March 04, 2013

Gillibrand Announces Yaddo Achieves Historic Landmark Designation

400-Acre Site Housed Influential American Artists - Ranging from Truman Capote, Amy Tan, Langston Hughes

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced Yaddo has officially achieved National Historic Landmark Status, with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar giving his final stamp approval for the designation, which Senator Gillibrand personally advocated for.  

“Saratoga’s own Yaddo is a source of great pride and has a legacy of artistic tradition that sparked a century’s worth of creativity that continues to enrich our lives,” Senator Gillibrand said. “To this day, Yaddo continues to house artists on the same grounds that were once home to some of America’s most influential artists. This landmark status gives Yaddo the recognition it deserves in America’s history, and can help attract more visitors and strengthen our tourism industry for years to come.”

“We are extremely pleased and honored to receive this designation in recognition of Yaddo’s essential role in shaping American culture for the past century,” Yaddo President Elaina H. Richardson said. “The timing couldn’t be more fortuitous as we prepare to open a new state-of the-art studio facility and to complete a Facilities Master Plan which will guide our second century of supporting artists. We’re especially grateful for the support of our elected officials throughout the nomination process and to our Board and members for their hard work and dedication to this remarkable place.”

Yaddo offers residencies to professional artists that work in choreography, film, literature, musical composition, painting, performance art, photography, printmaking, sculpture and video. Since Yaddo’s opening in 1900, artists who have worked there have collectively won 66 Pulitzer Prizes, 27 MacArthur Fellowships, 61 National Book Awards, 40 National Book Critics Circle Awards, 108 Rome Prizes, 51 Whiting Writer’s Awards and a Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, and countless other honors.

In a series of letters to U.S. Interior Secretary Salazar, Senator Gillibrand called for his approval of landmark status, emphasizing Yaddo’s place in American art history – giving refuge and inspiration to budding artists, and offering beautiful recreational space to local residents and visiting tourists.

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s most recent letter calling for the historic landmark designation is below:

November 29, 2012

 

The Honorable Ken Salazar

Secretary

United States Department of the Interior

1849 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20240

 

Dear Secretary Salazar,

 

I am writing to you today on behalf of Yaddo as you consider potential sites for National Historic Landmark Designation. I strongly encourage you to designate Yaddo as a National Historic Landmark which I understand has now been recommended for this honor by the National Parks System Advisory Board.

 

Yaddo is a beautiful 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, New York with the purpose of inspiring creative innovation in American artists who are chosen to live and work there. Founded in 1900 by Spencer and Katrina Trask, Yaddo has supported various talented artists by offering them a quiet location in which to conduct their work and collaborate with others alike. Yaddo has been a haven for many notable artists and American cultural icons such as Truman Capote, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Edgar Allan Poe, all of whom have praised the nurturing and stimulating environment that Yaddo provides.

 

To this day, Yaddo offers a home to filmmakers, performers, musicians and those working in traditional forms without regard to financial means. Each guest is chosen by a panel of their peers and is permitted to stay for up to two months. The preservation of this wonderful and unique site would not only ensure the conservation of its inimitable history but it would also allow its sustained operation and a future home for current and young artists. The designation of National Historic Landmark would allow Yaddo to receive the resources it needs to continue to play a key role in the support of America’s artists.

 

Thank you for your attention to this important request.  If you should have any questions or would like more information about my request, please contact Jamal Halepota (Jamal_Halepota@gillibrand.senate.gov) in my Washington, DC office.