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A festival for every artist

MoHu highlights artistic talents from all over the Capital District

Peter Leue’s large-scale Erector Set at the Marion Royael Gallery in Beacon. Leue broke the piece down just days before the MoHu Fest to turn it into “Crossroads of the Imagination.”

Peter Leue’s large-scale Erector Set at the Marion Royael Gallery in Beacon. Leue broke the piece down just days before the MoHu Fest to turn it into “Crossroads of the Imagination.”

Leue took part in the inaugural MoHu Festival last year as well, opening his studio to visitors. That’s what Sharon Crute is doing this year, showcasing her paintings at her gallery on Beekman Street in Saratoga Springs.

“It’s a nice way to be able to enjoy interacting with customers,” Crute said.

She does plenty of that over the summer, when she sets up shop at Saratoga Racecourse as part of the Artist’s Village. Crute married a horse trainer, and she fell in love with the animals as well.

“Thoroughbreds, and racing in particular, are beautiful,” Crute said. “They are extreme athletes.”

Though she worked for many years as an assistant to her husband, he always encouraged her to paint, renting a tack room where she could work. Crute eventually turned to painting full time, and horses are her chief subjects. She said she tries to capture the animals’ “beauty and power” by working movement and direction into her paintings. There’s no bigger compliment than when people tell her they have to step to the side when looking at her pictures because it’s as if the horses are coming right at them.

Formerly of Florida, Crute and her husband have long been coming to the area for track season. Last year, they decided to see how they liked living here full time. They decided to give it one year.

“It’s been wonderful,” Crute said. “We’re both very happy here. We’re definitely going to stay.”

Like Crute, Kat Koppett is a transplant to the Capital District, arriving after stints in San Francisco and New York City, both of which have very cohesive arts communities. This area, she felt, was different.

“There’s so much here, but it’s not integrated,” she said. “It isn’t really maximizing the value of everything.”

Her husband, Michael Burns, who, with Koppett cofounded the Mop and Bucket Company, had noticed the same thing. So when MoHu launched last year, both were enthusiastic participants. MopCo teamed up with Capital Repertory Theater, putting on free shows in the theater’s cafe area before the curtain lifted on the evening’s play.

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