Mission & History
A New Beginning for an Old Building
The Adirondack Folk School (AFS) opened its doors for classes June 2010. Through the efforts of dozens of volunteers, the support of the Town of Lake Luzerne, NY, the Adirondack Community College and the Adirondack Museum of Blue Mountain Lake, NY (adkmuseum.org), a seed of an idea has become a reality!
AFS grew from an aspiration of town resident Jim Mandle to be proactive in finding ways to revitalize the historic downtown district of Lake Luzerne. After three years of attempts to attract businesses to the vacant former town hall building, Jim visited the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN, and returned with the idea of an Adirondack Folk School. With endless support and encouragement from the staff at North House, AFS opened its doors for our first classes on June 5, 2010. Our first summer saw AFS offering over 90 classes to nearly 300 students taught by 40 instructors.
In 2011 AFS grew, offering 160 classes to students from all over New York and numerous other states. Starting in April of 2011, through many generous donations, the new H.H.M. Pavilion was built. H.H.M., which stands for “Inspiring Hands, Heart & Mind”, is a new multi-purpose space allowing course offerings to be greatly increased in our children’s programs, blacksmithing, boatbuilding, and ceramics areas. An outdoor wood-fired baking oven was also built during the summer and the first Timber Framing class during the fall created a structure surrounding the new oven. With these new additions, the school held its first Music Weeks at the end of July and the first week of August.
From January 2012 to the present, we have added many new classes in all areas. The total number of yearly offerings have stayed at about 200 and we have welcomed additional new instructors who encouraged you to become a life-long learners.
What has been extraordinary to witness firsthand has been the outpouring of support from the local town’s people within our greater community, the elected officials of our local government, community college, and merchants – all willing to pitch in and see our seed “germinate”.
The former Town of Lake Luzerne town hall building was originally an Odd Fellows lodge built in the 30’s when first constructed. Through its history, the building already was once used as a school. It was used for elementary school classrooms around 1949.
Situated on the last free-flowing portion of the Hudson River from the headwaters at Lake Tear in the Clouds on Mount Marcy, high up in the High Peaks region of the Adirondack Park and just above the beautiful Rockwell Falls, the Adirondack Folk School is situated on Main Street.
This historic building now houses a number of class rooms for our Fiber Arts, Basketry, Woodworking, Woodcarving, Felting, Quilting, Fly Tying, Gourd Art, and more.
The multipurpose pavilion is now home to a highly acclaimed and nationally recognized blacksmithing program. Two additional timber frame structures have been built nearby and serve as examples for folks interested in learning about timber framing. The fire pit and amphitheater continue to provide a gathering place for many events.
Stop in for a visit, take a tour or better still take a class and experience this little gem for yourself.