U.S. Sen Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for designation of the 400-acre Yaddo artists’ retreat in Saratoga Springs as a National Historic Landmark.
In a letter Friday to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, New York’s junior senator stressed the artistic tradition of the site, which was founded in 1900 by financier Spencer Trask.
“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,” Gillibrand wrote. “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.”
The historic gardens at Yaddo attract more than 50,000 visitors each year.
Elaina Richardson, president of Yaddo, described this moment in history as a crucial one for the artists’ retreat, where ground recently was broken for its first-ever “purpose-built studios.”
She stressed the role the site has played in developing the country’s culture for more than 100 years. It has hosted Langston Hughes, Carson McCullers, Philip Guston, Martin Puryear, Saul Bellow and more than 6,000 other artists and writers.
“We are well-poised to play as culturally significant a role in the 21st century as we did in the 20th,” Richardson said in a statement. “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.”
The entire text of Gillibrand’s letter is available on the Capital Region Scene blog at http://dailygazette.com/weblogs/capital-region-scene.