Today in Artist Residencies We Love: The James Merrill House in Stonington, CT

This desk could be yours.

Our recent partnership with Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, NY, has got us thinking about how important it is for an artist to have the time and space to complete a project, especially in these ADD days of tabbed browsing, Twitter, and iPhones at the dinner table. Right now we’re digging the James Merrill House in the seaside town of Stonington, CT, which offers a seasonal Writer-in-Residence program at the former apartment of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet. The place was converted to an artist’s haven by the Stonington Village Improvement Association (SVIA) in 1995, following Merrill’s death, as a tribute to the writer, who’d spent nearly 40 summers there with his companion David Jackson, famously hovering over the Ouija board that starred in his epic poem, The Changing Light at Sandover. Click the jump for photos, and to learn more.

SVIA has done a remarkable job keeping the place in its original, James-Merrill-esque state: bright coral walls, a loud turquoise couch, wild wallpapers, fancy busts of fancy ladies, furniture and accents both ornate and modern–physical reminders that the task of making art should be joyful, incongruous, fruitful and clashing in a good way. 
Pulitzer Prize winning napping area

Amanda Stern is taking a trip down to Stonington tonight to get a firsthand look at the digs, and she’ll be reporting back to us from the frontline very soon. In the meantime, if spending a season in the home of a famous writer in a charming New England hamlet (that’s just minutes away from Mystic Pizza, mind you), you should do some research of your own. To apply for a Fall or Spring residency, or to donate to the program, visit the James Merrill House website. The organization also hosts readings, conversations and other events, so be sure to sign up for updates, and check the newsletter, to stay in the know. 


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