Articles about the Maine country inn writing contest, in which you can win Center Lovell Inn, have been swirling around the Internet since last week, giving hopeful writers the opportunity to own and take over a picturesque bed-and-breakfast. However, there is a similar opportunity available for artists just a few hours north of NYC – one that does not involve writing a 200-word essay or a $125 application fee.
Hezzie and the team at Woodside in Troy, NY are looking for a creative individual(s) to take over their artist residency program. “We are giving the artist residency program to a new person/team,” Woodside’s Hezzie explains. “We will still be next door at the second building putting together and running an Exhibition Program – to be launched in August 2015. They are separate programs & buildings but I imagine we will work together in some synergistic capacity. We will be available as a resource, if needed, as well.” The details and instructions on how to apply are at the bottom of this article.
The land, which Hezzie and the rest of the team refer to as “Woodside,” is part of a National Register Historic Site. The site includes about 100 acres of land – full of rivers, swimming holes, a swampy lake, an area for food gardens, a chicken house, plus the opportunity to become involved with a neighboring 9-acre farm. Although the area is lush with nature, it is also just a short ride into the town of Troy – the bus stop is actually right at the end of Woodside’s driveway. Hezzie describes Troy as “the perfect city”, complete with a farmers market, wine bar, antique and junk shops, DIY bike shop, great bars, arts venues, galleries, vegan bakery and much more.
Hezzie’s involvement in the residency program began some years ago, after relocating from Oakland. “I moved to the Northeast in search of a similar opportunity,” explains Hezzie. “After my partner Adam Hatch and I got priced out of a sale of a former power substation we were going to convert in the East Bay. I then had a space in the Berkshires for awhile but shortly thereafter found these amazing stone church buildings for sale in Troy, NY. Troy had been on my radar for awhile and I was always fascinated with the intensity of the activist and creative community there. Well, I toured the buildings, and immediately fell in love. I was already imagining the empty halls humming with activity and conversation and creation. It was a perfect fit. A few months later we moved in and got to work. It took us about 6 months of hard labor to renovate the place. We built bathrooms and bedrooms, and studios and gutted the kitchen and basement. We put in gardens and cleared some woods and started hosting artist brunches. In 2010 we started our first full year of residency programming and the applications came
The residency program focuses on emerging artists of all disciplines and backgrounds – about 100 artists come to Woodside a year from all over the world, some staying for 2 weeks and others up to 2 months. The program allows artist visitors to fully immerse themselves in their art, collaborate with others and to have time to revitalize and develop. An amazing detail – everyone in the program lives and works in the historical Victorian stone church.
“The world is crazy. Life is short. We don’t always have the time to concentrate on what we want to be doing, on what connects us with our inner creative nature and drive,” Hezzie describes when asked why artist residencies are so important. “Our day-to-day too often gets bogged down with catching the train, punching the time clock, obsessing about ourselves and our life, paying bills, grabbing something to eat as we head off to yoga, just making sure we survive on a regular basis. Residencies reverse all this – well maybe there is still yoga and eating – but it provides a point of centeredness where artists can selfishly concentrate on who they are and what they want, or need, to create. I have always been humbled by the whole process – the hours of dedication and discussion and exploration and late late studio nights. It’s amazing to see how much work is produced, to see its evolution, to see new friendships and collaborations form.”
When asked what they hope the residency will become as it grows, although a tough question to answer, Hezzie just hopes that whoever takes it over has a vision of their own: “To imagine something that is specific to what inspires them,” Hezzie says. “We have had our own thoughts and impact and now its time to see what someone else can do with the raw materials. It can be anything from a quaint artists retreat to a hotbed of intellectual and boundary pushing dialog and creation. I’d certainly fancy the latter, but it needs to be something that truly resonates with whomever we decide to entrust to take it over. That’s the exciting thing really – being able to pass the baton to the next iteration.”
In order to apply, you must have:
Vision and follow-through
Die-hard work ethic
Experience managing people and/or projects
A serious dedication to art – either as an active practice or as a facilitator and arts lover
A rigorous, intelligent, and informed approach to art-making
In exchange you will receive:
The infrastructure of an existing program including use of buildings, land, marketing, administrative systems, volunteer base etc
A budget of approximately $80,000 to run this part of the program which includes payment of all bills, expenses, and program costs (including salary)
Also, you can choose to live on site or off, depending on your personal needs. There are living quarters available and also semi-private studio spaces.
If this sounds like a complete dream to you please send your cover letter and resume to Hezzie [at] cactroy [dot] org. You can also find out more here.