Category: Latest News

Reopening Our Gardens!

Celebrating Yaddo’s return and our Annual Summer Benefit

We’re back! Yaddo is delighted to announce the reopening of our Gardens to the public after more than a year of pandemic-related closure. Our garden volunteers will return over the next weeks to join Yaddo’s Facilities team in preparing the gardens for visitors. The official reopening date is Monday, June 6, 2022.

After carefully considering how best to ensure the health of our artists and staff, while still fulfilling our crucial mission of supporting artists, we reopened the residency program in February 2021 with closed pods for predetermined periods of time. We implemented a successful Covid-19 testing protocol for staff and guests that resulted in Yaddo being able to remain Coronavirus-free throughout the year. The reopening of our historic Gardens is the next step in our path back and will coincide with a poetry event in the Gardens on the weekend of June 4th and 5th which will be free but require advance registration.

Yaddo’s Board Co-Chairs, Peter Kayafas and Janice Y.K. Lee announced the reopening and said: “As we move into post-pandemic life, let us remember that in very real ways, art saved us. We listened to music, read books, watched television shows and were comforted by beautiful works of art. As we all know, the creation of art does not happen in a vacuum and the process needs constant support and tending—not unlike gardens, in fact.” And Yaddo President Elaina Richardson agreed, noting: “We’re well aware of how much the Gardens at Yaddo mean to our community and to generations of visitors who come to them for solace, picnics, and often to capture the most significant moments in their lives, such as weddings and family photographs. We look forward to seeing our Garden Volunteers who do such a remarkable job and to welcoming everyone back as we celebrate Yaddo’s Return!”

Spencer Trask gave the formal Gardens as a gift to his wife Katrina in 1899. Though the Trasks consulted landscape architects and gardening manuals, the design was theirs alone. Here, as elsewhere on the estate, the Trasks showed themselves to be restless experimenters.

The Gardens, which are the only part of the Yaddo grounds open to the public, are situated on lower and upper terraces divided by a pergola. The lower part, which includes the Rose Garden, is more manicured, and reflects Italian and French Renaissance influences. The upper part, located above and beyond the pergola, is a woodland rock garden, a style that came into fashion in the late 19th century. Both gardens have fountains.

Typically, the Gardens are among the most popular attractions in Saratoga Springs and receive over 60,000 visits annually. We are deeply appreciative of our volunteer club, the Yaddo Garden Association, as well as the students in the area BOCES program, for their efforts.

The Gardens at Yaddo will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information about tours, please visit our Gardens at Yaddo page.

And the excitement of Yaddo’s Return will continue on June 23rd when the Annual Summer Benefit will be held in the Mansion and on the Great Lawn.

We look forward to welcoming everyone to our sanctuary during public hours and for the benefit and hope you’ll join us in celebrating Yaddo’s Return!

Forging an Innovative Path Forward

We’re back!

It’s hard to imagine being happier to type those words. We reopened our doors on February 16th to a small group of writers and artists who had self-selected to be at Yaddo with pandemic policies in place. What policies? Well, we implemented many of the steps we’ve all become used to in this frightening period and some that are specific to a residency: Covid test before traveling to Yaddo, another test on arrival, weekly testing for all staff, no leaving the grounds (though we do have 400 acres to explore!), no rolling admissions, extra cleaning. The first group was almost giddy to be Pod 1, and Pod 2 sailed along with equal verve, productivity and companionship.

Before the world folded inwards, you might have surmised that a period of social distancing would be a no-brainer for Yaddo. After all, we’re a retreat—a place consciously designed to allow for hush, for deep-thinking, reflection and solitude. One of our core traditions is quiet hours, held each day from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and again after 10 p.m. – what could be more interior leaning than that? But as we shuttered our program with the heaviest of hearts, not knowing when we would be re- enlivened with the bustle of guests, we focused a lot on the other side of the retreat coin: community.

As we all know from our own lives—whether from meditation or prayer, solitary walks or an unplugged phone—the point of retreat is to gather strength and then advance. For Yaddo’s artists, the form that re-entry takes is a lucky one for each of us—it’s the thousands of books, films, symphonies and artworks that delighted, challenged and comforted us through this anxiety-laden year. And so, even as we welcomed artists back into “the bubble” we worked imaginatively, and with some urgency, to help in the recovery of the creative economy as a whole and to open access to the great work Yaddo artists are doing.

