2017 Castle Hill Honorary Chairs

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The Woody English Distinguished Artist and Writers’ Chair

William J. Mann is an author and historian whose most recent book, The Wars of the Roosevelts: The Ruthless Rise of America’s Greatest Political Family (HarperCollins) chronicles a heretofore unknown chapter in that fabled family’s past. His Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood won the 2014 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and is being developed as a television series for FX. Mann’s other books include the New York Times Notable Book Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, called “definitive” by the Sunday Times of London. He is an Associate Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, and divides his time between New York and Provincetown.

William is teaching a workshop, "Creative Nonfiction: How to Write the Nonfiction Novel," from August 7 - 10.




Laylah Ali is an artist best known for her paintings of meticulously drawn, colorful allegorical figures, including her long running "Greenheads series" and her newest work "The Acephalous series”. Ali’s works are included in the permanent collections of numerous public institutions, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, among many others. She is a professor of art at Williams College and represented by Paul Kasmin gallery.

Laylah is teaching a workshop, “The Daily Portrait,” from August 21 – 25.




Lesley Dill is one of the most prominent American artists working at the intersection of language and fine art. Her drawings, sculptures, art installations, mixed-media photographs, and evocative performances draw from both her travels abroad and profound interests in spirituality and the world’s faith traditions. Exploring the power of words to cloak and reveal the psyche, Dill invests new meaning in the human form. Intellectually and aesthetical engaging, the core of her work emerges from an essential, visionary awareness of the world. Dill’s artworks are in the collections of over fifty museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Lesley is teaching a workshop, "Dear Artist, You are a Poet," from July 24 - 28.


alison saar


Alison Saar was born in 1956 in Los Angeles, California. She studied art and art history at Scripps College and received an MFA from the Otis Art Institute. She has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and two National Endowment Fellowships. She has exhibited at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her art is represented in the collections of the Hirshhorn, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Alison is teaching a workshop, “Material as Content,” from July 24 – 28.



joyce johnson CHAIR

Warren Seelig lives and works in Rockland, Maine. He holds the rank of distinguished visiting professor in the Fibers & Material Studies program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He received a B.S. from the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science and an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Seelig has received individual fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the Pennsylvania Council on the arts. His work has been included in group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Korea and recently in Russia. Recently he and his wife (Sheryl Gibson) collaborated in a work commissioned by the World Financial Center in New York.

Warren is teaching a workshop, “Thinking Textile /Constructing Surfaces,” August 28 – Sept 1.




Melissa Meyer is represented by Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., NYC. Her traveling survey exhibitions have originated at the New York Studio School and Swarthmore College. Meyer’s public commissions include NY, Tokyo, Shanghai and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Guggenheim, Jewish Museum, and McNay Art Museum, among others. Meyer was awarded a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome and has received grants  from the NEA and the Pollock Krasner Foundation. She is a frequent artist in residence at Yaddo. Meyer is included in art historian Stephanie Buhmann’s recent book, New York Studio Conversations.

Melissa is teaching a workshop, “Collage and Abstraction,” from July 31 – Aug 4.