The Amazing Creative Industries of CapNY!

Melissa Auf Der Maur Basilica Hudson
Melissa auf der Maur, founder of Basilica Hudson.

The Creative Industries are the heart of CapNY.

They’re what makes us such an amazing place to live. And, it’s a huge economic driver, with billions of dollars in earnings.

That’s Melissa auf der Maur, bassist for Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, Founder, Basilica Hudson. She’s one of the beacons of CapNY’s Creative Industries. Photo courtesy Proctors Collaborative.

Vic Christopher of Donna’s and little pecks, in Troy. Photo courtesy Albany Business Review.

All around CapNY, you’ll find artists, designers, brewers, manufacturers, performers, filmmakers and more, creating products and projects that are filled with vision and bursting with energy. But, creatives aren’t just here to make things interesting and fun. The Creative Industries are also the fourth largest employment sector in the Capital Region. So, creative people and businesses are absolutely vital to the economy of the entire Capital Region.

Here are the sectors that make up the Creative Industries. We’ve included are a few examples of people and businesses from each sector. But these examples are SO far from being the complete list. There are literally thousands of creative workers and businesses in the Capital Region, so use this as a starting point to discover all that’s here! And, visit the Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy website to learn more about CapNY’s artists, makers and amazingly creative businesses!

Visual Arts & Handmade Products

Albany Center Gallery

Included In This Sector: Galleries. Painters, sculptors, and visual artists of every sort. Craftspeople, including ceramicists, jewelry makers.

Where You’ll Find Visual Arts & Handmade Products: You’ll find thriving pockets of visual artists, boutiques and galleries in every corner of the region. Here are some great places to start your search: Beekman Street Arts District in Saratoga Springs; Warren Street in Hudson, Main Street in Catksill; Glens Falls Arts District in — you got it — Glens Falls; the Monument Square area in Troy, anchored by the Arts Center for the Capital Region; Albany Center Gallery in Albany.

Performing Arts

SPAC lawn by Chris Lee. Crowds at night.

SPAC in summertime!

Included In This Sector: Music and performance venues. Musicians, actors, dancers and performance artists.

Where You’ll Find Performing Arts: We’ve got amazing Historic Theaters including Proctors, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, and the Palace Theater; outdoor dance, symphonies and music at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC); concerts at the Times Union Center in Albany.

Museums & Preservation

The Breathing Lights Project, sponsored by the Bloomberg Foundation, addressed vacancy and preservation issues in the cities of Albany, Schectady and Troy

Included In This Sector: Arts & cultural museums. Heritage & preservation societies. Historic sites & museums. Libraries.

We’ve got such a rich history and culture in the Capital Region. Thankfully, there are a myriad of historical societies and preservation groups working to ensure that our the stories are told and buildings are preserved.

Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College.

Plus, our museums are world class. The Albany Institute of History and Art is one of the oldest museums in the United States! The New York State History Museum tells the story of our natural and cultural diversity of our state. The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College delivers eclectic, eye-popping exhibits and events. And, find Picasso and Rembrandt at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls.

Culinary Arts & Agriculture

Wm. Farmer and Sons, a fantastic farm-to-table restaurant in Hudson

Included In This Sector: Farm-to-table-style restaurants, farmers, breweries, distilleries, cideries, wineries, food processors (such as cheese makers, bakers, etc.), farmers markets.

With 3,500 farms in our eight counties, it’s no wonder that our region is bursting with farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants. Plus, artisanal food production reigns supreme, with everything from cheese makers like Argyle Cheese Farmer to the Beekman 1802 offices in Schenectady. And, there are over 100 craft beverages producers in CapNY! Therefore, you’re happily never far from a handmade cocktail or local brew — check our guide.


Digifabshop in Hudson designs and manufactures custom architectural interiors.

Included In This Sector: Graphic design services, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, industrial design services, printing, other specialized design.


Overit Media in Albany. Photo courtesy Albany Business Review.

Included In This Sector: Motion picture and video industries, sound recording, radio and television broadcasting, internet publishing, newspapers, advertising, bookstores, books and periodical publishers, PR agencies, video game developers, independent writers.

This exciting sector is growing in CapNY, with our thriving video game industry, local TV and newspapers, and many agencies that are forging national reputations for excellence. A generation of young filmmakers are also making moves, with hopes of positioning CapNY as a viable alternative to bigger markets. Check out Youth FX for a shining example of next-gen talent development in historically underserved neighborhoods, right here in Albany. They’re nothing short of amazing.

Written by: Maureen Sager

Maureen Sager is the Executive Director of the Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy, a not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and growing the Creative Industries in the 8-county Capital Region. 

Before moving upstate in 2004, Maureen was Executive Producer / Site Director of, the world’s largest internet site for parents and preschoolers, and had marketing roles at several MTV Networks internet brands. Other entertainment industry experience includes positions at Scholastic Inc., PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, and National Film Board of Canada.