Since reopening, these tentacles from Yaddo out into the world have included a live concert, from Mike Doughty’s living room, no less, and the premiere of a terrific new one-hour show called Hora! (hosted by the mega-talented Catherine Maria “Cat” Rodriguez) which aims to surprise and delight. What else? We’ve continued our Artist Forums, launched a film and conversation series—The Fight for Rights—which to date has featured Lisa Cortes and Victor LaValle discussing All In: the Fight for Democracy and Bennett Singer and Jacki Lyden previewing Cured. And of course, there’s our podcast Shadow//Yaddo, which continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Every other Thursday, an episode drops and the lineup of talent (voices of hope, resistance, humor and wisdom) explore a myriad of topics.

We’re not out of the woods yet, but the silver linings are piling up. For one thing, we’ve all realized how important the arts and artists are to us. That’s what we turned to in those shut-in days—to books, films, storytellers, music and art. As the year goes on, we’ll welcome back more and more of the artists whose 2020 residency had to be postponed, and we’ll look outward to bringing fresh work, vital topics, and good company (virtual and “for real”) to our larger community. The arts saved us, and we at Yaddo are grateful for every step that aids in their revival and the forging of an innovative path back from the pandemic.

— From Yaddo News Spring/Summer 2021. Read the full newsletter here.

Artists Return to Yaddo

With new safety precautions in place, Yaddo takes the first step toward a full reopening

Yaddo will reopen its doors to artists in mid-February.

“We’re so thrilled to be able to welcome artists back to Yaddo,” said Yaddo President Elaina Richardson. “We’re still a long way from ‘back-to-normal,’ but we’re just delighted to take this first step toward a full re-opening while doing all we can to continue to protect and support our guest artists, staff and community.”

After much deliberation, research and consultation with health authorities, Yaddo leadership developed new policies and guidelines to help ensure the reopening will happen safely.

The Yaddo grounds, including the gardens, will remain closed to the public at this time. The public portion of Yaddo will reopen when it is safe to do so.

Based on a survey of artist availability, the first residency invitations were issued to those whose residencies were postponed due to the pandemic last year. An application cycle was suspended to accommodate scheduling, but the next application cycle will soon resume. For updated information on applying to Yaddo, please view our guidelines.

This is not the first time Yaddo has weathered crisis. The original mansion burned to the ground and was replaced by the current iteration in 1893, with the Tiffany phoenix emblazoned above the fireplace: “Flammis invicta per ignem Yaddo resurgo ad pacem” or Unconquered by flame, Yaddo, is reborn for peace. During WWI Yaddo co-founder Katrina Trask closed the main house to save money so that Yaddo as we know it could be sustained for future generations.

In 1918, the influenza pandemic ravaged the world, with some 675,000 deaths occurring in the United States alone. Midway through the Great Depression, Yaddo opened late and held only a short summer season. The Yaddo Mansion closed in 1944 during WWII, with only a handful of guests remaining. All of this is to say that Yaddo has grit in its soul and this time, too, will prevail.

Yaddo has been a haven for artists for a century. Though, globally, we’ve still a long way to go before the current pandemic is in our rearview mirror, Yaddo is committed to doing everything under the sun to continue to offer sanctuary to artists. And we warmly welcome all those who will come through our gates this year!

Yaddo Wins 2020 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award!

We’re thrilled to share the news that Yaddo has won one of this year’s Excellence in Historic Preservation awards from the New York State Preservation League (NYSPL) for our Mansion Renovation. 

A major rehabilitation project, led by Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson, focused on restoring the building envelope and the replacement of certain mechanical systems. Completed last year, the work required the removal, restoration and reinstallation of more than 500 window sash and frames and 20 exterior doors.

The project also included replacing the entire copper and slate roof on 104 separate roof planes. There was additional work done to restore all the exterior woodwork, cement stucco and decorative ironwork.

“This was a large-scale preservation effort on behalf of the team at Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson,” said Preservation League President Jay DiLorenzo. “With the completion of this important restoration work, Yaddo will be able to continue hosting the nation’s best artists for another 100 years.”

