Blue Mountain Center

A working community of artists, writers, & activists in Blue Mountain Lake, New York


Traditional Residencies

The residency I won to Blue Mountain Center made possible one of the most happy and productive periods of my early writing life. I arrived exhausted—from years of odd jobs and freelance work to support my own reporting, from worry about an undone book, from the cumulative weariness of a too-hectic life. Within days, nourished by the good care of the staff in one of the most beautiful physical environments I’ve ever been in, I began the deep work of my book. I also had a terrific amount of fun. I wrote hard and swam and ran and hiked. On that porch overlooking the lake and mountains, around that huge table in the dining room—always abundant with fantastic food—I made friends. We talked and argued and laughed an awful lot.
— Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, 2006 MacArthur Fellow and author of "Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx"

Traditional Residency, Summer 2014 

Traditional Residencies are open to creative and non-fiction writers, activists, and artists of all disciplines—including composers, filmmakers, and visual artists who do not require exceptional facilities. Each session is four weeks long and includes up to fifteen residents. Other than transportation and the $25 application fee, there is no cost.

Guest quarters are simple and comfortable. Writers are lodged in individual bedroom/studies in the Main House or the Grey Cottage. Visual artists and composers work in nearby studios. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided. 

For further details and photographs, please see Life at BMC.

Focus Residencies

Blue Mountain Center periodically hosts special short residencies with specific themes. These sessions are developed through invitations, nominations, and distinct application processes. Residents work on individual projects as they would do during a Traditional Residency and are encouraged to share their perspectives, ideas, and approaches with one another. 


Blue Mountain Center hosts conferences for up to 22 people in the spring and fall. The meetings exist to bring together those working on pressing social problems such as civil liberties, environmental health and safety, peace, and economic justice. 

Conferences are planned six months in advance. Most are initiated by Blue Mountain Center—the facilities are not available for rent—but the Co-Directors welcome programming suggestions. Inquiries and conference proposals may be sent by email to BMC with the subject line "Conference Proposal."

Boren Chertkov Residency for Labor and Justice

The Boren Chertkov Residency for Labor and Justice is granted annually to a BMC applicant whose work embodies the spirit and vision of the late Boren Chertkov. Boren was a champion of workers' rights and social justice, and a beloved community member at Blue Mountain Center. 

Within a year of fundraising we met our initial goal of $100,000 to endow this permanent residency in honor of Boren, who passed away in April 2013. We are endlessly grateful to his friends and admirers, BMC alumni, and the many others who contributed to making this residency a reality.

Past Fellows
2015: John Provost
2014: Jane McAlevey

The Richard J. Margolis Award

The Margolis Award is granted annually to a promising new journalist or essayist whose work recalls Richard Margolis's warmth, humor, and concern for social issues. It combines a one-month residency at Blue Mountain Center with a $5,000 prize. For more information, please visit the Margolis Award website

Photo credits: Trevor Nathan (Home), Karin Hayes (Community, Support Us, & Contact), & Jan Mammey (Apply).

Photo credits: Trevor Nathan (Home), Karin Hayes (Community, Support Us, & Contact), & Jan Mammey (Apply).