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Baldwin Fellows

A Baldwin Fellowship consists of exclusive use of a private studio, and all accommodations anywhere from one week to four weeks.

Here are some of our fellows from seasons past.

Irene Chan (Ch'An Press)

March 2023, preferred pronouns: she/her

The snow was falling as I arrived and I started knitting grains of rice, four minutes a grain, one by one. Later in the week, I embroidered words in spy code on a Civil War jacket about a 16-year-old Chinese-American enslaved person who ran away to join and serve in the Union Army: a good connecting coincidence since this site was once owned by a U.S. revolutionary war spy. I printed a version of my new graphic story ‘Fish Out of Water’ and lived with it. I felt an instant connection to this special place and this sustained as I worked on these three projects. My time was productive and restorative. And now I have received the gift of renewed energy. Thank you, Jacqueline Woodson and everyone at BFTA.

Keeonna Harris

March 2023, preferred pronouns: she/her

I arrived at Baldwin, in the midst of trying to complete an intense chapter. My day to day is usually a bit hectic, caring for my family. The property, the land, the house swaddled me up in love; it allowed me to have a safe space to sit with some heavy emotions. During my stay I journaled a lot and was able to tap into the emotions that were preventing me from writing. I left Baldwin feeling lighter and freer than I’ve felt in a very long time. Many thanks to Jacqueline and the whole team for providing such an amazing space to nurture US.

Daniel B. Summerhill

February 2023, preferred pronouns: he/him/his

I arrived at Baldwin at a crossroad, in several ways. I knew I wanted to reset, but I also knew that I wanted to take advantage of the space that had been cultivated. With a family home, my life usually evolves in circadian fashion. While at Baldwin, it was good to disrupt that. Doing so allowed me to actualize the direction for two different projects, both inspired by James Baldwin. The first of which, a collection of essays that dissects a futile relationship with Blackness and America as well as a few other cultural interrogations. I also worked on my third poetry collection, which has forced me to stretch the most. Baldwin fostered that growth. I wrote more in one week than I had in the past several years. When I wrote, I wrote, and when I didn't, I wrote in other ways. I was still or walking, or watching the deer graze the property every evening. When the font and text returned, I returned to the page. There was no schedule for anything, a feat which required me to unlearn a deep-seeded production mentality.

What is not pictured here are the many dance breaks throughout the property, including an extended session in the yoga studio to Cleo Sol’s album “Mother.” Among the writing, much writing, there was dancing. For what is a revolution without dancing? To Jacqueline and the whole team, thank you.

Nay Saysourinho

January 2023, preferred pronouns: she/her

Every time I enter a new space, I ask myself who am I when I’m here? Am I the subject or the object? Am I welcomed or tolerated? Architect Craig L. Wilkins, in his book The Aesthetics of Equity, calls it “spatial profiling.” Put another way, walking freely through a space does not equate to my possessing freedom. I thought a lot about this while I walked around the Baldwin house, moving from book to book, artwork to artwork. Here, I did feel free. Free to work through my thoughts, free to write difficult things, free to be angry and comforted and hungry and sated (thank you, thank you Felicia Nowling). I wrote shamelessly while I was here, and as I did, I kept wondering “why is it different here? What is this space telling me?” Only when I left Baldwin did I realize it wasn’t trying to tell me anything about myself. It was letting me be, and maybe that’s what true freedom is – motion and resistance, fused tightly like a jazz piece improvising ever faster, every challenge a discordant note that pivots you towards an exhilarating possibility. Beware, future Baldwin Fellows. Here be joy.

ຂອບ​ໃຈ (Thank You) to Jacqueline Woodson, from the bottom of my heart.

