Skowhegan Opens New York City Satellite Space

Each summer, as urban artists seek refuge from the sweltering streets, and aim for the lush countryside, Madison, Maine, is one of the most sought-after destinations. There, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, situated in the midst of 350 wooded acres, hosts a nine-week summer residency program that is a favorite among artists, and one of the most prestigious. Founded by artists in 1946, and still run by artists, Skowhegan bills itself as neither a school nor a retreat, but rather a community experience. Most artists who have attended the program attest to the profound effect the program has had on their art. Former Skowhegan faculty members include Ben Shahn, Brice Marden, Robert Gober, Judy Pfaff, Carrie Mae Weems, Janine Antoni, and Fred Wilson.

Now, Skowhegan has introduced the possibility of reverse seasonal migration. The art school recently alerted the press to a new, permanent satellite space in Manhattan, located at 136 West 22nd Street, not far from Chelsea’s art gallery sprawl. The institution has long maintained an office in New York, but the new facility will offer a year-round program of exhibitions, performances, readings and other events.

Designed by architect and Skowhegan alum Alan Wanzenberg, the facility occupies the street level and lower floor of the building. Some 2,500-square feet have been set aside for a reading room and the Skowhegan archives that will be accessible to the public. Administrators plan a number of events to help launch the new space on December 18. Artist Mary Mattingly will install a living edible forest garden, “Mobile Food Forest” (2014); and Daniel Bozhkov will unveil a permanent, site-specific mural. In addition, the Skowhegan plans a performance of John Cage’s Variations VIII, which debuted at the school’s Maine campus in 1967.

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