By: Sandi Mulconry / Group M Communications

Actress Laura Austin, founder and artistic director of the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, will lead “Conversations with Judy,” an up close and personal discussion with Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Judy Collins, at the Skaneateles Library from 1 to 3 p.m. July 30. Later in the evening, Collins will perform at a concert at Stella Maris Retreat Center. Both events are sponsored by the Skaneateles Area Arts Council (SKARTS).

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During the free public event, Collins will have a book signing for her book, “Singing Lessons,” which includes a musical CD inside. Her CD “Paradise” will also be for sale. In “Singing Lessons,” Collins reflects on her life and career after her son, Clark’s, suicide in 1992 and offers comfort to other survivors of personal tragedies.

The interviewer, Laura Austin, has distinguished herself in the theater and arts. Under her direction, the Redhouse Arts Center has hosted more than 300 events in theater, film, visual art and music. Over the last four seasons, Austin has overseen the production of 16 plays, where she assumed responsibility for casting, commissioning, directing, acting, promoting and fund-raising. Austin’s career has encompassed television and film work in Los Angeles, off-Broadway, and regional theater work throughout the United States and abroad.

The Skaneateles resident has been an adjunct professor of drama in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and is an active member of the Screen Actors Guild. Her extensive study includes work at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, the Hartford Conservatory, Nikolais Louis Dance Theatre, Second City, Howard Fine Studios and Trinity College, where she earned the President’s Fellowship Award in Theatre and Dance.

SKARTS board member Heather Hawkins is chairing the event. Pre-registration is required; to register, go to

About the Skaneateles Area Arts Council

The mission of the Arts Council is to celebrate the visual and performing arts by creating an environment where cultural activity thrives in our community. The Arts Council presents cultural programming and issues community support grants to artists and arts organizations in the Skaneateles area. Winners of the 2011 Skaneateles Area Arts Council grants are: Auburn Public Theater, Becky Flannigan, Khoros Performing Arts Company for Kids, Joanna Manring’s Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce, Skaneateles Figure Skating Club, Skaneateles Historical Society and Symphony Syracuse.

The Skaneateles Area Arts Council is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization. To contact the Arts Council, call (315) 685-2414.

For more information, contact:
Pat Conole –, 315-685-0936
Heather Hawkins –, 315-569-4511