Tamara Love

January 2023, preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

My experience during my residency at Baldwin for the Arts was beautiful. During my residency I read, I ate, I worked out, I wrote, I walked, I rested. But for me the experience began even before I arrived. It started with being chosen and learning that I had been chosen. Being chosen provided a validation that I needed. I am a writer with the frailties that can come with a need, at times, for external validation. Having received several residency rejections, being chosen to be a BFTA Fellow told me that I am worthy of time and space to focus on my craft, which is an immeasurable gift. Couple that with the team of people that supported me in the experience, including Ms. Moné Dixon-Sabio, Ms. Alcina, Ms. Linda Villarosa, and Chef Felicia, and that led to just feeling held, supported in a way that I have not experienced. The gift that Ms. Jacqueline Woodson has created for artists, particularly Black, queer artists like me, is a gift that is greater than the sum of its parts. I hope to be back in Brewster again, whether as a returning BFTA Fellow or as a writer sharing her art with other artists on the campus of Baldwin for the Arts.

Michele Stanback (AKA storäe michele)

January 2023, preferred pronouns: they/them

an invitation: invaluable time with self.

coming home, speaking to the cobwebbed corners

of my heart and mind.

what is being birthed?

what terrifies me, but my spirit still needs to say?

letting go of what no longer serves me,

watching it melt off my flesh

moving downward,

becoming embodied after months of sitting in my head.

i played. i danced. i filmed.

this produced a buzz that made sleep difficult–

creativity was a vibe that awoke me.

riveting conversations with self,

journaling daily,

meditating while luxuriating in meals made with care.

immense gratitude for the magic this home holds.

honored for this transformative opportunity to be in

solitude with the person i often don’t have the chance

to reveal.

Samantha Spiridellis

December 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

I had the privilege and honor of spending a week at Baldwin for the Arts in December 2022. During a transition period within my life, this experience provided me the space and time to go inward, reconnect with my core self and my connection to the Earth, using it as a conduit of creativity. While at Baldwin, I resurfaced compositions that I hadn’t played or thought about in years, and breathed new life into them, while engaging with the present of where I am in life. Having the quiet time away from the City allowed me to ask myself, what does my soul truly need, what does my soul have to say, and how can I continue to nurture the growth of myself and my art moving forward. I am forever grateful for this powerful experience.

Olin Caprison

December 2022, preferred pronouns: they/them

The grounds were great, I enjoyed using the gym. I wanted to bring my keyboard but it’s too big to travel with, so I was happy to see one there. I enjoyed seeing the fog rolling over the lake and peeking out the window at the snow to see a family of deer in the yard. Although it would have been great to be there with other artists, I was actually really glad to be able to enjoy the silence. I spent most of my time working on transposing and studying compositions. I had been holding on to some ideas I wanted to explore specifically at Baldwin For The Arts and the space and environment were conducive to my studies and my work! Thank you!

Erica Edwards

November 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her

While I was there, I spent my time working on my novel, Open Air, a historical novel about a community of formerly enslaved women and children who encamp with Union soldiers during the Civl War. I was able to refine the outline for the book, write about 10,000 words, and read several pieces of historical documentation.
What I found most useful about my time in Brewster was the supreme quiet and simplicity of the residence. Because I am a parent and I work full time, finding that kind of solitude is quite rare. I was in residency during the darkest days of winter, and I found that my ability to think, and rest, and actually dream, fostered a days-long reverie with my novel: a communion, you could call it. I especially enjoyed the chef-prepared meals, the vast supply of firewood and the rituals of firekeeping, and the ability to work out in the gym. All of these supported my body and helped keep my mind clear and energized.
I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and am very honored to be one of this year’s fellows.

Ilyn Wong

November 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her

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.

