At Saltonstall, artists and writers can spend days any way they choose. We offer uninterrupted time, a quiet studio space, and a beautiful setting of hills and meadows to help our residents focus on their work and process.

What comes out of these unstructured days is sometimes surprising but always inspiring. We are proud of our residents and everything made at Saltonstall: the opportunity, the community, the work. Here are just some of the latest examples. Take a look!

March 31, 2018

 Stephen Kuusisto’s (’15) most recent book, the memoir Have Dog, Will Travel, was published in March by Simon & Schuster.

 From the publisher: “In this vivid and lyrical memoir, Stephen Kuusisto recounts how an incredible partnership with a guide dog changed his life and the heart-stopping, wondrous adventure that began for him in midlife. Profound and deeply moving, this is a spiritual journey, the story of discovering that life with a guide dog is both a method and a state of mind.”

 Read a wonderful Q&A with Steve published in The Bark.

 Sigrid Nunez’s (’16) new novel, The Friend — a moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog” — was published in February by Penguin Random House.

A recent review on NPR describes the book as “a penetrating, moving meditation on loss, comfort, memory, what it means to be a writer today, and various forms of love and friendship… Nunez has a wry, withering wit.”

This dog-loving reading will also feature some special, furry guests: guide-dogs-in-training from the Finger Lakes Chapter of Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

October 1, 2017

Writer Lisa Ko (’10) returned to Ithaca’s Buffalo Street Books where she read excerpts from her critically acclaimed book The Leavers.

Lisa is a writer and editor living in New York City. Her fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, Apogee Journal, Narrative, Copper Nickel, Storychord, One Teen Story, Brooklyn Review, and elsewhere.

Portions of The Leavers were crafted during Lisa’s residency at Saltonstall. The Leavers was long-listed for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction.

June 29, 2016

Bob Proel (’13) launched his debut novel, A Hundred Thousand Worlds, on June 29th, 2016. Bob is an Ithaca writer, friend, and current Saltonstall board member. He completed the first draft of this highly acclaimed novel during his 2013 residency.

Bob has been doing a lot of traveling around the country to support the book, and he has upcoming readings scheduled in Brooklyn, Boston, MA, and in Buffalo, NY. Check his events page for additional announcements.

July 9 – October 2, 2016

Tanya Chaly (’14) will have a drawing from her suite, “Paradigms and Harbingers” on display at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in Australia. Out of 445 submissions received, Tanya’s drawing was one out of 65 to be selected and put on display as a nominee for the Rick Amor Drawing Prize.

The exhibition opening and award announcement will take place on July 8th at 6pm. The exhibition runs through October 2, 2016.

Tanya created the featured drawing of a toad during her summer residency at Saltonstall after finding a toad on patio of our main house, taking a picture of it, and sketching it in her studio.

Congratulations and good luck, Tanya!

June 18 – November 13, 2016

Three sculptures by Laura Kaufman (’15) are in an exhibition called CAMPSITE: Hudson Valley Artists 2016, which is on view from June 18th- November 13th, 2016 in the Dorsky Museum in New Paltz.

Laura began creating these embroidered, woven, and colored pieces during her residency at Saltonstall last summer.

In her latest newsletter she wrote, “While there I was surrounded by the dark, lush woods and looked for geometric patterns deep within them. Also while in Ithaca, I met Jamin Uticone, an incredible basket weaver in the Adirondack tradition whose work took my breath away. His baskets encouraged my impulse to weave with industrial felt.”

Congratulations, Laura!

April 30, 2016

Jay Deshpande (’13), held a reading and book signing of his first full-length poetry collection, Love the Stranger (YesYes Books) on April 30, 2016 at Buffalo Street Books as a part of Ithaca’s Spring Writes Literary Festival.

Jay wrote key sections of Love the Stranger during his 2013 residency at Saltonstall, and returned to Ithaca to read sections of his collection, which was named one of the top debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers.

April 11, 2016

“Whittling” by Samuel Guy (’15), pictured in the image above, far right, was painted during Sam’s residency last summer. We are so proud that this piece was selected to be part of the 75th Regional Juried Art Exhibition at the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira.