The statewide award, bestowed on nine restorations this year, highlights projects, organizations, publications and individuals that exemplify best practices in historic preservation. The award also recognizes people who are using historic preservation to build stronger neighborhoods, create local jobs, provide affordable housing, open eyes to overlooked history and save the places that are special to all.

More information about all of the NYSPL 2020 Excellence Award winners can be found via this link.

Yaddo Launches a New Podcast!

Broadcasting hope, resistance, humor and curiosity — Shadow // Yaddo hosted by Elaina Richardson is coming soon!

Read. Listen. Tinker. Walk a mile in another’s narrative, with Yaddo artists as your guide.

We’re delighted to announce the release of our new podcast Shadow // Yaddo, hosted by Yaddo President Elaina Richardson. Tune in as we shine a light on the transformative vision of Yaddo’s artists through conversations about art, literature, activism, ecology, inspiration and daily life; plus humor—who knew podcasting was so much fun?

Our first episode aired September 17, and we’ve enlisted a terrific roster of Yaddo artists, including Sheri Fink, Odili Donald Odita, Jonathan Lethem, Victor LaValle, Mary Gaitskill, Kima Jones, Edgar Oliver, Amy Hempel, Joseph Keckler, Rick Moody and others.

Shadow // Yaddo will be available across podcast platforms and on our website. Keep in touch with your Yaddo friends—join the conversation.  More soon!

Yaddo Celebrates the Centennial of the 19th Amendment

Officers of the Women’s League, Newport, R.I., 1899; Image, courtesy of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Illuminating Our Path Forward

In 1899, our co-founder Katrina Trask envisioned Yaddo as a place intended for “men and women—creating, creating, creating!” Some 26 years later, the first group of guests arrived at Yaddo, with men and women artists equally represented.

Inclusion has long been integral to our credo and, this year we’re delighted to partner with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote.

On Wednesday, August 26th, Yaddo will be participating in the Forward into Light Campaign, a nationwide public art project encouraging artists to express themselves in the official suffrage colors of purple and gold. Many arts organizations and other landmark buildings are participating, including the Library of Congress, National Archives and the National Park Service.

We’ll soon be unveiling our historic Yaddo Mansion awash in purple and gold on all our digital platforms. Post your own “light art” tagging @WomensVote100 and Yaddo—@yaddocommunity on Facebook or @yaddotoday on Instagram & Twitter—with the hashtags #ForwardIntoLight or #PurpleAndGold, and we’ll share your posts.

Let’s pay homage to all the women who came before us!

No Time for Silence

From The Migration Series by Yaddo artist Jacob Lawrence, 1940-41. “Migrants left. They did not feel safe. It was not wise to be found on the streets late at night. They were arrested on the slightest provocation.”

We in the Yaddo community believe in the power of art to bridge cultural and political barriers, remind us of our shared humanity, and catalyze change. We have witnessed with horror (as has anyone with a conscience) the latest atrocities in a long chain of anti-Black violence in our country. Our solidarity and concern lie particularly with African-Americans at this moment, and also extend to all communities of color that have long endured systemic racism, particularly Native American and Latinx people. Our colleagues, artists, administrators, and supporters condemn the discrimination and brutality that continues to be perpetrated against Black lives. Furthermore, we are appalled by the disproportionate suffering caused by the mismanagement of COVID-19 care in communities of color and by repeated acts of hatred and callousness.

Yaddo is committed to equality in our words and our actions. As an institution, it is our mission to be actively anti-racist; to continuously prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in the composition of our residents, staff, funders and board.

We are aware of our critical responsibility as a supporter of our country’s leading artistic voices, and we will continue to use that platform to help bring about a more just and equitable world.

Our thanks to all those who are ahead of us, on the front lines of this struggle. We are with you.

Opera Issues Call to Action

Here’s some oxygen for your week: A team of Pulitzer Prize winners, including librettist Mark Campbell and Yaddo composer Paul Moravec produced this virtuosic performance of “Light Shall Lift Us.”

The soaring rendition has gone viral, with more than a million views across several sites in only a few days, inspiring strength, hope, joy, solace, and reminding us all why we turn to artists, especially during times of crisis.

With talent to burn, many artists who work in the gig economy have been especially hard-hit in the economic implosion of the global pandemic. This world premiere video, developed by Opera America, gathers some 107 opera singers and issues a galvanizing rally for the opera community and the arts in general while calling on each of us to support the artists and organizations whose work enriches our lives.