Edna Bonhomme

November 2022, preferred pronouns: she/they

One of the earliest stories that I received from my grandmother is that the living give birth to spirits, and if permitted, their aura might reside in nature. As far as I can remember, trees were perceived to be repositories that fueled our ancestral energy by serving as a pantheon of who we are and what we hope to be. In the same way, trees have been a vessel for my ancestors; the trees at Baldwin for the Arts provided me with a pool of energy that settled my soul. As a writer who wrestles with refining my prose, nature has carried me in reading deeply and writing freely. During my residency, I worked on my book, Captive Contagions, composing a chapter that focused on how incarcerated women at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility—the only women's maximum security prison in New York State—established an HIV/AIDS peer education program for each other, which affirmed their compassion even in conditions of unrelenting confinement. I am grateful to Jacqueline Woodson for giving me the time and facilities to hold space for myself and my manuscript.
Credit  S*an D. Henry-Smith

Taylor Johnson

November 2022, preferred pronouns: he/him/his


I hadn’t considered what it meant to rest in a total sense before my time at BFTA. During my week, I was able to let my mind and body catch up with each other, being at a leisure pace in the day to let my curiosity wander and linger around. I’d come into my week with a long to-do list and some set goals for myself, but after feeling embraced by the worked spirit of the house and the land that holds it, I allowed myself to think a bit more expansively about what I needed to do which was to rest and reflect. I was able to be a bit loose with myself, reading “The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book”, taking my time eating the meals carefully prepared by Chef Felicia, and moving at a pace that doesn’t consider the next project or idea, staying present with myself was my work at BFTA. I’m grateful to Jaqueline Woodson and the board for selecting me and opening the invitation to step into this gift of space and time. Special thanks to Jaqueline for the pizza lunch on my second day. I’m grateful to the artists who preceded me and built up the energy of the house

Valerie Bolling

October 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her

When I arrived at Baldwin, I was greeted by a swarm of ladybugs. Most people recognize ladybugs as symbols of good luck, so I knew from the start that my week at Baldwin would be wonderful ... and it was. Autumn leaves blowing and rustling, birds chirping and pecking, and then silence. I took walks each day and worked out in the gym. I enjoyed delicious meals prepared by Chef Felicia. And, yes, I wrote. I accomplished my goal of revising my early chapter book and also completed edits for one editor and provided feedback on art for another. Being in this beautiful space away from life’s interruptions enabled me to focus solely on my writing -- a rare treat.

Jacqueline’s vision for Baldwin For The Arts provides a treasure and blessing for BIPOC creators, and I feel fortunate to have been graced with this experience. I’m so grateful to Jacqueline and the BFTA Board of Directors for providing this generous gift. I hope I’m fortunate enough to return again in the future.

Taylor Harvey

October 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her

Being at Baldwin has been such a significant experience, and its impact on me unfolds more and more as the days pass. When I arrived, I was in between creative projects and unsure of the path ahead. The ability to be still and in my own creative rhythm truly allowed me to see my own self-imposed limitations. Being able to sit under a beautiful tree, read essays and poetry, produce music, and watch the beautiful water of the reservoir did so much for my spirit. I started my week thinking I was at a crossroads, trying to pick between two paths. Baldwin made me realize that there is a multitude of possibilities in my grasp, and I can forge my own way. I’m incredibly inspired and ready to follow those pursuits back home.

Patrick Dougher

July 2022, preferred pronouns: he/him/his

I was introduced to Jacqueline through our mutual friend the muralist Josh Serentitis. I had already been a fan of hers for years. We are both from the same neighborhood in Brooklyn and about the same age so I think it was easy to feel an immediate kinship with her. Jackie's energy and heart are so kind and genuine it's absolutely infectious I adore her!
Jackie bought a couple of pieces of my art and I felt so honored to be "in her house". It made me feel even closer to her in spirit. Although I am primarily an artist / musician I had been feeling a strong need to write a book about the magical mystery tour that my life has been. I was sitting in meditation one day last August and the thought came to me "Ask Jacqueline Woodson if she has space for you to start writing your book" I thought it might be perceived as bold and presumptuous to ask for space at Baldwin since I'm not even technically a writer and I was fully prepared for "NO" but to my grateful surprise Jackie got right back to me and asked when I might want to come!
I spent two productive, serene and inspiring weeks at Baldwin in Sept 2021. Just me and the deer. I ate from the garden and I laid down the outline of my book. There is something about the vibe of that land that feels so safe and soulful. I couldn't have started the book anywhere else. I spent another couple of weeks at a writing retreat in West Cornfield CT over the winter and further fleshed out the book but somehow I knew that I needed to return to Baldwin to finish it. I asked again and again Jackie blessed me. I spent one more week in my"spirit home" in July 2022 and I was able to put the finishing touches on this chapter of my life. I am so incredibly grateful for this amazing opportunity. "Thank you" could never be enough.

