Arts Thriving in the Middle of Nowhere

In this New York Times article, Siobhan Burke profiles New Yorkers Mathew Pokoik and his wife, Aynsley Vandenbroucke, who bought 114 acres in Mount Tremper (pop. 1,100) — 10 miles west of Woodstock — and decided to build a center for experimental performance in what Pokoik calls “the middle of nowhere.” What started as a “desire to support independent artists like themselves, mainly from New York City” has grown into “a magnet for adventurous urban artists and a devoted local audience.” Here’s just one of the great quotes from Pokoik:

“I think that’s actually required for innovation,” he said. “Slowness and boredom and people just hanging out.”

It’s a little-engine-that-could story. According to the article, the center received its first National Endowment for the Arts grant in December and, in March, hired its first executive director (and only its second full-time staff member), Abigail Guay. Its budget this fiscal year is $170,000, up from $84,000 two years ago.

Read the entire article for some inspiration about building a successful arts space in an unexpected place.

Members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, minEvent with ETHEL, 2010 Mount Tremper ArtsSummer Festival.

Members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, minEvent with ETHEL, 2010 Mount Tremper ArtsSummer Festival.

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