In late 2009, Emily Simoness (a 7th generation Ryder) visited her extended family’s historic farm in Brewster, New York, for the first time. Upon that first visit to Ryder Farm, she saw potential for a one-of-a-kind residency – an artistic home away from home for the thousands of artists living in the New York City area. Soon afterwards, SPACE on Ryder Farm was born.

SPACE creates an environment singular in its ability to invigorate artists and innovators and their work, and contributes to the sustainability and resourceful preservation of one of the oldest family-run organic farms on the East Coast.

In six seasons, with the help of an army of inspired supporters, volunteers, friends and family SPACE has become a place where artists and activists come to do their most important work. SPACE has hosted over 1000 residents, held symposia on the intersection of creativity and activism, piloted a program that provides childcare for resident artists, developed initiatives that integrate SPACE’s programming and the organic farming operation and nurtured 40 young professionals through its intern program.

SPACE has received generous support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Dramatists Guild Fund, Putnam County Arts Council, Puffin Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, as well as hundreds of individual donors.


Emily gave a TEDx Broadway talk about her founding of SPACE:

Following Your Life’s Path, Not Your Life’s Plan

Emily Simoness always assumed she'd be a famous actress. That was the plan, but that's not how it worked out. In this talk, she tells the story of starting her non-profit SPACE on Ryder Farm and how it was the path, not the plan that she ultimately followed.