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 and author of "Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx"


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. There is no cost.

Guest rooms are simple and comfortable. Residents are lodged in individual bedroom/studies in the Main House or the Grey Cottage. 

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 hosts small weekend conversations in the spring and fall. They bring together those thinking about the pressing social problems such as civil liberties, environmental health and safety, peace, and economic justice. 

Retreats 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 suggestions. Inquiries and retreat ideas may be sent by email to BMC with the subject line "Retreat."

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Harriet Barlow Residency

36 years after the handshake with Adam Hochshild that confirmed the founding of BMC, Harriet Barlow is heading 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 an 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 will enable and celebrate 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 will reify this philosophy by supporting individuals whose work focuses on our shared responsibility to one another and the planet. Qualified candidates will include activists, artists and creative leaders. 

To launch a named residency at BMC, we are required by our trustees to raise an endowment of at least $100,000. Any additional funds will be used to support relevant convenings and activities. Please join us in expressing our appreciation for Harriet by making a contribution toward our goal. 

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

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).