetic, athletic, and joyful.
  • The culmination of this program is a celebratory performance at SPAC!

NYCB Children’s Auditions

Each spring, local students are invited to audition for the opportunity to perform alongside New York City Ballet members on SPAC’s historic stage. The number of students needed, ability levels, and age range changes each year depending on the specific ballet that will be performed that summer. Past ballets that gave young dancers a chance to shine include: Coppèlia, Mozartiana, The Firebird, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Auditions are virtual for the 2023 NYCB production of George Balanchine’s “The Firebird” at SPAC. Video submissions are due by March 31st!

Learn more and submit your audition video here


“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”
-Parent Testimonial 

Throughout the year, we strive to bring as many opportunities as possible for students of all ages to meet face-to-face with renowned professional artists who are leaders in their art form. Opportunities range from open discussions with the artists to immersive classes, allowing students the invaluable opportunity to cultivate their craft alongside their idols and mentors. 

View previous Masterclass guests

Ani Kavafian 
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet 
Bill T. Jones  
Hannibal Lokumbe 
Hubbard Street Dance Company 
Johannes Moser  
Lar Lubovitch dance company  
Martha Graham Dance Company 
Michael Torke  
National Ballet of Canada 
New York City Ballet 
The Philadelphia Orchestra  
Time for Three 
Twyla Tharp 
Wu Han  
Yo-Yo Ma

PlayIN with Philadelphia Orchestra

“As a teacher, I was thrilled for this inspirational and memorable event for my students!”
-Local Music Teacher 

Every summer, the PlayIN invites local musicians of all ages and abilities to sit on our stage, side-by-side professional musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra for a collaborative music-making event.  Each year, a specific instrument type or family of instruments is selected to participate, and music is provided for advance preparation.  

In addition to members of the orchestra, past PlayIN’s have included special guest appearances by: Yo-Yo Ma, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Marin Alsop, and Kensho Watanabe.  

Young Artist Series

We offer numerous opportunities for students to celebrate their artistic achievements at our state-of-the-art venue, from intimate, pre-concert performances on the Charles R. Wood Stage to full-scale events on our Amphitheater Stage. 

The Young Artist Series on the Charles R. Wood Stage presents 30-minute performances that begin one hour before the start of select classical events during the SPAC summer season. Each performance features solo and group performances by talented young artists from local youth organizations such as Luzerne Music Center, the New York State Summer School of the Arts, the Empire State Youth Orchestra’s CHIME program, The Music Studio, and Saratoga Children’s Theatre. We look forward to future performances with fantastic lineups! 

Are you a leader of a local youth ensemble who is interested in performing at SPAC as part of our Young Artist Series? Contact Us

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