A location, nestled in the dunes of Truro and within walking distance to Cape Cod bay, provides an inspirational and meditative backdrop that enhances the workshop experience. A distinguished faculty that consists of prominent artists in the fields of painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, jewelry and writing. A student body consists of both working artists and art students who hail from all over the USA and Canada. Today Castle Hill celebrates its 44th year Anniversary.
A sweeping overlook of the original Castle Hill campus, taken with a drone camera by David A. Cox
Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill has served a single purpose for more than 40 years: to create an inclusive and supportive arts community by providing a wide range of artistic experiences to students at all levels of ability. Energized by a faculty of distinguished artists and writers and enlivened by a welcoming and engaging community, Castle Hill offers workshops, lectures, exhibitions, performances, special events and short-term artist residencies. Located in an exquisitely beautiful rural setting, Castle Hill provides unique and inspiring learning experiences to all who come here.
by Joyce Johnson
In 1971 Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill was taking its first tentative steps toward becoming a successful art center. And tentative was the word. There was no money, just a wonderful old New England barn that had cried out for years to be converted to an art center. Eventually the cry was heard by a group of people who wanted just that. The alternative would have been fateful for the Snow's Stables, over a century old and once the hub of community activity. Built around 1882, it was used by Charles W. Snow for multiple purposes, including keeping a team of horses, storing equipment for his building trade, and serving as a retail paint store. He also rented sections to ever-changing tenants.
Contractor Peter Brown, who bought the property in the 1960s, told a group of people who first assembled to discuss the barn's future that if artists were not interested in using the space as studios or for a school, he would demolish the building and use the lot for another purpose.
I attended that meeting of a handful of artists and craftsmen in August 1971. It was organized by the late Harry Hollander, who wanted a place to teach his specialty, working in plastics. Those who met at the home of craftsman Albert Kaufman were indeed very interested in the availability of studio space, even creating an art center. But without funds, and no one offering to produce them, the meeting ended without resolve, except thatBrown was encouraged enough by the group's interest to move forward with renovations to stabilize the building, with the hope of renting sections as artists' studios.
For five years I had been running the Nauset School of Sculpture at my studio in North Eastham. Several weeks after the meeting, Hollander found me at my Truro home. Someone had pointed the general direction of my isolated homestead in a kettle pot and he arrived, tramping through a swamp and brambles, having missed the dirt road leading in. He suggested that I move my school to the barn and add a few diverse workshops to the program, including his particular workshop on plastic techniques. He urged me to take a look at what Brown was doing to renovate and repair the barn-adding windows for north light and reconstructing floors and walls to convert the barn into seven individual studios.
I followed the suggestion the next day and when I saw the new space, any questions and concerns faded away. If nothing else, I decided to rent the spacious main studio for my sculpture school, convinced my luck for running the school in Eastham during rainless summers in a grove of pine trees without shelter would soon run out. Doris Harris, a ceramics teacher from Binghamton, New York, with a summer home in Wellfleet, had been a student in my school for several years and became very interested in the idea of a summer school in Truro also. She agreed to set up a ceramic department, a major start for a summer craft program. We told Brown we wanted to rent another room. Then we asked for two more as other artists and craftspeople expressed interest in teaching.
The first official meeting of a steering committee occurred in my Eastham home. It included Rigmor Holbrook Plezner and George Zilliac, both of Orleans, and myself. Eleanor Meldahl of Truro was invited but unable to attend. We decided to move forward. My sculpture school mailing list of about 200 people and a barrage of news releases began to inform people that an art center would be opening in late June close to the picturesque Pamet River in Truro. The news was well-received.
Funding was still an issue. I said I would work on the project without recompense until we saw what might happen. Brown said he would postpone the date to receive rent until June, a significant reprieve. And I borrowed $250 on my newly acquired Master Charge card-all that was needed to get out the first one-page brochure describing 15 workshops.
Teachers agreed that the Center would not be obligated to run a workshop if the number of students needed to break even was not reached. The list of instructors was small but, in retrospect, formidable. Among them wereRobert Vickrey, an internationally known egg tempera specialist who lives in Orleans, and New York sculptor Sidney Simon who has a summer home in Truro. Printmaker Jan Gelb of Provincetown agreed to teach, along with New Hampshire weaver Mary Bishop and Orleans poet Thomas Whitbread. Orleans printmaker Marcia Howe would teach experimental printmaking and Hollander, who lived year-round in Truro, would teach jewelry-making with plastics. His wife, Ruth, and Harris would comprise the ceramics department.