Megan Tatem

May 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her

Baldwin For The Arts was an unforgettable experience that provided me with a safe space to think, feel, and create. I'm extremely grateful for the BFTA board, Baldwin’s creative community, and the friendships I made during my stay. Baldwin’s facilities allowed me to put my work in a different setting/context. The sprawling hills helped me envision new possibilities for work that was beginning to feel stale. Jacqueline’s vision for Baldwin is awe-inspiring. I left jealous and thrilled for what the future holds for both Baldwin and its future fellows. I’ll be back!

Suhaly Bautista-Carolina

May 2022, preferred pronouns: she/they

There is an undeniable magic about this place, something that invites you back to yourself and guides the freest version of you to come forward. This is what it feels like to arrive at a place where you’ve never been and be home, in yourself, in divine relationship to the cardinals and bluejays, to the spruces and the redwoods and to the sacredness of nature everywhere your eyes touch. I came to Baldwin at a time when it seemed the entire earth would crack at its seams, and the gift of time to listen to the bird songs every morning was a meaningful glimmer of possibility, hope, and inspiration that has stayed with me. While at Baldwin, I worked on a book project that I had been dancing around for many moons, but most importantly, I made medicinal honey from the beautiful, flowering lilac bush on the grounds, I sharpened my birding skills, I walked in the grass and felt the earth beneath my feet, and was invited to harvest fresh peppermint from the abundant garden space. I am grateful to Jacqueline and the entire BFTA team for dreaming of this space and for inviting me to be a part of it. What a treasure. My wish is that many more blessings fall upon this land and that magic continues to have a home here.

Jasmyne Hammonds

May 2022, preferred pronouns: she/they

My time at Baldwin was soul-healing. What a gift it was to sit among the trees, listening to the songs of robins and goldfinches and sparrows. To let time pass by without worrying about to-do lists. During my week, I found my way back to my YA novel. I worked on edits and found shapes in the clouds and meandered barefoot in the grass. I will forever cherish my time as a Baldwin Fellow. So much gratitude to Jacqueline Woodson and the BFTA board of directors for creating a slice of heaven tucked away in the trees.

Dena Igusti

April 2022, preferred pronouns: they/them

As I'm navigating this transitional period in my artistic career, Baldwin gave me a chance to step away from all of life's pressures and delve into myself, my work, and the versions of me I present to the world with my art. I am forever grateful for Jacqueline Woodson, and the kindness and generosity granted to me during my time here.

April Fitzpatrick

April 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her

Recently, I have been heavily invested in transitioning to becoming a full time practicing artist. Spending a week at Baldwin provided clarity, rest, and power toward my commitment to my artistry. I came into the space to deepen my understanding of process over product. I apply this concept within my art therapy practice when working with clients but noticed the disconnect within my personal work. The symbolism was rich and had I not had the chance to slow down...I might have missed it all. The conversation with Jacqueline was so validating, my time in Harlem was affirming, and the opportunity to drink water from a well was purely spiritual. I honestly cannot fully express how grateful I am for this opportunity. Thanks for getting me one step closer to becoming a full time practicing artist.

