Jasper Johns Plans to Turn His Bucolic Connecticut Home and Studio Into an Artists’ Retreat
Up to two dozen artists will get live-work spaces where they can devote themselves to their work.
Jasper Johns has big plans for his home and studio in Sharon, Connecticut—and the town is officially on board. Following his death, the artist plans to transform his pastoral property, where he has lived since the 1990s, into an artists’ retreat, providing a live-work space for 18 to 24 artists at a time.
Representatives for the artist presented a proposal at the September 13 meeting of Sharon’s planning and zoning commission, which voted unanimously in favor of the project. Art critic Deborah Solomon first reported that the town had granted permission for the project in a tweet posted on Saturday.
According to the minutes from the meeting, available on the Sharon website, the artists would “live, eat and devote themselves to the private study, practice and development of their work. They would have communal meals, in the existing main house and shared common spaces that would foster a sense of community among the artists.”
“In addition to the property itself, Mr. Johns intends to provide an endowment to support the operations of the retreat,” the town wrote, noting that there are currently no plans for additional construction on the property. “The proposal fits within the Town Plan of Conservation & Development as it keeps open space and preserves the Mudge Pond Watershed,” as indicated by the minutes.
The retreat will be a charitable organization or nonprofit corporation with 19 to 25 employees, including six to nine off-site administrative staff. The property will be closed to the public except during special events.
Johns, 87, is a towering figure in the art world. Known for his Pop and Neo-Dada works, he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and a Golden Lion at the 1988 Venice Biennale, among many other distinctions.
Johns is also a co-founder, along with composer John Cage, of the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, which offers grants in the visual and performance arts. The foundation is not involved with the artists’ retreat and declined to comment for this story, as did Johns.
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