2017 James Weldon Johnson Fellows in the Arts
Artists-in-Residence Testimonials


Selwyn Garraway

I begin my days early, working in the residence and then I spend time walking or driving out and about looking for landscape scenes, historic houses and streetscapes.

Once I find an ideal location with a combination of preferred elements and composition, I stop, set up my art materials and begin painting.

Daniel Hibbert

The experience was amazingly enriching and productive. I was able to experience first hand how inspiration flows unrestricted when you are removed from the distractions of familiar surroundings and everyday life for an extended period.

Being in Great Barrington gave me the mental and emotional space to focus on my craft while enriching my mind with reading, meditation, and fellowship with other artists.



Susan Powers

The surroundings, atmosphere and serenity of Great  Barrington and the campus at Bard at Simon's Rock is conducive to my avid productivity since I've been here.

 I've fallen into a pattern of painting every day and it's very fulfilling. I am able to paint in the house and in the studio. The flexibility of the residency has been a wonderful aspect of my time here.

Meclina Priestley

I felt adventurous and allowed my natural curiosity to flourish. I found myself speaking with staff, students and community members. Everyone was excited and seemed truly invested in knowing more.

I spent several afternoons sitting by the stream at Johnson’s house. I was able to listen, just listen. As I sat on the grass and sketched an apple tree, I was able to absorb what was abundant.



Cheryl R. Riley

Having dedicated studio space with the amenities of light, slop sink, walls for pinning work, work tables available at all hours made working a delight each day…Many of us work alone so the camaraderie can lead to friendships, collaborations and a richer experience.

I was able to complete 50 paintings, which has made subsequent studio visits by curators a much more rich experience. I have been offered shows as a result.