Two named to share leadership at Yaddo
Writer, photographer are former guest artists
SARATOGA SPRINGS The artists’ retreat Yaddo will be led by two former guest artists.
At Saturday’s annual meeting of the Corporation of Yaddo, author A.M. Homes and photographer Susan Unterberg were elected co-chairs, the first time in the group’s history the job has been shared. They will take over for Peter C. Gould, who guided Yaddo’s board for about a decade.
The election also marks the first time that the board has ever been led by former guest artists.
Homes, who recently won the 2013 International Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel “May We Be Forgiven,” also is known for the best-selling memoir “The Mistress’s Daughter” and has created original content for the HBO, FX and CBS television networks. Unterberg, who is based in New York City, has work in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Jewish Museum.
Gould said in a statement it was a pleasure to help lead such an important cultural asset and that he was confident in the talented and energetic hands of his successors. He predicted they would guide Yaddo to its full potential.
Founded in 1900 by poet and playwright Katrina Trask and husband Spencer, Yaddo was one of the country’s first artist communities and has hosted more than 6,500 artists.
Reflecting on her own experience at Yaddo, Homes said in a statement, “Without Yaddo I wouldn’t exist as a writer.”
“Yaddo gives artists the increasingly rare gift of a time and place to do one’s work, suspended from the intrusive buzz of the every day,” she said. “I am forever indebted.”
Unterberg said Yaddo served as a place to work, but also allowed for cross-pollination of arts.
“In addition, Yaddo has given me the opportunity to make so many wonderful friends,” she added in a statement.
Yaddo President Elaina Richardson noted the leadership change comes at a promising period in Yaddo’s history, which will require an active and engaged board.
Earlier this year, Yaddo was declared a National Historic Landmark. It received the recognition because of its historic property and because of its role in nurturing thousands of artists who have had a defining impact on American culture.
This summer, the 2,900-square-foot Greenhouse Studios opened on the property, replacing a building that was less than half as big.
The $800,000 enterprise created one working studio designed to accommodate choreographers and performance artists and one for general use, along with two living spaces and a communal kitchen.
It was the first purpose-built structure at Yaddo grounds in more than five decades.