The Center had approached Dan Klubock, a Boston lawyer, to begin applying for non-profit status, which was finally certified a year or so later. He also counseled me, in the initial stages during the fall of 1971, to squelch a move by several residents of Castle Road to stop the Center. Since schools are allowed in residential areas, the attempt was groundless and thankfully faded away. We, of course, had no idea whether the Center would succeed. I was prepared to lose no more than $2000 that first summer. As it worked out, we made a "profit" of about that much, some of which was paid me as salary. We need not have feared. The response to Castle Hill was steady and enthusiastic. Volunteers began to surface. Many, such as Ella Jackson, Mary Lou Friedman and Eleanor Meldahl, are still working to keep the center afloat with fundraising and promotional efforts and of course there were Doris and Chet Harris, without whom there would never have been a ceramic department. The economic reality was that even with so many volunteers, tuition still covered only about half of the operating costs. A board of trustees to help with fundraising was critical and soon came together.
Truro proved to be the ideal location. The town had no center for artists and writers. All ages were soon attracted to Castle Hill as though there were a magnet hidden among the barn's weathered beams. Some came to learn, others to teach or to fold flyers and stick labels on them. Others came to meet others-to feel a part of a worthwhile project.
Josiah Child, a retired Boston architect, had recently bought a home in Truro just up the hill from the Center. As a board member, he saw its potential and invited Louise Tate, the director of the newly-formed Massachusetts Council for the Arts, to see Castle Hill in the early fall, after the first summer. She liked what she saw and gave the Center its first grant, $5000 for administrative salaries, which was repeated a second year. By the end of the first trial summer we were renting five of the seven studios. A year later we took over the entire barn and tower, which had become the Center's administrative offices.
The next eight years were thrilling and exhausting. Each summer the enrollment increased at least 10 percent. The evenings as well as the days were filled with classes and events. A lecture and concert series drew crowds of over 100 people. In a few years the number of classes rose to over 40 offerings, among them a series of writing courses. Courses on nature were added, such as experimenting with natural dyes with Cape Cod National Seashore naturalist Hal Hinds. Dr. Graham Giese and Barbara and Charles "Stormy" Mayo taught coastal ecology and sea life and were excited enough by the response to start their own school the next year-the Center for Coastal Studies, which is now nationally acclaimed for its whale research.
Some of the most exciting workshops in those early days centered on the ceramic department, with ceramicist Mikhail Zakin acting as the Pied Piper of clay. She led students to discover over 12 natural clays at local beaches, most low-fire, but a few high-fire. They experimented with the clays and one summer built a wood-fired kiln in the back area, staying up for 24 hours to feed the straw and clay hulk filled with hand-crafted pots. Primitive pit firing was another course that attracted large classes.
The success of the Center was not without its down moments. Harris, on Memorial Weekend just before our anticipated opening in late June 1972, complained of a backache and went home to Binghamton to see her doctor. Within a short time she was diagnosed with cancer. She taught only one day at the Center and passed away the next spring, leaving a gaping hole in our program and dreams. She and her husband had completely outfitted the ceramic department with its sturdy tables, secondhand metal stools, deck, and kick wheels lovingly designed and constructed for the program.
In 1975, with only three years under our belt, Brown said he intended to sell the property and offered it to the fledgling board at a generously low price. A yearlong fundraising effort produced the down payment and we became landowners, filled with both excitement and anxiety.
The need for a strong board became clear if the Center was to honor its new obligations in maintaining the two buildings and the grounds. Friedman, a summer resident, agreed to become president of the board for a year and was succeeded by comic strip creator Lee Falk, who also had a summer home in Truro. He instituted a financial plan that has kept the Center in the black for almost two decades, giving subsequent presidents freedom to address the many other challenges that have arisen since Castle Hill's infancy.
Joyce Johnson, a writer and sculptor, was the founder of Castle Hill, president for six years, and director for eight years. This story was printed in Provincetown Arts magazine.