“In this pandemic, everything has changed and yet nothing has changed,” Moravec said. “These eminent artists are still just as crucial as they were when this ordeal began, and they will be even more essential when we emerge together on the other side.”


Opera companies, individual artists and arts organizations need guardian angels to sustain our “cathedral for art” (to quote another Yaddo composer, Kala Pierson). Dig out those wings and join us in supporting an artist in any way that is within your means.

support yaddo

In An Emergency, Art!

“Brick Wall,” Elisabeth Condon. PHOTO: Jason Mandella

Recent events—namely the global pandemic and state-mandated closure of businesses deemed “non-essential”—beg some questions: Is Yaddo essential? Is art necessary? What happens to artists in a time of global crisis, and how can we help? 

In her brilliant essay collection, Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency (forthcoming in May), Olivia Laing profiles several writers and artists (many of them her fellow Yaddo alums), diving into how they handled trying times. She published the introductory essay in The Guardian, positing that creative work offers clarity, nourishment, solace, hope and “a restoration of faith,” she wrote. “It’s easy to give into despair. There’s so much that’s frightening, so much wrong. But if this virus shows us anything, it’s that we’re interconnected… We keep each other afloat, even when we can’t touch. Art is a place where that can happen, where ideas and people are made welcome. It’s a zone of enchantment as well as resistance, and it’s open even now.” 

In a word, yes. Yaddo is the zone! We are your community. Further, Yaddo is you, the artists who have long been at the forefront of creating work with global impact. And that’s especially true at this moment, with so many of you on the front line. 

Luba Drozd, an installation artist who came to Yaddo in February, has been in the news lately for using her 3D printer to make protective face shields for healthcare workers. She switched from engineering complex sound components to making life-saving medical gear in her Brooklyn apartment. In many arenas, large and small, our illustrious artists take on leadership roles that far exceed their creative callings. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and President of PEN America Jennifer Egan announced recently that PEN won the first round in their lawsuit against President Trump for retaliating against journalists (media is considered an “essential business”). A federal court denied a motion
to dismiss the case. “[We are] profoundly grateful for the court’s timely decision,” Egan said in a press statement. “The Trump administration’s punitive stance toward the press has continued unabated, with corrosive results for truth, fact, our democracy, and—most recently—public health.”

Mentioned earlier, Olivia Laing came to her hard-won conclusions on art in emergencies by revisiting the AIDS epidemic, among other atrocities, with some of her Yaddo pals such as writer and activist Sarah Schulman. Laing
also looked into the historical context of works like the Klan paintings of Philip Guston, who found respite
at Yaddo in 1969 amid his shift from abstract expressionism to exploring the tumult of his era. Laing writes: “Guston wasn’t looking from afar. This time, he was inside the frame. Someone, some bozo, was underneath the hood, peering out at the world through the slits in cloth. You have to bear witness, Guston kept saying, but he meant more than merely watching events unfold.” 

As galvanizing as the work of other artists can be, most of us are not out saving the world, rather we’re relishing solitude, sleep, books, maybe hoarding ice cream and watching Netflix. Oddly enough, in a time when so many are deemed “non-essential” workers, artists have become the go-to source for coping with quarantine. Books are oxygen. Films are queued. Poetry is blooming, and the digital space is filled with impromptu interviews with artists. It’s enough to create art for its own sake, even when doing so seems impossible.

“In times when people are suffering, a constant everywhere on the globe, I question the importance of art,” painter Josh Dorman told Koplin Del Rio. “But it’s also in these moments when I’m reminded of the simple healing power of making things with one’s hands, and the capability of imagination to create an escape—an alternate world.” 

Alternate worlds figure into Laing’s eloquent argument that emergencies require art. “That’s the thing about utopias, they keep you going,” she wrote. “Hope has a bad press in our cynical age, but it doesn’t necessarily mean being disengaged, a Pollyanna blind to the state things are in or uninterested in how they got that way. Hope is the precursor to change. Without it, no better world is possible.” 

Deep down, we suspect, most artists believe that, as Terry Adkins said, “Art can be a force for change.” In the meantime, lots of shelter dogs are finding homes, small farms in upstate New York are more successful and the air is cleaner. 

