As years go, 2016 was a painful one for artists. The loss of some visionary creative forces – more than we can name here but suffice it to say that Ziggy Stardust, Purple Rain and the Daptones are ringing in our ears as we think of the year outgoing. And it has been a year of increasing divisiveness and fear. Even on our little hilltop we have felt all this, mourned all this, and worked to respond with warmth and strength…to remind everyone of our unwavering commitment to artists, all artists from all places, and students. We waver not, dear reader. We are here.
The Millay Colony’s hilltop is evermore a haven and a sanctuary. In 2016, we welcomed 72 artists, including two collaborating groups of artists, from all over the country as well as overseas, to the Colony for creative residencies.
Barbara De Pirro made banana bread. Toby Altman flipped for the blueberry festival and local blueberry pie. Saad Haddad became the grillmaster with the mostest. We had trips to the pub, the local museums, the swimming holes. There were readings and open studios and there was much music. Our studios ring with the laughs, the long hours, the shared ideas, the ways people got to know one another. We are more and better for each and every artist who spent time with us this year.
And on top of all that, the amazing Melissa Febos and Colleen Kinder held full workshops where participants developed work, shared ideas and formed community.
Miranda Mellis and Clare Donato read at SOLAS for the Summer Solstice. Vt Hung, Jen Hyde, and Charif Shanahan read with local poet and friend Daniel Nester at the The Spotty Dog in Hudson in the height of summer. Keith Wilson and Malika Booker read at Cave Canem in autumn. We had parties in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Wo Chan worked with us to launch the 2017 edition of EDNA, our magazine featuring new work from residents, alumni and friends.
We were out and about, reader. We offered arts programs in four Columbia County school districts, working with more than 500 students and 50 teachers. We held professional development workshops and field trips and offered our very first arts education Open House.
We welcomed new member Jordan Dann to our to our Board of Directors. And we got our second prestigious grant from the Regional Economic Development Corporation in as many years.
We rocked it, really. And you, reader, are part of why and how we did so. By reading, by visiting, by supporting us. We thank you for being part of our year. In 2017, we will travel together with greater intentionality and greater commitment to one another. With that, we look forward to entering the year together.
Warmest New Year, the staff of The Millay Colony for the Arts