WASSAIC, N.Y. — When Bowie Zunino is interviewing candidates for residencies at the Wassaic Project, she spends a lot of time trying to talk them out of coming.
“I tell them, it’s rough,” she said. “Your studio will be in a barn. If there’s tons of water outside, chances are there’s going to be a bit of water inside, too. It’s all about managing expectations.”
Floods, freezes, vintage (and minimal) sanitation: Ms. Zunino and her collaborators have endured much since the Wassaic Project’s beginnings nearly seven years ago as a weekend arts festival held in an old grain elevator and mill here, and conjured up by Ms. Zunino, now 32, Eve Biddle, a friend and art partner from the Rhode Island School of Design, and Elan Bogarin, a filmmaker.
But despite her efforts to lower the expectations of would-be artists-in-residence, what began almost as a lark (and was intended to be short-lived) is now a mature and vibrant arts center and year-round community. And many of its former artists-in-residence and festival attendees have been so taken by its leaky, rustic charms that they have moved here full-time.
Spreading out among the grain elevator and mill, a century-old former hotel and bar, a schoolhouse and a cavernous livestock auction house/barn, the Wassaic Project’s elements to date include a summer camp, a haunted house, arts programming in the local school and an annual parade, along with its festival, residencies and exhibitions.
Last year’s festival drew 5,000 attendees. To read more click HERE!