Plus, we still have what matters most: “People. Staying connected and staying open. Supporting when and where it’s possible,” Elisabeth Condon told Art Spiel. “When I remember to stay open it combats nihilism. It also firms my resolve to paint…with a free and open perspective, to create a space in which others can open as well.” 

While the physical location of Yaddo is closed, our hearts are open. Let Yaddo be your bridge to a better world—we’ll see you on the other side.

—From Yaddo News Spring 2020. View the full newsletter here. 

The Show Must Go On(line)

In this difficult and isolating time, let Yaddo be your window to the world. We’ve collected music, books, visual art, poems and wonderful moments among friends to brighten your day. Sample the extraordinary work of Yaddo artists, and keep in (virtual) touch!

Cheers at Five

Our VR Drinks Room is hopping, as friends join us via social media for #CheersAtFive to enjoy a poem, story, piece of music, moment among friends, or an image of surpassing beauty.

Celebrate Yaddo Authors

Visit the Yaddo Authors Bookshop online to support local, independent bookstores and to find recently published titles by Yaddo writers. Happy reading!

Yaddo Composers Playlist

From modern classics to the wonderfully wild, music by Yaddo composers inspires global ovation. Check out the first installment of our Yaddo Composers Playlist.

Poems for These Days

A moment of stillness, a zing of recognition, a window opened on the soul— these are among the rewards of poetry, each of them sorely needed right now. Join us for our specially curated series, Poems for These Days.

A Letter from Our Co-Chairs

As the world struggles to get ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic, we here at Yaddo are working to make the best decisions to put us on the optimal path going forward, one that will allow us to recover from this time and sustain our mission for decades to come. After much thoughtful discussion on the part of the board, we decided the soundest course of action was to close the Program for the remainder of the year, and we wanted to explain Yaddo’s thinking to you. 

Why is this necessary? For Yaddo to reopen there needs to be a global all clear—we don’t have the ability to set up a monitoring system to ensure no one enters our community from an area that still has active cases. Epidemiologists agree that the apex of this pandemic will occur in rolling waves around the world and may well return in the fall after a dormant period. Sadly, this means we must reschedule all those who were on the calendar for a residency. The Yaddo staff has worked diligently to communicate that our decision to continue the closure through 2020 was made in order to avoid the harmful effects of rolling cancellations. Not only are they disruptive and disheartening, but they can put artists on unsteady ground. We all understand the many sacrifices made to come to Yaddo such as subletting housing, canceling work plans, childcare/caregiving, and lost income, to name a few. Notifying now hopefully brings clarity to our artists rather than making things worse by a late-cancellation notice.

At the same time, our endowment has suffered as the global economy fell, with a current loss of over 17% and no clear “bottom” for the markets. We have canceled fundraising events at least through the first 6 months of this year, suffering a loss of over $600,000 in revenue. It costs about $330,000 a month to run Yaddo, so the economic stress is real.

In light of these numbers and aware that strong Federal support has become available (Yaddo has successfully applied for aid under the CARES Act), we acted quickly to be both fiscally prudent and to protect our staff as best could be. For example, Yaddo has agreed to pick up all health insurance costs, including the employee portion should someone be furloughed—an extraordinary measure for a not-for-profit to take, but one that the full Executive Committee supported. In addition, some senior staff are taking significant pay cuts—20% in the case of the President.

Nothing would please us more than to find that we have been unduly pessimistic in taking these steps. If so, we will quickly reverse course and reopen our doors to guests. We’re doing all we can to secure emergency funding and to carefully manage our resources. The plan is for all of us to come out the other side of this with resilience, to have Yaddo remain a leader in the field, and to return to “regular life” when it is safe to do so. We will stay in touch with everyone and let you know, instantly, when the “return” decision is made. 

We’ve appreciated hearing from many of you and know there’s a strong desire to help at this moment. Here are a few ideas for what you might do:

  • If you’re in a position to offer financial support, please do so as generously as you can. Perhaps your Annual Gift could be sent early? Or if you would have supported Variations or the Summer Benefit, might you give that support? We need you more than ever. 
  • Join us to enjoy Virtual Yaddo projects. 
  • Have patience as we all adjust to reduced numbers and sometimes inadequate home technology. 

