Paul Smith’s College gears up for fourth annual SAM Fest

Mar 17, 2017 | News

Paul Smith’s College will hold a daylong festival of music, art and TED-style science talks on April 22 at the Paul Smith’s College VIC.

The Science, Art and Music Festival, or SAM Fest, is now in its fourth year. It will feature a mix of performances by North Country musicians and poets; science-oriented talks by faculty, students and guest speakers; exhibits of works by local artists; and a world premier showing of “Hidden Heritage,” a new documentary about the ancient human presence in the Adirondacks.

“The previous SAM Fests were great successes,” said Curt Stager, professor of natural sciences at Paul Smith’s College and one of the event’s organizers. “This year’s lineup is just as exciting.”

The theme of the upcoming event is “Connections.” Special guests will include composer Glenn McClure, who will use music to enhance a scientific study of lightning around the world; Amy Kretser of North Country Association for the Visually Impaired, who will show how people with impaired sight can connect with others through the visual arts; and Canadian Climate Stories Project organizer Jason Davis, who will explore human connections to nature through improvisations on jazz bass.

Another highlight of the festival will be the TED-like talks by Paul Smith’s College students. “We are not officially linked to the TED organization, but we like their style,” Stager said. “Independent versions of short, high-impact TED-talks are supposed to use the label TED-x, but as Adirondackers, we figure TED-axe works better. I’m especially looking forward to the student presentations on connections between people and the natural world, which will blend science and the arts in creative ways for a wide audience.”

The event will begin at 10 a.m. with a March for Science from the campus entrance to the VIC. North Country musicians, including Peggy Lynn, Dan Berggren and Jamie Savage, will perform between the talks, and there will be a wide range of displays and activities by visual artists from the North Country, as well as live fiddle music during lunch hour by student Tyler Dezago and friends and a performance by the Bobcat Steppers. Refreshments prepared by Paul Smith’s College students and faculty will be on sale during the lunch hour, as well.

SAM Fest runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

For a full schedule of events and more information about the festival, visit or call Stager at 518-327-6342.

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