Social Question

gottamakeart's avatar

Artist Colonies: I've heard of them, but what are they really like?

Asked by gottamakeart (1323points) September 30th, 2009

so if it like a bunch of artists living together in a commune ? I’d like to know more.

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8 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Communes don’t last. They all eventually break down and they all go their separate ways.

aprilsimnel's avatar

It seems to me that they’re better when they’re temporary retreats, like Yaddo. Here’s a listing of where you might find such retreats, if you’re interested.

Permanent ones seem to turn into some weird hothouse drama incestuous stuff where everyone’s demons erupt and wreak havoc and then they all have to get away from each other for their own sanity. Or maybe I just think they do from reading too much Vanity Fair and Spy as a kid.

YARNLADY's avatar

In my experience, the ones that are successful are very similar to many elderly communities, where people move in and move out from time to time, and all generally share a common interest.

noodle_poodle's avatar

sounds like fun but I bet it would be god awful…I am an artist myself and I know for a fact most of us are lazy and think we are to special to get on with boring stuff

gailcalled's avatar

We have two within spitting distance here. They provide a retreat, privacy, comfort and meals for those who want to focus solely on their art for a concentrated period of time. I think that dinner is the social time. Over the hill are ArtOmi and the MIllay Colony colony residencies (and there is Breadloaf in VT., for writers..sponsered by Middlebury College.)

Millay accepts writers, musicians and artists. Breadloaf is for writers only.

All these programs bear fruit. I am reading a wonderful novel now by a young author who did his work at ArtOmi

janbb's avatar

In many of the established artists’ or writers’ colonies such as Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony and Breadloaf you have to be accepted and are usually working on a project while there so I don’t think laziness is a big issue. As Gail says, the established ones seem to be very useful for the resident artists. .Both Truman Capote and Jula Alvarez, among many others, produced major works while resident at one or the other. Less formal, commune-like structures probably do only last a short time.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve never been to an artist’s colony myself, but I have a friend who seems to go from colony to colony. She’s away several months out of the year doing this. She says it is wonderful. Of course, she doesn’t have to pay for it, since she get grants or scholarships or whatever to pay for it.

She says that it is wonderful to have the peace to just focus on work. Her work is composing. It’s also nice to have evenings to share work with others, and to get some feedback about it. The mixture of arts seems to be inspiring to her. The community is also fun. She made it sound like something I wish I could do. Maybe when the kids have fled the nest.

Since these things are temporary, it doesn’t seem like there’s much risk of it getting so incestuous that people are totally focussed on something other than work. It’s not like a commune. It really is a colony, I think. For the most part, anyway. I think that if you ever get a chance to stay in one for a week or a month or a summer or whatever, it would be a wonderful thing to do.

YARNLADY's avatar

The Taos Art Colony of Taos, New Mexico is an excellent example of a long term, still functioning colony, as is the art colony town on Jerome, Arizona and the town of Ashland, Oregon. Who could forget Carmel-By-the-Sea, an art colony that turned tourist town, as did Laguna Beach, California; where many artists still live and work. There are many other examples listed in the wikipedia article about them.

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