Millay Colony for the Arts

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The Millay Colony for the Arts is an arts community offering residency-retreats and workshops in Austerlitz, New York, and free arts programs in local public schools. Housed on the former property of Pulitzer Prize-winning feminist/activist poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay, the Colony's campus offers artists, students, and art lovers residencies, retreats, and classes.



In 1925, Edna St. Vincent Millay bought Steepletop, a house with a blueberry farm in Austerlitz, NY, named after a pink, conical wildflower that grows there.[1] With her husband, Millay built a barn from a Sears Roebuck kit, and then a writing cabin, and a tennis court.

After the poet's death in 1950, her sister Norma Millay Ellis moved to Steepletop. In 1973, she founded The Millay Colony, which was established as a nonprofit organization.[2] Norma Millay Ellis donated the barn and surrounding acreage to The Millay Colony. The barn was subsequently renovated to provide accommodations and studio space for four resident artists.

In the mid-1990s, The Millay Colony commissioned architectural firm Michael Singer Studio, in consultation with an advisory committee of six artists with disabilities, to design an additional building for the Colony using the principles of universal access and environmentally friendly design.[3]

This 3,550 square foot building currently houses The Millay Colony's offices and public rooms, and provides accommodations and studio space for three additional artists, for a total capacity of seven.

The Colony is adjacent to Steepletop, Edna St. Vincent Millay's former home and gardens, which today are maintained by the Millay Society (established as a nonprofit in 1972). The Millay Society also holds rights to the poet's intellectual property and operates as a separate organization from The Millay Colony. The house and gardens are a National Historic Landmark.

Arts education[edit]

The Millay Colony offers Workshop Retreats, formulated and taught by artists with a commitment to teaching. These affordable, multi-day classes, held on The Millay Colony's campus, invite artists at all stages of their career to develop new work while engaging with other artists.

Concurrently, the Colony offers a multiform program of arts education to more than 500 public school children in four local school districts each year, as well as professional development/teacher training on using the arts across disciplines for local teachers.


The Millay Colony offers residencies to emerging and established visual artists, writers, and composers—individually and in collaborating groups – from April to November. These artists and groups receive private bedrooms and private studios as well as all meals and access to the Colony's libraries, darkroom, music room and the natural resources on the campus adjacent Harvey Mountain State Forest.

October 1 is the date to apply for residencies in April to July of the following year.

March 1 is the date to apply for residencies in August to November of the same year.

All residencies are reviewed anonymously by juries of artists, critics and curators. The Colony hosts over 60 residents per year.

Notable residents[edit]








Visual arts[edit]


  1. ^ The New York Times, May 16, 1986.
  2. ^ "Millay Farm Becoming an Arts Colony," The New York Times, February 20, 1974.
  3. ^ "An Artists' Retreat Is Extending Its Welcome," New York Times, October 3, 1996.
  4. ^ Koblenz, Eleanor. "Time is Great Blessing of Millay Colony". Daily Gazette.
  5. ^ "Millay Colony for the Arts - Issue 12". Millay Newsletter.
  6. ^ "Millay Colony for the Arts - Issue 11". Millay Newsletter.
  7. ^ Where Big Books Are Born: Danez Smith on the Millay Colony" Poets & Writers, March/April 2018


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°19′17.22″N 73°26′28.79″W / 42.3214500°N 73.4413306°W / 42.3214500; -73.4413306