We hope you and your circle of loved ones stay safe during this challenging time.

Janice Y.K. Lee and Peter Kayafas

Resources for Artists During the COVID-19 Crisis

This is a challenging time for many in our community, as artists and writers cope with cancelled work, lost income, and medical uncertainty. Yaddo has compiled the following list of online resources for artists affected by the pandemic, and will continue to expand the list in the coming weeks as opportunities become available.

(Updated 6/8/20)

General resource lists

The Actor’s Fund Resources list (for all arts and entertainment professionals)

Alliance of Artist Communities Emergency Relief Programs 

Americans for the Arts: Coronavirus Resource and Response Center

Artist Power Center

Artists At Risk Connection: COVID-19 Resources for Artists

Arts Education Partnership

Caffe Lena Resources for Musicians

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources

Creative Capital: List of Arts Resources During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Mental Health Resources to Help Prevent Creative and Professional Burnout from UC Berkeley

National Alliance for Musical Theater COVID-19 Resources

National Endowment for the Arts COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations

Springboard for the Arts Coronavirus Resources for Artists, Creative Workers and Organizations

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts COVID-19 Resources

Women Arts Directory of Emergency Funds for Artists in All Disciplines

Specific grants

Anonymous Was a Woman Emergency Relief Grants, open to women-identifying visual artists over age 40 who have been impacted by COVID-19. Appy between April 6-8.

Artists’ Fellowship emergency aid for professional visual artists

Artist Relief grants: A coalition of national arts grantmakers will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19.

Authors’ League Fund for emergency circumstances

Craft Emergency Relief Fund

Dramatists Guild Foundation Emergency Grants

Foundation for Contemporary Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund, for experimental artists who have been impacted by postponed or cancelled performances and exhibitions.

Jazz Foundation of America Musicians’ Emergency Fund

Max’s Kansas City Project Emergency Grants, for creative arts professionals in New York state.

Motion Picture & Television Fund COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

Musicians Foundation grants for medical and living expenses in emergencies 

PEN America: Writers’ Emergency Fund

The Photographer Fund to help photographers impacted by COVID-19

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants for unexpected medical emergencies; open to visual and media artists, and choreographers.

SAG-AFTRA Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund

Sweet Relief COVID-19 Fund for musicians and music industry workers

Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation COVID-19 Phase 2 Emergency Grants

Women Photograph COVID-19 Emergency Fund, apply by April 3; may be extended

Other useful information posts open calls and opportunities in the arts and creative industries.

Fostering a Daily Practice During a Global Crisis, Minneapolis College of Art and Design workshop led by Yaddo artist Jonathan Herrera Soto. is a marketplace that creates new streams of income for artists by connecting them with the public for help with creative and non-creative tasks.

What freelancers need to know about the coronavirus 

Writing Contests, Grants and Awards database


How freelancers can claim paid sick leave in a coronavirus emergency, via the Freelancers Union

Warm Greetings: A Letter from Yaddo’s President

Dear Friends:

You would think this strange period of social distancing would be a no-brainer for those of us at Yaddo. After all, we’re a retreat—a place consciously designed to allow for quiet, for deep-thinking, reflection and solitude. But as we closed our program this week with the heaviest of hearts, knowing that we won’t be re-enlivened with the bustle of guests before June at the soonest, I found myself thinking a lot about the other side of the retreat coin: community. As we all know from our own lives—whether from meditation or prayer, solitary walks or an unplugged phone—the point of retreat is to gather strength and then advance. For Yaddo’s artists, the form that re-entry takes is a lucky one for each of us—it’s the thousands of books, films, symphonies and artworks that delight, challenge and comfort us throughout the years. It turns out that Yaddo is not just a collection of buildings and truly beautiful grounds, it’s connection through friendships, the exchange of ideas, and the drawing together of us all.

And so, with the modest hope that we can be of some use to our artists and to all of you during these fretful days, we’re springing into action to enhance community and share a few pleasures. We’ve set up a Yaddo Authors Bookshop, which features recently-published titles from our writers; we’ll be posting frequent updates on resources for artists; and we invite you to join us via social media each day for #CheersAtFive, a moment to clink a virtual glass and enjoy a poem, or story, or an image of surpassing beauty.

