Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Writers visit to the Vermont Studio Center

I had heard much about the Vermont Studio Center from fellow writers. When my husband and I were up in Burlington, Vermont, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit the small town of Johnson in the Green Mountains and see what the Vermont Studio Center was all about.

Weeks before, I contacted one of the administrators, Kate Westcott, to find out if we were welcome stop by and take a look around. She offered to give us a quicky visit, as July residents were leaving and August ones would be soon to arrive. But once we walked into the main office to meet her, she graciously gave us the grand tour of more than an hour of the lovely grounds and various buildings scattered around the local river and converted grain mill.

I had imagined that the colony was set out in the countryside, but The Vermont Studio Center is actually a series of existing buildings spread in close proximity throughout the town of Johnson that the organization bought up, restored or converted, and turned into artist and writer studios, sleeping quarters, dining areas and lounges. Its lecture hall was a building on the main street scheduled for teardown until the colony saved it.

The photo in the upper left-hand corner is of the Maverick Writing Studios, where resident writers spend their days writing in separate, private spaces. This building, in contrast to other vintage and restores structures was built from the ground up in recent years. Artists have long been part of the colony, but writers have only been accepted within the last decade or so.

The atmosphere at the place was also more social and close-knit than I had surmised. Most of the emphasis on the Vermont Studio Center is on younger visual artists, attracting residents from all over the world. It also seems to be a place where like-minded artistic guys and gals meet, fall in love and come back to marry on the grounds. Kate Westcott also serves as a licensed justice of the peace, and have wed many couples who were lovestruck there. While we were visiting, we noted a very attractive couple who had previously met at the studios getting ready for their wedding. Twenty and thirty-something visual artists, take note.

As for my husband and me, writers long married and yearning for the right environment to get our next books finished, I think we'd most likely prefer a quieter place where we might find more focus and fewer distractions. It is surely a wonderful place for visual artists to network, have a chance to exhibit their work during various onsite shows, and get valuable inspiration from one another. View a Vermont Studio Center You Tube. ◦

1 comment:


Thanks for your post. I was thinking the same thing about lots of young people meeting there, very funny!