Saratoga Springs is also home to Yaddo, a 400-acre (1.62 km2; 0.62 sq mi) artists’ community, founded by the great Wall Street financier, Spencer Trask and his wife, the author Katrina Trask. Since its inception in 1900, Yaddo has been home to 60 Pulitzer Prize winning authors and one Nobel Prize winner.
Founded in 1900 by the financier Spencer Trask and his wife Katrina, herself a poet, Yaddo is an artists’ community located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, New York. Its mission is to nurture the creative process by providing an opportunity for artists to work without interruption in a supportive environment.
Yaddo offers residencies to professional creative artists from all nations and backgrounds working in one or more of the following media: choreography, film, literature, musical composition, painting, performance art, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video. Artists may apply individually or as members of collaborative teams of two or three persons. They are selected by panels of other professional artists without regard to financial means. Residencies last from two weeks to two months and include room, board, and studio.
Artists of brilliance come to Yaddo today – choreographers, filmmakers, and performance artists, along with those working in more traditional forms. All are chosen by panels of their peers for residencies lasting from two weeks to two months. As always, Yaddo supports the process of creativity without regard to fashion, commerce, or personal means.
Some believe that the land itself at Yaddo is the source of mystical creative power. The property on which Yaddo now stands previously housed a farm, gristmill, and tavern operated by Jacobus Barhyte, a Revolutionary War veteran. Many well-known writers of the 1830s and 1840s dined at Barhyte’s tavern, among them Edgar Allan Poe, who is said to have written at least part of “The Raven” on a visit there.
Nearly 5,500 creative artists have walked Katrina’s woods and found the peace and guaranteed privacy necessary for creative work. Though much has changed since 1900, Yaddo’s mission – to provide artists with uninterrupted time to work, good working conditions, and a supportive community – has remained central to its operation, and in recent years the Board of Directors had reasserted Yaddo’s original commitment to aesthetic daring, social egalitarianism, internationalism, and the support of artists at political risk.
Today, Yaddo offers residencies to professional creative artists from all nations and backgrounds working in one or more of the following media: choreography, film, literature, musical composition, painting, performance art, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video. While the work made at Yaddo today reflects contemporary sensibilities, styles, and forms, the fundamental mission that sustains this achievement has remained constant.