“Whittling” will be on view in the Museum’s West Building from April 15 – August 13, 2016 in the Museum’s Falck Gallery. The Arnot Art Museum is open Tuesdays – Fridays, 10 -5 pm and Saturdays 12 – 5 pm. The Museum is located at 235 Lake Street, Elmira, NY.

March 20, 2016

During her residency at Saltonstall, Laura Kaufman (’15) created the two embroidered samplers pictured here.

These works, based on dark matter reporting, were included in a multimedia exhibition on art and feminism in the 21st century at Salisbury University in Salisbury, MD.

Being Her Now: Feminine Identity in the 21st Century was on view through March 26.

December, 2015

This painting by Randall Stoltzfus (’04) was started at Saltonstall during his residency, completed in 2009, and became part of a solo exhibition at the Winter Center Gallery at Millersville University (outside of Lancaster, PA)  in 2015 that closed December 12.

May 19, 2014

One week into her residency and plein-air painter Lisa Lebofsky (’14) had set up her portable easel in the field just below Saltonstall’s office. It was a gorgeous Spring morning, and Lisa was painting a dead tree (seen on left). “It’s the whole notion of beautiful decay,” she says, describing her affinity for this subject matter. “I’m not a narrative painter, but there is a story there — of mortality, the passage of time.”

Lisa’s work is “site-inspired,” as she describes it. She figures out what her subject matter is going to be once she’s arrived in a new place. This means she is also open to the unexpected, and when a few very windy days prohibited her from painting outside, she began to think about the wind.

How does one attempt to paint the wind, she wondered. “I mean, what is it?” she laughed, trying to envision painting something invisible. Intrigued with the idea of how a painter might capture the raw energy of wind, Lisa tried something new. On one of those windy days, she painted thin aluminum panels (her material of choice) a bright green and — while still wet — gently held the panels over the waving grass, allowing the individual blades to brush the panel’s surface. The result can be seen in the image on the right, photo courtesy of the artist.

May 9, 2014 

Visual artist Jane Sangerman (’14) participated in our very first two-week residency session this year. She created a number of new works during this time, including “Road No. 1” and “Road No. 2” (above) which included actual pieces of Ellis Hollow Creek Road.

“As the other Saltonstall Fellows hiked in the woods, beckoned by their raw beauty, I took to the roads for inspiration. I was hopelessly drawn to what were once bright cadmium yellow dotted lines running down the center of Ellis Hollow Creek Road but were now ravaged by snow plows and left to fade in their shredded state.

When I could stand it no longer I harvested what I could and felt appeased only when Road No. 1 and Road No. 2 were completed.” – Jane

February 7, 2014 

Poet Jaime Shearn Coan (’12) returned to the colony for a long stay last month. One day, Jaime came by the office with fresh baked bread and asked if there was an electric pencil sharpener handy. “I stopped up a few days later and was completely surprised,” says director Lesley Williamson. 

Over the course of three days, Jaime had filled four feet of butcher paper with a hand-written essay (seen above).

“Jaime said he’d been thinking about Robert Walser,” says Williamson. Walser (1878 – 1956) was an eccentric, prolific Swiss writer who developed his own “microscript” – often using pencil – fitting whole texts into spaces as small as a business card.

Currently working on a Ph.D. in English at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, Jaime said he decided to submit the essay as part of a final project this semester.

December 16, 2013

So great to have one of our “Boys of Summer” – Pat Berran – back for a quick but very productive winter retreat. “I got a good start on 12 – 15 works. Four finished works. This studio space is fantastic.” Thanks, Pat! Come back soon. (Photos courtesy of the artist.)

November 26, 2013

The work of photography alum Michael Vahrenwald (’13) was recently featured in the Huffington Post in an article entitled, “Poignant Photographs Of Abandoned Bank Buildings Reveal A Forgotten Legacy Of American Finance.”

This body of work is part of an on-going series entitled “The People’s Trust.”

“As I began photographing I couldn’t help but register the headstrong optimism in these buildings, the grandiose way in which they were fortresses built to last— all that in contradistinction to what they’re used for now,”writes Michael on his web site.

“It fascinates me, that in their current state, these structures still project so much of their former authority. The project’s not about what I like or don’t like, but about the how odd these building are today in a world where the aesthetics (as well as the simple facts) of power, wealth, & class have all fundamentally changed.”

The image shown here was taken in Wilkes-Barre, PA last summer during Michael’s Saltonstall residency.