Olaronke Akinmowo

March 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

There is nothing more nourishing for an artist or writer than being blessed with the gift of space and time to just breathe, be and create. This is the gift that the Baldwin for the Arts fellowship gave me and it changed my life. Living as a single mother, with a demanding full-time job, it often feels impossible to carve out time to make new work. Being alone in the farmhouse allowed me a chance to clear my head, and not only make new work but also explore new techniques and ideas in my process. While basking in the beauty and soundscape of nature, I made paper and a new series of collages. I also completed a personal essay that I had been attempting to finish for several months. This space made me feel nurtured and held, I experienced a peace that my soul has been craving for a long time. James Baldwin is a personal muse of mine, a literary rock star whose writing continues to inspire and shape the world, I see myself as one of the many seeds he planted, opportunities like this one are what encourage and support my growth. Thank you to Jaqueline Woodson, the selection committee, and the board for creating this program, I am honored and forever grateful.

Chet'la Sebree

February 2022, preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

It was such an honor to be selected as a Baldwin Fellow and a gift to be there as snow packed the ground. Rest and stillness are such an important part of my process, and while in residence I was able to really sit in the silence to think through two manuscripts in process. I'm grateful to everyone who made this residency possible, especially Jacqueline who made sure I had everything I needed to be productive.

A.L. Major

January 2022, preferred pronouns: they/them

At Baldwin, I felt fully held as both a writer and a Black person—something I didn’t know I needed in a residency so acutely until I came to this space. During my residency, I worked on parts of my novel that had troubled me for months. Every day, I felt so deeply inspired by the artists who came before me and those who will surely come after. I left Baldwin feeling like my novel problems weren’t so insurmountable after all. I will always cherish my time at Baldwin, this radical generosity, this gift of quiet and serenity.

Jared Jackson

December 2021, preferred pronouns: he/him

James Baldwin was a cultural worker, and what Jacqueline Woodson has established in Baldwin for the Arts, named in his honor, is nothing short of cultural work. During my residency—where I wrestled with and thought critically about my art, felt inspired by the beautiful landscape, and rested peacefully each night with the knowledge that the next day would be fruitful—I felt safe, nurtured, and empowered to create art within a space I know was envisioned with folks like me in mind. And as the artists in the decades to come will be, I am forever grateful for the radical generosity, intentionality, and love behind what makes a place like this, a place for artists like me to dream and create freely, exist.

Sabrina Mendoza Malavé

December 2021, preferred pronouns: she/her

I feel beyond thankful and honored to have been a fellow at Baldwin for the Arts. This environment sparked my inspiration! I was able to create freely without boundaries, no interruptions. Baldwin provided me with the space to work on new concept ideas connecting poems with my paintings and sculptures to explore a more personal approach to my visual narratives. This experience was otherworldly, I feel beyond thankful to Jaqueline, who was super kind and welcomed me to this beautiful space with a tour, a delicious dinner, and made sure I had everything I needed! Such a great residency that truly gives a space for artists to grow and truly cares for them!! It was overall an amazing experience that I will forever cherish.

Jesus Hilario-Reyes

November 2021, preferred pronouns: they/them

“Living in Brooklyn and trying to manage a full-time job and a career as a dj, leaves me very little time to focus and develop my practice as a visual artist. This Residency was introduced to me by a friend who thought I was a good fit. I'm sure they've heard me complain about not having enough time and space to develop my ideas. I was only able to stay for a week, and in that week I was able to get a month's worth of work done. Being away from all of the distractions of living in Brooklyn, as well as staying off of social media, I had no other choice but to really focus. I left feeling great about the work I was able to complete and motivated to prioritize it even further. I'm back in Brooklyn now with a wellspring of energy and motivation.”

Julianna Hurtado

November 2021, preferred pronouns she/her

I didn't know, exactly, what I would work on while at Baldwin for the Arts. When I arrived I walked around and took everything in, the space and the beauty, and immediately knew I was in the presence of something wonderful. A place to be myself, to be alone with my writing and memory and soul, a place where I could safely get to the bottom of everything. There, it became clear what to write. I advanced two stories in my linked collection. I read and read and read. I made my hand sore from writing, and the callouses rise, for the first time in years. I spoke to my ancestors in my dreams and woke up with more things to tell them. I felt powerful and alive. Baldwin is a magical site, a portal to wherever you need to go with your art. I am forever grateful to have walked, and created, on its grounds.

