STEEPLEBUSH (Spirea Tomentosa) GROWING ON THE MEADOW AT STEEPLETOP
MISSION: To nurture and promote the vitality of the arts by supporting artists with rural retreats and workshops, and to support students, our artists-to-be, with a range of programs and mentorships. In all that we do, the goal is to encourage creative intensity and exploration while fostering community among artists from every background and at every stage of their career.
Founded in 1973 and located on the former home of poet/activist Edna St. Vincent Millay, the Millay Colony for the Arts is a nonprofit organization that offers multidisciplinary artists residencies on site and in the community. Located in the Hudson Valley, nestled against the Berkshire foothills of Austerlitz, New York, our sylvan seven acres border Vincent’s house and gardens (maintained by the Millay Society, a separate nonprofit) and the beautiful Harvey Mountain State Forest. Artists in residence enjoy inspirational walks along shaded trails and lush meadows fragrant with wild thyme, flowers and blueberries.
To date, we have hosted 3,000 artists from around the country and around the world: sharing the experience of “working alone together” our cohorts begin the process of creative collaboration almost immediately, sharing insights and thoughts related to their daily studio process and practice delicious over communal dinners. Friendships formed while in residence continue long past departure and often spark professional collaborations as well as life-long networking opportunities.
in addition, we offer workshops, place Teaching Artist residencies in the schools in partnership with classroom specialists (our “Poetry in Translation” program focused on ESL and ELL learners is a smash hit with the Bangladeshi population and their English teachers at Hudson City MS/HS!) and are developing a summer residency placing sculptors on local CSA farms to better connect with our rural neighbors and introduce community-based public art experiences.
Our Wintertide Rustic Retreat and Steepletop Residencies allow us to host a wide community of creators to enjoy the “Millay experience.”
Built in 1926 by Vincent and her husband Eugene from one of the classic kits designed by Sears & Roebuck, it was renovated by Norma in 1980. Rustically lovely and beloved by our alumni, studios allow for intense concentration while comfortable bedrooms are cool in the summer and cozy in the winter: there are four bedrooms, four studios, two bathrooms, a small kitchenette and an alumni library.
Completed in 1997, our Main Building is an early example of universal ADA-design. It houses administrative staff offices as well as shared living, kitchen and dining spaces, along with a B&W darkroom and workstation (with computer and printer). The Speinson Suite features a large studio, two bedrooms and bathroom, allowing us to welcome artists who are in collaboration and/or those in need of a caregiver during their residency. The McClennan/Hope Suite features a Yamaha U1 upright piano, a bedroom and bath.
The Main Building also has two libraries: the Nancy Graves Memorial Library was donated by the acclaimed sculptor (who was also an alumna of Vassar); the Alumni Collection contains publications from past residents.