Artist on the Mohawk River, Niskayuna, N.Y."The Arts! Culture, Commerce, and the Canal" offers a wealth of creative possibilities Waterford, N.Y. - The Erie Canalway Heritage Corridor Commission has released a new online guide to arts sites within the National Heritage Corridor at http://www.eriecanalway.org/.  The guide offers references for more than 60 arts venues. It also reveals how New York's canals influenced the development of various artistic traditions, including painting, photography, crafts, and theater.   "This new on line guide will open up the history of the Erie Canal and the rich character of Upstate New York for the local community and tourists alike," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "The history and recreation along the Erie Canal make Upstate New York a great place to live, work and raise a family. The world class museums, theaters and sites throughout the corridor attract tourists to the area. The online guide will help promote arts and culture in the Erie Canalway Corridor and ensure easy access to one of New York's landmark historical wonders."   The guide includes four main sections: art museums and galleries, place-based artistic traditions, historic theaters, and artistic picks of places artists may want to visit for inspiration. Visitors can print the guide directly from the website or access it via smart phone or other devices while traveling by boat, bike, or car.   "The guide is a wonderful resource that makes it easy to find well-known sites and hidden treasures. As visitors go from one site to the next they are sure to discover how art, nature and history tell interconnected stories about the canal and our region," said Diane Forsberg, Deputy Director & Chief Curator at The Arkell Museum at Canajoharie. "Cultural and historic sites throughout the National Heritage Corridor are part of a shining ‘string of pearls' across the region," said Judy Schmidt-Dean, Chair of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission. A link from the arts pages to regional maps is designed to help people plan a visit. Many of the arts sites are within walking distance of canal harbors and visitor centers. The project grew from a Heritage-in-Arts Initiative spearheaded by the Commission in 2008. Artists and community leaders came together to find ways to foster a creative economy along the Canalway Corridor.  An initial inventory conducted in collaboration with the New York Folklore Society became the basis for the online guide. Access The Arts! guide at http://www.eriecanalway.org/explore_things-to-do_art.php

#### Contact: Jean Mackay, 518-237-7000, ext 222 jean_mackay@partner.nps.gov