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Renaissance House Retreat for Writers and Artists in Martha's Vineyard Announces 2018 Season
Applications are being accepted for July through September 2018. The retreat was founded by Abigail McGrath and sponsored by Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation in Oak Bluffs. It's designed for writers of color and writers of social justice.
By: Renaissance House: A Retreat for Artists & Writer
Renaissance House is a writers and artists retreat sponsored by the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation For Artists In Need. Both women were writers of the Harlem Renaissance.
"The retreat provides the time in which to create new works or finish existing ones. Renaissance House is one of the few retreats designed for issue-oriented writers, writers of color and writers of social justice," explained Abigail McGrath, founder and director of Renaissance House and daughter of poet Helene Johnson. "The program is offered to artists who do not have the luxury of time."
Helene Johnson was a poet and summer Martha's Vineyard resident, who had to stop writing in order to support her family. Her cousin, novelist and short story writer Dorothy West, was a year-round Martha's Vineyard island resident who worked at Harbor Side Restaurant until Jacqueline Kennedy spotted her writing in the MV Gazette and gave her the opportunity to simply "stare at the trees and do nothing." This enabled West to write "The Wedding," a best-selling novel inspired by the interracial marriage of Abigail and Tony McGrath. "The Wedding" was also produced as a television mini-series by Oprah Winfrey and starred Halle Berry.
At Renaissance House: A Retreat for Artists and Writers, a resident can stay for one or two weeks. The Rates are: $600 for a shared double and $900 for a single with a w/c. Arrival is on a Sunday and departure is on Saturday. The fee includes breakfast and dinner, (no lunch) workshops, lectures, trips, and classes. There is no application fee or reading fee. For commuter residents on Martha's Vineyard, the fee is $150.
The Renaissance House program includes formal sit down dinners and presentations by local and visiting writers, such as: Jill Nelson, Jessica Harris, Kate Feiffer, Susan Kline, Robert Hayden, Marty Nadler, Nat Benjamin, Shirley Craig and Brooks Robards Janet Hill, Elisabeth Benedict and others.
Other features of the Renaissance House retreat include: structured writing for at least four hours a day, Silent Wednesdays, in which nobody speaks all day and Thursday readings, where a professional reader comes in to read works aloud. On Fridays, there is a special Renaissance House Open House in which the residents present the work that they have created during the week to the public.
"Renaissance House admits writers to the program who span different stages in their careers—from emerging writers to notable award winners," explained McGrath, who founded the retreat in 2001. "The point of the program is to give artists "alone" time, away from their families and their jobs and the everyday chores that make up a life. Artists who need "a room of their own."
The dates are:
Sunday, July 22,
Sunday, July 29,
Sunday, August 5,
Sunday, August 12,
Sunday, August 19
Sunday, August 26
Sunday, September 2
Sunday, September 9
Sunday, September 16
Sunday, September 23
For more information, check out the website http://www.renaissance-