Prattsville Art Center and Residency

Prattsville Art Center and Residency

Funding Received: 2013
Prattsville, NY
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 30, 2014

The New Year began with a polar ice storm, frosty temperatures accompanied by a wind chill of -20 degrees, and entire bales of hay blowing off of moving trucks and blocking roads. Although we lost our carpenter for several days—his second job is delivering heating oil to emergency customers—construction of the new interior at the Art Center is continuing on schedule. Thankfully, the 1840s building that houses the Center had just been insulated. Many of us learned from the flood that insulation is a modern invention, and there is debate about whether to insulate historic buildings, since some consider this a violation of period architecture. Everyone is thankful at this moment that the Art Center decided to bend the rules and opt for warmth. A donated pellet stove comes to us from our Program Assistant Michelle, whose brother-in-law lost his home to foreclosure. This is typical of our town where struggles are ongoing, and everyone looks for silver linings whenever possible.

Recent Wins
-- I have just registered to speak about the Prattsville Art Center and Residency at The New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Denver, and at the American Planning Association in Atlanta about creative placemaking in rural small town development. I am excited to put my slide presentation together!

-- Had a great conversation with Art Writer Marcia Thompson about our work in Prattsville. She will be publishing an article online soon after speaking with some of our residents and board members.

-- We have new neighbors! A young couple from Brooklyn just bought an inn in the neighboring town of West Kill. We look forward to housing site visitors there when we invite funders to come and see our progress later this year, and they are thinking of inviting artists in residence to stay during off seasons.

It is really a gift to share the thoughts and experiences of local residents on Facebook. Although city dwellers are moving on to Instagram and Twitter, in rural areas Facebook still rules. In daily posts I mix artwork and ideas from artists all over the world with the images and posts from Prattsville. The locals love Mike Kelley and Yayoi Kusama, and artists are amazed by photos of pink tractors and cows curled up on car hoods for warmth. This space has created a virtual world where the concerns of rural and urban America come together. It is an amazing model of what I call the Rural Avant-Garde. We hope it goes viral!