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.
A Letter from the Artistic Executive Director
A Letter from the Artistic Executive Director
I am very excited to start the 46th year of Castle Hill with so much happening and with so much excitement! Over a year ago we purchased beautiful Edgewood Farm, and this winter we have spent time renovating and making important “green” updates and improvements to the three historic buildings. For the first time in our history we will be able to offer housing to students who are taking workshops, and follow us this Spring as we roll-out our new Artist-In-Residency Program!
We have an incredible line-up of faculty this year with Lesley Dill, Alison Saar, Laylah Ali, Melissa Meyer and Warren Seelig as our Honored Chairs, and we are honoring a local writer as our 2017 Woody English Distinguished Artist & Writers Chair: William Mann. His new book The War of the Roosevelts is receiving a huge amount of attention and acclaim! William will give a public lecture and teach a workshop this August.
The other exciting news is that we are bringing the “Farm” back to Edgewood Farm. We will be offering permaculture workshops, a lavender workshop, a new “community garden” and two lectures by renowned gardener C.L. Fornari. She will speak about "Growing Vegetables on Cape Cod" and "The Cocktail Hour Garden" which will take place in the gardens and, of course, with cocktails!
Please come and be part of the Castle Hill community; we welcome all, from 6 to 96 years old (and beyond!). We are diverse, we are professional, we are creative, and we are fun!
With warm regards,
Artistic Executive Director
A Letter from the Board Presidents
A Letter from the Board Presidents
Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill is a destination where journeys begin. Everyone is welcome to join, beginning or continuing an artistic exploration of new possibilities. Castle Hill opens doors to a whole range of opportunities, offering a great variety of artistic practices, sensibilities, traditions, aesthetic perspectives, mediums ancient and new that can certainly make one's life more interesting and rewarding. The Arts have the power to ignite creative energy. Making art in all of it's forms sparks curiosity when one question leads to the next. It powers the imagination and drives ambition. The process is exhilarating!
At Castle Hill personal journeys can begin by enrolling in a workshop, visiting an exhibition, writing, listening, or attending social events and being part of the wonderful diverse community that believes that the Arts are essential to all of us. Truro Center For the Arts' mission is to offer creative experiences that are transformative.
Tina (Elsa) Tarantal, Board Co-President
Nancy Rahnasto Osborne, Board Co-President
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.
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
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 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.
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.
We are very excited to announce that we now have limited housing available at Edgewood Farm for students who are taking workshops at Castle Hill. Click below for more information:
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.
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.