Who we are

Yaddo is the vanguard, our history the foundation. We’ve long been committed to aesthetic daring, egalitarianism, innovation, and creative sanctuary for artists at all career stages.

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Our Mission

Yaddo is a nonprofit retreat for artists in Saratoga Springs, New York. Our mission is to nurture the creative process by providing an opportunity for artists to work without interruption in a supportive environment.

We offer residencies to professional creative artists working in the following disciplines: choreography, film, literature, musical composition, painting, performance art, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video. Artists apply individually or as members of collaborative teams. They are selected by panels of professional artists without regard to financial means.

Tertiary to our core mission, we build an engaged audience for the work of Yaddo artists and share arts programming, educational opportunities, and other resources with our local community and beyond. We are committed to a sustainable future for Yaddo.

Image ©Nona Faustine Yaddo June 2022

Our Values

Each year, we welcome up to 270 guests from all over the world. Though much has changed since Yaddo was founded in 1900, our mission and values remain constant.

We value creative freedom, sans censorship; experimentation, effort, ideas, passion, failure; we value silence, nature, solitude, privacy.

We value community, collaboration, friendship, family. We value all the ineffable qualities achieved in the moment of inspiration that leads to a great work of art—magic, mojo, mystery. We value the sacrifices artists endure to make their work, to come to Yaddo.

We value every inch of our 400 acres in Saratoga Springs, and we endeavor to be good stewards and good neighbors. We value excellent working conditions, room to breathe, room to work. We value access to Yaddo, especially for those artists who are underrepresented in the arts and culture. We believe in, value and stive for an equitable, sustainable world where art and literature thrive.

Our Impact

Since the first group of guests arrived in 1926, more than 6,500 artists have come through our gates. Artists arrive from every corner of the globe, with some 60-plus countries represented in recent years. Our current guest numbers are trending 44% artists of color, with 64% female and nonbinary. About 60% of guests are first-time visitors to Yaddo.

The need for Yaddo has only increased over time. We receive about 2,500 applications annually. About 10% of applicants receive invitations to Yaddo.

In recent years, we’ve expanded our capacity by 25%, investing in new live-work studios, a performance studio, and restoring our historic buildings and grounds. We now have the capacity to host 275 artists each year, up to 30 guests at any given time.

When Yaddo was named a National Historic Landmark in 2013, it was not because of any given building or style of architecture. The status was conferred for all the work that happened here. The impact of work by Yaddo artists is immeasurable; countless books, films, plays, performances, and exhibitions wouldn’t have been possible without the unseen hand of Yaddo.

Our History

Yaddo was the country estate of financier Spencer Trask and his wife Katrina, a writer. The name “Yaddo” is attributed to their daughter Christina. The first settler on the property was Jacobus Barhyte, a Revolutionary War veteran, who operated a tavern and gristmill. The Algonquian-speaking Mahican were among the first people who lived in the Saratoga region.

The Trasks arrived in 1881. Ten years later, their house burned, and the Trasks hired architect William Halsey Wood to build anew. Left without immediate heirs, they bequeathed their fortune and estate to the establishment of a residency program for artists.

In 1900, the Trasks founded the Corporation of Yaddo with a clear and simple mission—to give uninterrupted time and space to artists. More importantly, they had a profound understanding of why Yaddo was urgent and necessary. They shared with others of their time and class a deep anxiety about social conditions, about the rise of fascism and concomitant wars, about what Katrina referred to as the “hardening of man’s soul and a growing deafness to the cries of the many and wisdom of the artist.” Yaddo was to be the antidote. It was to offer working writers and artists sanctuary—a respite from urbanization, income inequality, the demands of the marketplace, noise, political and economic upheaval.

In the century since the Trasks inaugurated Yaddo, these factors have only intensified, and the need for artists to have a place of retreat to dive deeply into their work is more necessary now than ever before.

For more history, consult Yaddo: Making American Culture, edited by Micki McGee. The New York Public Library holds the Yaddo archive. Direct research inquiries to the library.

Discover Yaddo Artists

Groundbreaking Work

From stage to screen, canvas to installation, poetry to fiction, plus musical composition, Yaddo artists span disciplines, decades, geography, and more, with talent to burn and an Olympian work ethic.

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Come to Yaddo: Residencies include room, board, a studio and more, granting you the opportunity to work without interruption in a supportive environment. Image by Adama Delphine Fawundu


Explore Further

Fall in love with Yaddo. Learn more about our connection with contemporary artists.

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