Sublime Grease Monkeys

Voice Card  -  Volume 17  -  Stuart Card Number 3  -  Sun, Dec 2, 1990 12:21 PM

This is a response to VC 16 Paul 4 ("But would it last?")...

This is a reply to Paul, who asked about the "Mechanics" of artists' colonies. These types of places (Yaddo in upstate New York; MadDowell in New Hampshire; The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; Ucross in Wyoming; Djerassi in California; etc.) are places where writers and composers and visual artists can go to work on their "work" away from the hustle bustle, hurley burley of their "everyday" lives. Most of these places offer a place to work, a place to sleep and board. Most of them are free or ask for a small fee to supplement the cost of caring and feeding for artists. The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, where I went this past summer, asked for a fee of around $10 a day, which my university paid.

All of these places tend to be extremely competitive to get into for a "stay." The problem is to accomodate as many artists as possible while also allowing them a reasonable period of "time" (there's that "real time" again) in which to get some work done. That and the fact that most people can't afford to take years off, or even six months, necessitates that most artists' colony stays are for around a month, though I have heard of some people staying at colonies for as long as three months, and I have known people who have stayed for as little as two weeks. Since so many artists make their living as teachers, the summer vacation months are the most competitive times with regards to getting into these places as a resident.

I should also add a point about suffering here, since that seems to be on some of our member's minds these days. Just because some of the physical needs of artists are taken care of in these places, it doesn't necessarily mean that they leave their "suffering" at the gates of the colony grounds when they come in and pick it up again when they leave at the end of their month-long stay. If you had that impression, it's erroneous. I had hoped that by this time our discussions on artists and suffering had dispelled the idea that artists need to have material deprivations in order to "do" their art.