U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced her effort to designate Yaddo, a 400-acre artists' community in Saratoga, as a National Historic Landmark.
"Saratoga's own Yaddo has a legacy of artistic tradition that sparked a century's worth of creativity, and should be considered a National Historic Landmark," Senator Gillibrand said. "To this day, Yaddo continues to house artists on the same grounds that were once home to some of America's influential artists. Landmark status would give Yaddo the recognition it deserves in America's history, and help attract more visitors and strengthen our tourism industry."
"This is a crucial time for Yaddo as we enter our second century. As the first Artists' Retreat in the nation, and one of the most internationally renowned to this day, Yaddo looks forward to the possibility of being designated a National Historic Landmark." Said Elaina Richardson, President of Yaddo. "We have played an essential role in the shaping of our national culture (originating Aaron Copland's seminal Festivals of American Music and offering a creative home to Langston Hughes, Carson McCullers, Philip Guston, Martin Puryear, Saul Bellow and more than 6,000 other equally talented writers and artists). Our grounds have fostered the most outstanding artists of their time -- we continue to do that while also monitoring the quality and vibrancy of our program and the studio needs of today's generation of artists. We have just broken ground on our first-ever purpose built studios, and we have successfully stewarded the 19th century Trask estate to house some 210 writers, filmmakers, choreographers, painters and composers each year. Our historic gardens draw more than 50,000 visitors annually. We are well-poised to play as culturally significant a role in the 21st century as we did in the 20th. However, the demands are great and as a National Historic landmark we will be better positioned to take the necessary steps to ensure the ongoing excellence of our facilities and the tradition of attracting the best artists and writers in the world to our corner of Upstate New York."
Yaddo offers residencies to professional artists that work in choreography, film, literature, musical composition, painting, performance art, photography, printmaking, sculpture and video. Since Yaddo's opening in 1900, artists who have worked there have collectively won 66 Pulitzer Prizes, 27 MacArthur Fellowships, 61 National Book Awards, 40 National Book Critics Circle Awards, 108 Rome Prizes, 51 Whiting Writer's Awards and a Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, and countless other honors.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senator Gillibrand emphasized Yaddo's place in American art history -- giving refuge and inspiration to budding artists, and offering beautiful recreational space to local residents and visiting tourists.
The full text of Senator Gillibrand's letter is below:
Dear Secretary Salazar,
I write in support of Yaddo's candidacy to be designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park System Advisory Board.
Founded in 1900 by the financier Spencer Trask and his wife Katrina, 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 artists from all nations and backgrounds working in choreography, film, literature, musical composition, painting, performance art, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video. Artists who have worked at Yaddo have won 66 Pulitzer Prizes, 27 MacArthur Fellowships, 61 National Book Awards, 40 National Book Critics Circle Awards, 108 Rome Prizes, 51 Whiting Writers' Awards and a Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1976, and countless other honors. Designation as a National Historic Landmark will allow future generations of writers, composers, painters and other artists a chance to experience Yaddo and harness their full artistic potential.