Hello!  My name is Susan Goodwillie and I am the Associate Director of SPACE on Ryder Farm.  This summer I had the pleasure of facilitating SPACE’s Artists on the Farm Collective. 

The collective was created with three goals in mind:

1. To begin the restoration of The Sycamores (the Ryder family homestead).

2. To build a network of people who know and actively support SPACE.

3. To gather information about how to effectively host/facilitate a creative retreat.

A little bit more on what the Artists on the Farm Collective is…                                  

Last spring SPACE set out to assemble a body of artists.  These people are contemporaries of ours whose creative work we admire greatly.  Moreover, they are a band of beautiful souls who have the capacity to build, grow, and sustain SPACE.  The collective committed to spending seven weekends of their summer up at Ryder Farm.  Each weekend boasted two components:  

THE WORK:  The work on the farm was focused on restoring The Sycamores – the 1790’s born Ryder Family homestead.  The Sycamores is the nucleus of SPACE’s operation and at the beginning of the summer, was most certainly a historic building in need of a face-lift.  The collective spent approximately 8-10 hours per weekend scraping, spackling, and repainting walls.  We also sorted and organized the contents of the house, cleaned, and decorated the interior. 

THE ARTISTRY:  Each weekend was creatively themed and hosted by a different member of the Collective.  Playwriting workshops, drawing and painting classes, singing lessons, yoga retreats, and the writing and performing of plays ensued.

 …Oh and one more goal…Admittedly, my secret (or not so secret) goal of the summer was to make at least one person fall in love… 

We had our work cut out for us.

Approximately 25 people participated in the Artists on the Farm Collective.  Some folks were only able to come for a day or a weekend, while others completed the summer with perfect attendance.  Every single person who came contributed an enormous amount to our endeavor, and did so with grace, commitment, and love. 

Each of our goals was met.  In fact, our expectations were exceeded.

1.  The house looks FANTASTIC and is absolutely inhabitable.  Various artistic groups have already had the pleasure of taking advantage of The Sycamores, thanks to the work we got accomplished!

2.  The Collective was met with a deep sense of accomplishment.  Their work together, sharing of creative gifts, and the invaluable experience of spending quality time at Ryder Farm (an environment that we all crave but rarely spend enough time in) made for a special summer.  The “hostings” were an enormous success and everyone was extremely generous with their talents.  SPACE 

3.  Emily and I gained invaluable insight into running retreats and creative workshops.  The experience of creating a business is very new to both of us.  We wouldn’t be nearly as far along without the advice, support, thoughtfulness, and belief of the people that have participated so far.  What has been accomplished is beyond our hopes and we are so thankful and inspired to continue.

 …And as for falling in love…  I can only speak for myself when I say that I fell in love every weekend that I was at Ryder Farm.  We will be posting week-by-week accounts of what happened at SPACE here and on facebook.  Each post will give you a little peek into our time at SPACE on Ryder Farm.  Hopefully next summer, you can join us!

       -Susan Goodwillie