Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

January 04, 2022

Reynaldo Muniz | | 518-334-4288

New York State Parks Announces $20,000 Grant to Expand Saratoga Performing Arts School Impact

(Saratoga Springs, NY, January 4th, 2022) – The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation awarded a $20,000 grant to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for transportation and programming funding through New York State Connect Kids Program. Funding will help cover travel, program, and staffing costs for 40 students to attend the SPAC School of the Arts in its inaugural year. SPAC is partnering with The Schenectady Boys and Girls Clubs, Girls Incorporated, and the St. Catherine's Center for Children to reach children from underserved communities in the Capital Region.

"The Connect Kids to Parks program ensures that the outstanding educational experiences offered in Saratoga Spa State Park are accessible and affordable to kids throughout the area," said State Parks Regional Director Alane Ball-Chinian.

The multi-disciplinary SPAC School of the Arts focuses on providing an exploratory and joyful approach to music, dance, and theatre education for all age groups, physiques, and abilities. In addition, students are given invaluable opportunities to work with acclaimed professionals such as this year's visiting artist – presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco. The school operates out of the Lewis A. Swyer Studios, a state-of-the-art facility located in Saratoga Spa State Park.

"Our partnership with NYS Parks over the past 5 years has allowed SPAC to make transformative change on our physical campus," said SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol. "This wonderful collaboration brings transformative steps in furthering our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility."

The Connect-Kids-to-Parks Field Trip Grant Program (Connect Kids) is designed to connect students in New York State with nature and history. Since its inception, the program has served over 200,000 students and provided nearly 5,000 grants for field trips to state and federal parks, forests, historic sites, fish hatcheries and outdoor recreation areas. Eligible organizations include public schools; county, city, town or village youth bureaus; schools for the deaf and blind; and BOCES programs; and select not-for-profits providing after-school, extracurricular, and summer youth programs. For more information, visit:

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 78 million people annually.  For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.