Dominic Coles

October 2021, preferred pronouns: he/him

At Baldwin for the Arts, I worked on the completion of a new record that uses a voice recollecting its dreams to activate the circuitry of a synthesizer. In my work, dream content is understood as a reflection of the world that can deform, recalibrate, and reconstitute its very structures: in this way, dreams seem to suggest the possibility of another world, of a strategic opening or crack. The physical and psychic space of Baldwin was a unique and important context for the creation of this work. In many ways, I felt that I had entered a dream, but whose? Baldwin for the Arts is a form of collective dreaming manifested in space and time. I feel so lucky to have momentarily grasped it. Centering generosity, care, and kindness, Baldwin has forever conditioned my work and myself. If dreams can offer us a glimmer of another world, Baldwin for the Arts is working immensely hard to make this world tangible.

Jason Reynolds

March 2021, preferred pronouns: he/him

My time at Baldwin For The Arts was a much-needed refuge, a place to shut out the world and find the language I couldn’t seem to find at home. I’d come to work on a story, expected to shut myself away and write. But upon arrival, I realized that part of the work was going to be…breathing. At Baldwin you can breathe. You can think. You can hear. You can be. And then, you can work.

Maryann Jacob Macias

February 2021, preferred pronouns: she/her

Having time to focus on just writing was such a gift, and I am beyond grateful to Baldwin for the Arts. To know that I as a BIPOC writer have a space that is truly safe and nurturing, where my work matters and is valued, is incredibly affirming. The physical space is comfortable and homey and the grounds are peaceful; I felt very well cared for. Jackie and the entire team saw a need and fulfilled it and that vision will enrich the arts landscape.

Essie Chambers

January 2021, preferred pronouns: she/her

I arrived at Baldwin in the middle of a snowstorm, stuck at the most difficult point in my book, hoping for a reset and some momentum. I got everything I needed: on some days it was quiet and all the comforts that make it possible to stay in your own head all day, and on others, it was conversation and cookies around a fire. I did some of my best writing here, cracking open a world I had been struggling with for months. I felt cared for and I took good care of myself.

Liza Jessie Peterson

October 2020, preferred pronouns: she/her

Wow. Where do I begin. Jacqueline Woodson is a G! Triple OG to be precise…(MacArthur) Genius, Generous and Grand. A gift, a giver, a generator of inspiration and light.

Jackie created a sacred space, a tangible medicinal balm for artists, a place called Baldwin for the Arts. It is truly a place to dream!!! I spent a week out of the matrix. in nature here at BFTA walking barefoot, hugging trees, talking to Bambi n them, laying on a huge rock by the reservoir under blue skies soaking in sun rays, taking spirit walks, praying, breathing deep, unplugging and writing. Thank you Jackie, this is a magical orbit. It’s Essential. In one of my pictures you’ll see a stone water well covered in vines and topped with a budding bush full of bees, I called it the Honeycomb hideout for Hobbits. It was my favorite…so enchanting like out of a Lord of the Rings movie. I am full and expanded. And grateful 🙏🏽🌻

A place to dream, to unplug, to reconnect with nature, to write, to be still, to expand. Thank you Jacqueline. thank you thank you for your generous vision and inviting me in.

Jenn Baker

September 2020, preferred pronouns: she/her

I can’t say enough about the beauty and overall restorative atmosphere at Baldwin. I am eternally grateful for the generosity of space, time, & quiet. I made it to the finish line of my novel here while also gifting myself many moments of rest. A little more than two weeks later I sold my book. I wouldn’t have made it that last step of the way without the respite of Baldwin.

