Inspired by the legacy of great artist residencies such as Yaddo and MacDowell as well as Taos' own Helene Wurlizer Foundation, artist-in-residency programs provide space and time in which visual artists, writers, musicians and other makers have the opportunity to experience profound creative growth and breakthrough.
During the pandemic, many artists lucky enough to be awarded these residencies have been able to spend this time productively, without the stress of the world imposing too much on the creative process.
Atop a 19th-century lighthouse in Plum Gut Harbor, a glowing sphere illuminates Long Island Sound.
Over the past five years, sculptor Randy Polumbo has converted part of the interior of Orient Point Light into an artist's residency. The artist, also the founder of eco-construction company Plant, is known for his gargantuan "lodestars," which he's constructed for Burning Man and Coachella, as well as "grottos" -- like the one in the Orient Point lighthouse.
"It's my micro philanthropy, where someone can come stay a few weeks and write the great American novel," Polumbo said. And they can do so entirely off the grid. Polumbo has outfitted the structure with USB ports, outlets, appliances and a composting toilet, all of which run on energy generated from a newly installed windmill and solar panels.
Situated in the bay on a rocky outcropping that requires a boat to get to and from the mainland, this experience takes social distancing to a whole other level!
As the first artist chosen for a residency at the lighthouse, Taos/Santa Fe resident Erin Currier shared some images with Tempo.
"I am honored and delighted to be the first artist-in-resident at the world's first green, solar-powered lighthouse artist residency," said Currier. "The lighthouse has been a fully functional beacon of light across the treacherous night seas since it was built, then alighted, by its first keeper in 1889.
"A century and a quarter later, my friend, artist, master builder and visionary Randy Polumbo, gripped by a higher poetic madness, has transformed it into a work of art and a sustainable and inspiring work space for artists."