We may be inside, but we are not alone. Let’s come together to explore the cultural landscape Yaddo helps create and all of you support and nurture. I think we’ll find there are many paths to wander down and a lot of laughs and insights to be had along the way.

Sending love and good wishes to you all. Stay well.

Elaina H. Richardson,

President, Yaddo

Yaddo Announces Temporary Closing in Response to COVID-19

The Corporation of Yaddo, the artist residency based in Saratoga Springs, New York, announced it would close temporarily due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “In accordance with recommendations from public health officials and the CDC, the Yaddo Executive Committee made this difficult decision to keep our visiting artists, staff, and community safe,” said President Elaina Richardson. “At this time we have no confirmed cases of coronavirus at Yaddo, but we are taking preemptive action in order to play our part in slowing the transmission of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable populations.”

Yaddo welcomes nearly 300 artists per year from around the world in its mission to provide artists the opportunity to work without interruption in a supportive environment. Currently the closure affects only artists in residence at Yaddo now and those due to arrive in April and May. Artists currently at Yaddo will be assisted with early departures and guests due to arrive will be rescheduled if at all possible after the crisis has lessened. 

“We have been closely monitoring the developing situation and have been in touch with state and local health officials, as well as our colleagues at other residency programs,” added Ms. Richardson. “While Yaddo has never seen an interruption of this length in its nearly 100 years of service to artists, it has now become apparent that closing altogether is the responsible course of action from a public health standpoint. As always, the well-being of our artists is at the forefront of our decision making. We will also work with our community to see what we might do to help offset financial hardship caused to artists by the shutdown.”

All immediately upcoming Yaddo public and private events are currently cancelled. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Yaddo will continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and make a decision about reopening the residency program as the situation evolves. Further details will be shared with our community via email, social media, and on our website at Please follow us on Facebook @yaddocommunity, Twitter @yaddotoday, and Instagram @yaddotoday for the latest updates as well as news from our artist community.

Yaddo Rising: Mansion Returns

Ladies and gentlemen, ghosts, children of the arts—we did it! Yaddo is reborn again, and we offer a galactic thank you for all your support in helping us restore our historic Mansion—the architectural jewel, public face, creative hub, artistic sanctuary, refuge for the world’s leading minds, and yes, the soul of Yaddo.

It wasn’t easy: It took an unprecedented $7.6 million investment, 18 months of Mansion closure and construction; a carapace of specially engineered scaffolding; rehabbing all fixtures, including our iconic weathervane; fixing 756 window sashes in 338 windows; sealing our exterior envelope with 15 tons of mortar; a new roof; stabilizing the porte cochère—a magical feat of modern engineering; adding six new bathrooms; and upgrading our entire electrical and HVAC system, among other triumphs.

What else? We’ve given Yaddo a sustainable future; now it will be here for another century. Plus, with our other updated facilities and new live-work studios, we stand to increase the number of artists we host annually by about 25 percent, up to 270 guests each year.

In June, we welcomed the public back to the Mansion for our annual Yaddo Summer Benefit. More than 375 guests celebrated the party of the season with special guest Mike Doughty; together we raised just shy of $190,000 for our residency program. The celebration will continue at our Yaddo Gala in New York City on October 3.

With this big facilities lift behind us, we’re now focused on a matter of equal urgency—access to Yaddo. We know the need for space, quiet and community is more important than ever and we are working hard to make sure that writers and artists who are invited here can actually take us up on that gift. Thanks to an inspired gift from Musa and Tom Mayer, along with others, we will offer more Access Grants to help defray such expenses as travel, childcare, lost income and supplies, and do all we can to ensure that a diverse range of the world’s most exceptional artists have a seat at our table.

Now… reporting live: Our summer season is in full swing, with poets, sculptors, composers, filmmakers, painters, writers, graphic novelists, performers and more, all here to “augment the sacred fire within,” as Spencer and Katrina Trask put it in 1900.

Artists have returned in full force to the Mansion!

—From Yaddo News Summer 2019. Read the full newsletter here.

Celebrating Our New Partnership!

Here at Yaddo, we are delighted to be partnering with The Maurice Sendak Foundation, which has given us a grant to underwrite a new residency. The Sendak/Glynn Narrative Illustration Residency—designated for artists whose primary media is work on paper through the use of non-digital tools—will provide a $1,000 financial aid stipend to one artist as well as cover the costs of hosting that artist in residence at Yaddo.