A Letter from the Executive Director
A Letter from the Executive Director
I am so excited to start this 45th year of Castle Hill with the purchase of Edgewood Farm! This has been a work in progress for almost 3 years beginning with a vision committee, to a feasibility study, to a 5 year strategic plan. We redesigned our logo, created a new website, we raised all the money for this purchase with no debt! We could not have done this without the help of the Castle Hill Board and the amazing community of artists that we serve.
We now have our work cut out for us. To grow, to create an artist in residency program, to build a net-zero “green” printmaking studio, to maintain 5 beautiful buildings on 7 acres of land, to bring the “farm” back to Edgewood Farm will take community support and effort.
This is an incredible time for this organization! As we grow, as we look to the future, I can’t help but thank Joyce Johnson (the founder). Her vision and her spirit that has brought Castle Hill together, starting with a committed group of artists to save an old barn! And I feel like we have just done it again 45 years later!! Please consider getting involved!
Take a look at this catalog! We have an incredible line up of teachers and we continue to serve the mission of what we do best. I look forward to breaking bread and popping some champagne this Spring and Summer with each and every one of you!
With warm regards,
Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Nancy Rahnasto Osborne, Co-President
Elsa (Tina) Tarantal, Co-President
Judy Huge, Co-Vice President
Rob Silverstein, Co-Vice President
David Grayson, Treasurer
Peter Sullivan, Finance Chair
Marianne A. Kinzer, Recording Secretary
Lois Hirshberg, Corresponding Secretary
Robert Jackson, Past President
EJ Terry Kahn
Diane Adams Rice
Robert Rindler Bettina Rosarius
Traci Harmon Hay
Lynne Rucki Hultin
Joan Lebold Cohen
Elsa (Tina) Tarantal
The Castle Hill Chairs of 2016
The Castle Hill Chairs of 2016
The Bread and Puppet Theater was founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann on New York City’s Lower East Side. Besides rod-puppet and hand puppet shows for children, the concerns of the first productions were rents, rats, police, and other problems of the neighborhood. More complex theater pieces followed, in which sculpture, music, dance and language were equal partners. The traveling puppet shows range from tightly composed theater pieces presented by members of the company, to extensive outdoor pageants which require the participation of many volunteers. Bread and Puppet is one of the oldest, nonprofit, self-supporting theatrical companies in the country.
Joshua Krugman is a poet, fiddler, and puppeteer who lives and works in Glover, Vermont with the Bread and Puppet Theater. He has performed in Bread and Puppet's Fire, Captain Boycott, The Underneath the Above Show # 1, and The Seditious Conspiracy Theater Presents: A Monument to Oscar Lopez Rivera, as well as various Circuses, Pageants, and parades. His poems have appeared in Osiris, The Bitter Oleander, Ostranenie, and Matter.
Joe Therrien studied puppetry in the University of Connecticut's MFA puppetry program. He has performed with many theaters including the Connecticut Repertory Theater, Great Small works (Brooklyn, NY), Papel Machete (San Juan, Puerto Rico), and Semi-Upright Puppet Theater (Brooklyn, NY). He has worked and toured with Bread and Puppet Theater for the last 2 years performing in many shows including Birdcatcher in Hell, Fire, Man Says Goodbye to His Mother, Kingstory, President and Chair, and The Public Access Center for the Obvious Presents: History.
Esteli Kitchen is a musician, puppeteer, performer and aspiring horticulturalist. She has toured with Bread & Puppet Theater extensively over the last 4 years. Her favorite style of circus acts are animal acts and she's still trying to figure out why bass drum hits make everything funnier.
Thomas Cunningham has worked with Bread and Puppet for 2 1/2 years, playing music, creating puppet shows and leading various workshops. Previously Thomas worked with several short-tempered restaurateurs, and he also used to sell tickets to stand-up comedy shows in Times Square. He is originally from St. Louis, MO.
Bread and Puppet Theater will be teaching a workshop Giant Puppet and Circus Workshop on August 23 - 27, and they will be performing on Friday August 27th at 5pm at Edgewood Farm.
