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Ilyn Wong

November 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her

 Ilyn Wong

Every place I've ever spent time in exists in my mind as two separate images, like dual, side-by-side photographs in a stereoscope. The perceivable information in the images are exactly the same, but if one is a picture of a first impression, and the other a familiar setting, then the two couldn't be more different. I feel this way about cities I've lived in — places that I will have grown to know so well after years of walking along their sidewalks or sitting on their park benches, that it's almost shocking to think that they were once first impressions, strangers even. So while a week doesn't seem like a particularly long unit of time, my week at Baldwin felt so generative and stretched out, that somehow by the end, I found myself thinking about the cozy guesthouse and its magnificent grounds as a dear old friend.

I spent my week at Baldwin rewriting some poems and working on some drawings. I read books I had put off reading. I made a glorious fire every evening. I really enjoyed the solitude, even in moments when, unaccustomed to being so alone for so long, I found it a bit eerie. I also did a lot of imagining, particularly about the place — imagining what Baldwin is like in the dead of winter or in the glory of summer; imagining what it will be like once all the buildings have been converted into artist studios or cozy gathering places; imagining the rich ideas that it has hosted and will host. More than anything, though, I imagined the possibilities of a world in which more people were driven by the impetus to spread what they have, to support others in their endeavors, to hold the belief that art, generosity, and gratitude can change the world — much like Jacqueline has, and by extension, the whole Baldwin organization embodies.


Baldwin for the Arts is a public charity recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your contribution is deductible for federal income tax purposes as permitted by law.