“The Maurice Sendak Foundation is very pleased to be represented at Yaddo,” says Lynn Caponera, President of The Maurice Sendak Foundation. “Maurice, throughout his lifetime, was a student of all the arts, and we are delighted to be able to give illustrators the opportunity to enhance their craft by enabling them to work among other Yaddo residents.”

We concur! Gathering around the storied Yaddo dinner table in our historic Mansion with diverse artists from varied disciplines such as dance, literature, film and video, music composition, performance, visual art and theater is one of the great joys of Yaddo. Emerging artists encounter their heroes, and creative breakthroughs are born from sharing with other visionary talents.

Let the storytelling begin—with sincere thanks to The Maurice Sendak Foundation for making this possible. “We’re grateful to The Maurice Sendak Foundation for the opportunity to expand Yaddo’s burgeoning community of narrative artists,” says Yaddo President Elaina Richardson. “The funding will help to support work that is, in Maurice Sendak’s words, ‘not vapid or stupid, but original; work that excites and incites.’ We welcome this chance to extend Sendak’s legacy to a new generation while underscoring Yaddo’s rich tradition of support to artists at all stages of their work and creative life.”

ABOUT THE MAURICE SENDAK FOUNDATION: The Maurice Sendak Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organization, is devoted to promoting greater public interest in and understanding of the literary, illustrative, and theatrical arts. The Foundation supports the artistic legacy of Maurice Sendak and nurtures emerging as well as established artists in the fields of children’s literature and theater design. The Foundation also promotes the rights and well-being of children and animals by supporting children’s literacy and animal welfare. The Maurice Sendak Foundation each year supports other not-for-profit organizations whose activities fall within its stated mission. For more information, please see

The Future is Now: Renewing Yaddo, Art and Soul

Here we are—ready for the final big lift to honor and preserve our past while building a sustainable future for the next generation of artists and writers as well as our community, from our neighbors in Saratoga Springs to our varied artists and arts professionals around the globe.

Now is the pivotal moment, as we launch a multimillion-dollar stabilization and restoration of the public face of Yaddo–our historic Mansion, which serves both as refuge for individual artists and as creative common ground, where the world’s leading minds gather to share ideas, energy and imagination. Guided by our mission to provide sanctuary for artists, plans for our renewed Mansion will also allow us to host programming that brings together our artists with the general public, offering resources and access to one of the Capital Region’s cultural jewels.

Of course, change requires hard work and thoughtful preparation, especially for Yaddo, which has served artists for more than a century. We’ve thought long and hard about this magical place, about how to embrace this transformational moment, about the kind of neighbor we want to be in our thriving, rapidly evolving upstate community.

We began in 2012 with a Strategic Plan, the culmination of many listen-and-learn sessions, consultations with experts, and several conversations with our board, artists and community. In June of 2013, we commissioned a comprehensive Facilities Master Plan, which spotlighted the structural integrity of the Mansion, calling for stabilization of the building as key to the survival of Yaddo.

Soon after, we kicked off a Capital Campaign to raise funds for the work. With a goal of raising $10 million and with almost $7 million already committed, we signed a contract last year to begin preparations. First focusing on architectural investigation and life-safety issues, preparation work proceeded slowly through this harsh winter. With warmer weather came scaffolding (foundation to roof!) and the necessary stabilization of some areas before work could begin. With our plans engineered, stamped and certified, we are now ready to charge forward to renew Yaddo for future generations.

The time is now to protect Yaddo, to ensure that all it has meant to individual artists and to American culture is honored, and to go beyond that to build a version of Yaddo that is invigorated, burnished and fully prepared for our second century.

Realizing this grand vision requires an unprecedented level of support. As Yaddo Artist Elizabeth Strout said recently in her remarks for our Summer Benefit, “Places like Yaddo don’t just happen by magic. You put your trust and your resources into those whose work may not show up for years, or may never show up. But you do it anyway. Because you know that a society must value the arts. And what you are doing is an act of faith.”

Please join us in bringing this extraordinary act of faith to fruition with an earmarked contribution.

For the full story on Mansion restoration, please view our Summer 2018 Newsletter.