Mary Beth Meehan is a photojournalist and documentary photographer most recently known for her large-scale portraits of Providence residents installed as billboard-sized banners in that city, entitled Seen/Unseen. Mary Beth has spent twenty years working intimately within her own communities, meeting strangers and telling important stories. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally, including in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Le Monde. For more, please visit www.marybethmeehan.com
She will be teaching a workshop: Photographing Strangers on August 8 - 12 from 9am - 12pm
A painter and arts writer, Sharon Butler is widely known as the publisher of the award-winning art blog Two Coats of Paint. She is affiliated with the MFA programs at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and the University of Connecticut and has exhibited her work in numerous NYC galleries and universities. In January 2016, Theodore: Art in Brooklyn, NY, hosted a solo show of her work. www.sharonlbutler.com
She will be teaching Artist's Book on July 11 - 17 from 1 - 4pm
Jabari Asim’s 14 books include a forthcoming book of poetry, Sing It Like A God. His poems have been widely anthologized, as well as published in Painted Bride Quarterly, American Poetry Review and other journals. His awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009. He is an associate professor and director of the MFA program in creative writing at Emerson College.
He will be teaching a workshop The News From Poems on July 11 - 15 from 9am - 12pm.
Anna Poor is a sculptor with deep roots to the Cape. She is a founder and owner of ArtStrand Gallery in Provincetown. She has had numerous one person and group shows and awards, including a mid-career survey in 2010 at Provincetown Art Association and Museum and a Massachusetts Artist fellowship in 2001. This May, Poor is having a solo exhibition at Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy. She is represented by Taylor/Graham Gallery in New York City and Sladmore Contemporary in London, UK. She has been on the board of Castle Hill since 1988 and currently teaches at Lesley University/College of Art and Design.
She will be teaching two workshops : Wood Working on July 18 - 22 from 9am - 12pm and Stone Carving on Aug 1 - 4 from 9am - 12:30pm.
From Bakersville, North Carolina, Michael Kline is a full time studio potter, known for his fluid brushwork and strong traditional wood-fired forms. He received his BFA from the University of Tennessee and was artist in residence at the Penland School of Crafts from 1998-2001. He was recently featured in the instructional video, “The Brush & the Wheel” produced by Ceramics Arts Daily.
He will be teaching a workshop The Brush and The Wheel on July 18 - 22 from 9am - 1pm.
They will be teaching Flames, Smoke and Color: Naked Raku and Alternative Firing on July 25 - 29 from 9am - 3pm
She will be teaching Handbuilding Paper Clay: Developing Personal Form on September 12-16 from 9am - 3pm
Castle Hill does not provide housing for students but a list of possible accommodations is available upon request.
You can also contact local Chambers of Commerce:
Cape Air flies from Terminal C, Gate 33 at Boston's Logan Airport direct to Provincetown Airport at Race Point. The 25-minute flight is beautiful in clear weather. Call (800) 352-0714 or (508) 771-6944 for information, or go to www.flycapeair.com.
Regular bus service from New York, Boston and Providence. For information, call (508) 771-6191, or (508) 746-4795 or go to www.p-b.com.
Truro is very close to the extreme tip of Cape Cod (one town before). Driving time from Boston is about two and a half hours, from New York about six hours. Follow the directions below by car.
This Summer the Cape Cod Regional Authority will run what is called the “Flex Route”. It will serve Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, Brewster and Harwich. To find out how to get to Castle Hill and get the times call: 1-800-352-7155 or go to: www.theflex.org for the schedule.
Route 6 to Truro Center Exit/ Pamet Road - Look for the Sign (above). Take right at the end of ramp, another right and a right after going under the bridge. Follow road past Jam’s Grocery and Post Office. Take the first left past Post Office (about 200 ft) this is CASTLE ROAD. Proceed 1 mile. You come to a triangle intersection - take quick short right . The tower is in front of you - the roads that intersect are Castle Road and Meetinghouse Road.
Follow above - but take left after going under bridge and then an immediate right onto Depot Road - it is the first drive way on the right - 1 depot road.
Route 6 - Past Hillside Farms, Bayberry Nursery. Take first RIGHT after Shady Rest Cottages. At split take sharp right. Proceed up the hill. At top of hill - take the middle road in front of you (Meetinghouse Road). At the bottom of the hill the tower is on the right.
Route 6. Take Truro Center Exit/ Pamet Road on your right. Take you’re first left (Depot Road) up a hill. Take first drive on right.