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2023 End of Year Appeal

As we end2023 I am delighted to update you on the goings-on at Thornwillow over the past year, in the areas of teaching and fellowships, publications and outreach, and building and capital improvements.

Our Campus: The Makers Village 

The Thornwillow Institute is working to renovate and re-energize a neighborhood of historic buildings in Newburgh, NY. Our residence building at 29 Spring Street and the yellow cottage are complete, and providing affordable housing for our community. 

Construction on the Corner Building is in the home stretch, and will provide three additional apartments for fellowship housing and the first bookstore in Newburgh in more than 50 years! This project was launched by now-NY Governor Kathy Hochul at a groundbreaking in the summer of 2021.

Having finished the general construction — walls, roof, new windows, electric, HVAC, and plumbing — we are now in the finishing stage: installing cabinets, appliances, and most importantly, bookshelves. A new sidewalk is required in front of the corner building to improve accessibility and safety, and to adhere to the new and improved, but expensive, streetscape guidelines.

We are also looking to the future with our plans for the Carriage House, the large red building across the street from the Press. This building is conceived again to house a gallery and event space as well as several makers’ studios for artisans, students, and fellows. It is a fabulous space that we are eager to deploy. The first step in securing the building is the installation of new windows to replace the plywood that currently protects the interior from the elements. 

The renovation and restoration of these historic structures allows us to house our people and our efforts, and to revive our corner of Newburgh to the beauty and activity of its early days.

Our Programs: The Work of the Institute

The Thornwillow Institute works to educate artisans of all ages and backgrounds to acquire the skills necessary to engage in the related arts and crafts of the written and printed word. We are pleased to continue a number of awards, fellowships, and internships. 

The Thornwillow Patrons’ Prize for Emerging Artists: As part of our collaboration with the New York Foundation for the Arts, now in its fourth year, we published through our Dispatch series the work of three winners of the Thornwillow Patrons’ Prize for Emerging Artists, aimed at supporting and catalyzing the careers of up-and-coming artists and writers. Each of these publications is produced in a beautiful, letterpress printed limited edition, designed to spotlight these exceptionally talented  writers. Our recent Prize winners are Donna Steiner for Part Horror, Part Magic, Holy Ourselves, Christina Milletti for The Gilring Season, andBette Anne Moskowitz for Seeds.

Newburgh Free Academy Internships: We have expanded our internship program with the Newburgh Free Academy, our local high school. This term we have two interns who are working in the press room and bindery and one of the interns from last year has become a full time employee at the press since his graduation.

Summer Fellowships: We were thrilled to host three summer fellows in 2023: One from the bookbinding program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, two graduating seniors from the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, and one from Groton School in Massachusetts

Thornwillow Concerts at Calvary: This past November we launched a new collaboration with the Calvary Church in Newburgh to present a monthly concert series to bring world class music to the community for free. The historic church, one of the first buildings to have been electrified by Thomas Edison, has an exceptional and recently restored EM Skinner pipe organ and just acquired a Steinway Model D concert grand piano. To celebrate this incredible musical hardware, the Thornwillow Institute has launched a new series under the artistic direction of celebrated composer Lowell Liebermann to bring exceptional artists to perform. So far we have presented Grammy Award winning organist Paul Jacobs and internationally recognized pianist William Hobbs in two solo recitals and we have a robust schedule of world class musicians scheduled monthly for 2024 starting January 3rd.

Centennial Ulysses Reading: 2023 brought to a close a two-year-long marathon reading of Ulysses that we orchestrated in collaboration with Thornwillow’s centennial publication of Joyce’s iconic novel. Production of the books was quite delayed due to supply and staffing problems resulting from Covid, but the reading series is now complete and now online for listeners to enjoy for free. This series features over 300 readers including celebrated literary figures like Salman Rushdie and Stephen Fry, scholars from the Morgan Library and Vassar, and individual readers who recorded their pieces of the book the world over.

The ask:

You have already been most generous in supporting our work generally and the corner building project in particular. But the hope is that you might be able to add to your support before the end of the year to help us bring the project over the finish line. Thanks to you and donors like you, we are almost there. It is good news for the mission of the Institute and the community.