Blue Mountain Center

Supporting writers, artists and activists in Blue Mountain Lake, New York


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 ran and hiked. On that porch overlooking the lake and mountains, around that 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, 2000 Richard J. Margolis Award winner, and author of "Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx"
credit: Mashuq Deen

credit: Mashuq Deen


During the summer and early fall, BMC offers month-long residency sessions. These sessions are open to creative and non-fiction writers, activists, and artists of all disciplines — including composers, filmmakers, and visual artists. Applications are reviewed by accomplished authors and artists who are particularly interested in fine work that evinces social and ecological concern, and is aimed at a general audience. We do not host classes or workshops, BMC is designed to create space for each resident to focus on their work within a supportive community.

There is a $25 application fee. Our annual application deadline is February 1. Notifications by out by the end of March.

Each session is four weeks long. There is no cost for a BMC residency.

2019 Session Dates:

Session 1: Friday, June 14—Friday, July 12
Session 2: Friday, July 20—Friday, August 16
Session 3: Friday, August 30—Friday, September 27

The application process for the 2019 season is closed.

Guest rooms are simple and comfortable. Residents are lodged in individual bedroom/studies in one of two buildings. Click the “Learn More” button for more information about living at BMC.

Focus Residencies

Blue Mountain Center periodically hosts special short residencies with specific themes. These sessions are developed through invitations and nominations. They are much like a traditional residency except residents are also encouraged to share their perspectives, ideas, and approaches to the theme with one another. 

Weekend Retreats/Conferences

Blue Mountain Center will host 8 weekend retreats in the spring and fall of 2019 bringing together individuals and organizations thinking about the pressing social problems such as civil liberties, environmental health and safety, peace, and economic justice. The BMC conference season typically includes movement building gatherings, cross-silo conversations, issue-based discussions, and organizational retreats.

Some conference topics are generated by BMC staff and advisors, others come from outside individuals, grassroots groups, and non-profit organizations who submit proposals.  We are eager to support emerging conversations that do not have established institutional or foundation support. Please contact us for application and conference information. 

2019 Conference Dates:
Spring Conferences: (Proposal Deadline - Dec. 15, 2018)

#1 – Thursday, May 9 – Sunday, May 12;

#2 – Thursday May 16 – Sunday, May 19;

#3 – Thursday, May 30 – Sunday, June 2;  

#4 – Thursday, June 6 – Sunday, June 9

(Acceptance Date - Jan. 15, 2019)

Fall Conferences: (Proposal Deadline - March 15, 2019)

#1 – Thursday, October 31 – Sunday, November 3

#2 – Thursday, November 7 – Sunday, November 10

#3 – Thursday, November 14 – Sunday, November 17

#4 – Thursday, November 21 – Sunday, November 24

(Acceptance Date - April 15, 2019)

The application process for 2019 conferences is closed. The deadline for 2020 conference proposals will be announced on September 1, 2019.


Harriet Barlow.jpg

Harriet Barlow Residency

36 years after the handshake with Adam Hochshild that confirmed the founding of BMC, Harriet Barlow has headed west. BMC is a testament to her singular mix of passion, creativity and clear-eyed diligence. She has built not only a nurturing institution but a vibrant community and an active network, all working to help create a just, equitable and sustainable society. 

To honor Harriet's work, we have established the Harriet Barlow Residency. The Residency enables and celebrates annually not only a person but a concept central to her moral vision — the commons — those natural gifts (i.e. air, water, wildlife) and social creations (i.e. libraries, scientific research, public spaces) that we share. The Residency reifies this philosophy by supporting individuals whose work focuses on our shared responsibility to one another and the planet. Qualified candidates include activists, artists and creative leaders. 

Thanks to an overwhelming response from generous donors we were able to raise an endowment of $100,000 in the spring of 2018. Our first Barlow Resident was Rob Nixon, who joined us in July, 2018. Additional funds raised will be used to support relevant convenings and activities. Please join us in expressing our appreciation for Harriet by making a contribution to support this ongoing work.

Current Resident

Juan Fuentes

Past Residents

2018: Rob Nixon

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.

Current Fellow

Sarah K. Khan

Past Fellows

2018: Victor Yang
2017: Ashley Makar
2016: Kung Li Kung
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).