Jenna Wortham

August 2020, preferred pronouns: they/them

Baldwin is otherworldly. There’s no other way to say it. The grounds are a portal. You feel transported to a realm where art and the self are allowed to be the priority, and you are given permission to simply exist as a way to create. James is present. Zora is present. Lorraine is present. There is a lineage, and a tradition felt, and the energy that filters through invokes a spaciousness that renews and invigorates. June Jordan once wrote that “the creative spirit is nothing less than love made manifest.” Love, she continues, nurtures, it facilitates birth, it coaxes forth a freedom of self that allows worlds of possibilities to materialize. All of that exists at Baldwin. You can truly feel the love radiating out from every crevice of Baldwin, along with the strength of the intention, the tenderness of the efforts and the determination of the vision and it provides the security and safety to trust in your own vision and efforts and intentions to figure out what you want to create, too. Being immersed in nature has a way of simplifying and clarifying things, both efficiently and gracefully. I came to Baldwin during a pivotal moment for my non-fiction book project, and will be forever grateful for the ease that Baldwin offered while I made those crucial decisions. The peace of that place allowed me to concentrate and feel embodied and self-assured in my decision-making process, and I’ll forever be grateful for the confidence and coherence granted during those crucial few days. It was such a gift to live on this land for a few weeks. Deep gratitude, always.

Denice Frohman

August 2020, preferred pronouns: she/her

Baldwin for the Arts was a transformative experience. It lives in the answer to the rhetorical question Gloria Anzaldúa once posed in the seminal anthology, This Bridge Called My Back: “Who gave us permission to perform the act of writing?” It’s a question I return to often, and at Baldwin the answer was clear. Everything felt more possible; I felt more possible.

I’m forever grateful for the uninterrupted time I was afforded to sit with my creative obsessions. For the time to think, to write, to be. I’ve been working on my debut poetry manuscript for some time, knowing the stories I needed to tell required a different set of tools. At Baldwin, those tools were ignited and alive. I felt courageous enough to write the poems that haunted me and safe enough to ask the harder questions of drafts I was revising.

As I worked on a series of basketball sonnets exploring my own relationship to diaspora, language, queerness, and the colonial relationship between the U.S and Puerto Rico—I’d shoot hoops in the driveway each afternoon and somewhere in that geography, find another breakthrough (another “lane” into the work). The path toward my own eye was made clearer, more available to me, because Baldwin for the Arts intimately understands what feeds the work: it provided a stillness and sense of care that I’ve felt in very few places. To put it plainly, this space put me back in my bones.

It was truly an honor to be welcomed into this vibrant community. I’m incredibly humbled and grateful for Baldwin’s vision and Jacqueline Woodson’s deep generosity. Baldwin for the Arts is a creative harbor, a literary lighthouse, and above all, a place to dream…

Tina Chang

January 2020, preferred pronouns: she/her

I had the privilege of being welcomed to Baldwin for the Arts as its first resident in January, 2020. As a practicing poet, I had just finished a yearlong book tour for a poetry collection. At Baldwin I was offered uninterrupted time, quiet, and space to begin to think about my next collection. I needed the courage to step in a different direction and at Baldwin I began to write literature for children.

Within the first few days, I wrote more than I had in a year and I had created the beginnings of several projects I was very proud of. These stories spoke to mixed race, identity, history, and the ability to harness strength as a child of color. Each day, I read, ate, slept, and wrote. These were things I had convinced myself were luxuries but the residency had me understand that rest and my own nourishment were necessities for an artist to thrive.
Being offered these realizations was a great gift as I reflect upon the current state of our nation. Baldwin for the Arts is needed more than ever as we reckon with our country’s difficult past and present. As a writer of color, I am deeply grateful to have been offered such recognition and creative shelter.

As I walked on the residency grounds hearing leaves crack beneath my footsteps, as I touched the bark of a lone tree, or caught a reflection of myself in a barn window, I was moved by Jacqueline Woodson’s gift, Baldwin’s legacy, and I continued my walk thinking about all the artists of color who may one day walk on the same ground feeling such generous power.

Baldwin

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.