Arts Center Staff
George Cordes, General & Artistic Director
George has enjoyed an almost 30-year career as a singer and actor with opera houses and theaters around the world. He and his wife, pianist Elizabeth Cordes, moved to the Adirondacks in 2006. Liz is middle/high school choral director in Tupper Lake, where she and George co-direct the musicals and plays of the Red & Black Players. They have also directed or performed with many of the music and theatre organizations in the High Peaks region and founded their own company, High Peaks Opera, in 2009. George served as Artistic Director of the Arts Center from 2016-2018, during which time he programmed and produced three seasons of the Adirondack Lakes Summer Theatre Festival and the Weekend Concert Series. In 2019, George took a hiatus to perform, teach, and direct, but he returned in 2020, when he conceived of and developed our online ALCA-Seltzer Series in response to pandemic restrictions. He is thrilled to be General & Artistic Director at the AC for the 2021 season and beyond! Please contact George with any programming inquiries.
Fred Balzac, Decentralization Grant Coordinator
Fred joined the Arts Center in March 2020 as the Decentralization (DEC) Grant Coordinator for the ADK Quad-County DEC Grant Program, administered by the New York State Council on the Arts. He has extensive experience as a nonprofit/community organizer, journalist, grant writer, media coordinator/copywriter, and medical writer-editor. Since moving to the Adirondacks in 1993, Fred has been involved with numerous arts and cultural organizations in the region, including as a playwright, actor, director, theatrical producer, workshop leader, arts reporter, and film-festival/screening programmer/curator. His work has won or shared awards in journalism, essay writing, playwriting, and community service. Among the successful grant applications he has written are two DEC Grants, including an Arts Education grant for a 2019 playwriting workshop he led at Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay. Fred earned a B.A. in English from Columbia College, Columbia University and a Multimedia Journalism Certificate from SUNY Plattsburgh.
Please contact Fred to learn more about arts education and community arts grants available through NYSCA's DEC Grant Program!
Laura Smith, Gallery Manager
Laura Smith grew up on a family farm in New Hampshire. In the mid 90’s she moved to Indian Lake to raise her family. Soon after she began her relationship with the Arts Center. Over the years she has held many positions, including, pre-school assistant, costume designer, and coordinator of our summer arts camp for children. Laura is proud and excited to be promoted to this new position in the fall of 2018, and to work with our community and gallery artists. Please contact Laura for inquiries about gallery exhibits at the Arts Center.
Dave Naone, Technical & Production Manager
Dave Naone (Technical & Production Manager) has been a lifelong “Dacker”, Tupper Lake resident, and a 34-year entertainment professional. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Entertainment Lighting Design in 1987 from California Institute of the Arts and has toured with many bands over his career. In 2000, Dave made the transition from touring professional to sales manager selling the gear that he once used. For the past 10 years, Dave has worked with George and his wife, Liz, at the Tupper Lake Middle High School assisting them to bring the plays and musicals they produce to life and looks forward to doing that in the coming years.
Arts Center Board
President: Joanna Pine
Vice President: Mary Leach
Treasurer: Todd Friebel
Secretary: Penny Harr
Trustees: Frances Armstrong, Jennifer Bine, Karen Butters, Carolyn DeVito, David Oestreicher, Kathleen Peartree
Trustees Emeriti: Pat Benton, Polly Fagan, Sherry Nemmers, Donna Pohl, Ardie Russell, Jamie Strader, Tony Zazula
Arts Center Junior Board
Andy Collins, Lena Giordano, Sadie Gray, Harrison Hall, Evelyn Harr, Alexis Jackson,
Ruby Lewin, Gage Morris, Julia Schemp, Anna Strader, Jackson Strader