The photo to the left is the main house of the Millay Colony for the Arts, where the shared kitchen, living room, library, offices, dark room, laundry room and 2 artists studios (one of which I was in) are located. If you're interested, here are the rest of the photos of the Millay Colony Ground.
Millay Poetry Trail and the Millay Estate grounds. When I walked the poetry trail, I was mainly interested in recording Hermit Thrushes. There was one day when I heard them as I walked off the road onto the trail, and as I pulled out my recorder and walked deeper into the woods, they had disappeared. Drats, I thought! However, I decided to sing to them, and after a few minutes, they started singing back to me. Wow, I had never had that happen before, that was thrilling! If you walked off of the trail, circled back a little bit, you would come across this...
Vincent's Gin Bottle Pile
Vincent is what Edna St Vincent Millay preferred to be called, and her pile of gin bottles and other old cans were in an area off of the trail. It was like being on a scavenger hunt, walking over tiny streams of water, ducking under branches, at times sinking into mud...and then...there they were. They have been there since before the 1950's. The folks who maintain the estate have left them there for the rest of us to hunt down.
Austerlitz, NY, where the colony is located, not far from Chatham, is a beautiful area, nestled in the BeBe State Forest, about 15 minutes from Tanglewood, with lots of artists hidden down winding roads or sometimes right on the main highway.
I thought the location was perfect for exploring, meeting interesting people, hearing music, seeing art, and having some wonderful food in town. I was there for 3 1/2 weeks, and spent most of the time working, but would take a day every week to explore the area. I kept a record of all the places I visited and there were 14 new places that I went to. That seems like a lot, but many of these places were only 15 minutes away...Hudson NY, and Athens, NY being the furthest I traveled to the south, (about 40 -60 minutes)and New Lebanon being the furthest I traveled to the north (about 25 minutes).
I went to the Hudson Music Festival to hear the young guitarist, and son of one of my colleagues at the New School, Jesse Statman, do a solo set, and then to the Hudson Jazz Workshop, to hear another New School colleague and great jazz pianist, Armen Donelian, along with saxophonist and co-leader Marc Mommaas, the wonderful guitarist and New School colleague Vic Juris, and the workshop participants. It's also where I met John Sergenian, who told me about the big band charts of Jaki Byard...which our big band will now be performing June 13th at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair. I called Susan Brink about the workshop event, and she came down to film it which you can see here. The photo above is of BeBe State Forest...the colony is on the other side of the mountain that I am standing on (behind me).
Tanglewood! Heard the incredible pianist Ursula Oppens one morning and then went back to the New Music Festival and ran into one of my fellow MacDowell Colony composers, Andrew Norman, whose piece "drip blip sparkle spin glint glide glow float flop chop pop shatter splash"
was being performed that evening-what a nice surprise!
Going into Chatham was always a nice little break in the day, especially on the weekends. It's not very big, but there are some interesting used book stores, places to eat, a movie theater, a very cool store called "American Pie" which had everything from fanciful kitchen doodads, to cards, journals, clothing, jewelry, toys, and CANDY!...the kind we used to buy back in the day when it was a penny or a nickle a piece (you know that's not the price now ;-).
Taconic Sculpture Park & Gallery. When you drive up the Taconic parkway, just before you get to the Chatham exit, you can see some of his sculpture up on the hill to your right. I followed the signs to his place and was met by his wife, who is from IOWA! So we sat down and had a little get to know each other session in the shade of the trees, and soon after Roy appeared. I was the only one around so I was able to spend a little time with them and lots of time roaming the grounds. You can see more of that here.
His sculptures are either marble, or steel and cement, like this on in the photo on the right. That one is so big, that there's a huge ladder behind the head so that he can go up and make repairs. His marble work is beautiful, and walking around the grounds I was surrounded by mythic images and felt transported to another time.
This jem was found by my dear friend Dennis Connors, who came up to do some filming one day...the Circle Museum...about 15 minutes down the road from the colony. I hadn't traveled south on Rt 22, so I didn't know it existed until Dennis (who was traveling north on Rt 22) asked me about it. I went over a couple of times to check out the sculptures and talk with the artist Bijan.
Norman Rockwell Museum. My father was a big fan of Norman's and I have several framed prints of Norman's paintings that hung in my parents house. The photo on the left is a of Norman's painting "Do Unto Others"...just beautiful. it sits in his studio, which originally was in Stockbridge, Mass, only a few minutes away...and moved to the grounds of the museum. If you have never been there, I highly recommend going. You will see all of his paintings, his covers for the Saturday Evening Post, and other exhibitions as well. The day I went, with friend Susan in tow, was the same day of the earthquake that was centered near Washington, DC and felt up and down the east coast. Susan and I didn't feel it at the museum, but the artists at the colony said they did. You can see more photos here.
Once again, i would like to thank the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation for naming me a Creative Fellow at the Millay Arts Colony, and making this residency possible, and all of the great staff at the Millay Arts Colony, Calliope and especially chef Donna!