I’m an artist. I grew up in a family of artists. I love to make things and I love to make things with other people: events, meals, prints, swimming outings, outdoor picnics, gardens, sculptures, installations, ideas, experiences.
Bowie and I met in college and, while we collaborated some back then, we fell out of touch after school. I moved back to the East Village where I grew up, and worked for an international performance artist — first checking her mail before producing for her in the UK and then helping her start a non-profit for her theater company.
In 2007, a friend from school, Emily Driscoll, was hit and killed by a car. Emily had started a gallery in Brooklyn right out of college. I admired her immensely for her balls-out confidence and can-do-and-have-fun attitude. Bowie and I reconnected at her wake, very drunk, and decided we would start working together again. In January 2008, we had our first show together: a weird and awesome interactive installation made of candy teeth, knives, thermometers, and bones. It got eaten at the opening.
And that August, we launched the Wassaic Project with Elan Bogarin. Elan and I had met a few years before in Chicago at an opening that included both our work. I was there alone and introduced myself to her. She took me out with her friends after the show for a night out in Chicago.
Of course, by "launched," I mean that we threw a giant party with no plan and a couple grand on our credit cards. There was no long-term plan. Dreams galore! But no plan.
But we had so much fun. So by the end of 2009, Jeff Barnett-Winsby had joined our motley crew and we were caught up in a whirlwind of energy: putting on education programming with local kids, launching the residency program, working with guest curators, recruiting international artists, and forging relationships in the community that are going strong today.
I’m a compulsive connector — I joke that my crowning achievement is setting up two friends who are now married (not Bowie and Jeff). So in Wassaic, I'm always thinking about who might want to work together: which artist would collaborate with another, or who could connect to a collector, or which dancer might want to create something with a musician, which visitor or student would love this month's artists-in-residence.
With 1,500+ creatives and 34,000+ visitors (from all over the world) having passed through Wassaic over the past ten years, people are making tons of connections that we only get to hear about later. This artist curated that artist into a show. This visitor is dating that musician. This fan booked that band at their wedding. That dancer is collaborating with that artist-in-residence. That continuing community is like an extension of the hamlet's magic.
Wassaic is a place where you will have fun, see fantastic art, hear music that will shake your ass, experience dance that will make your heart beat faster, see films that will make you laugh and cry (sometimes at the same time). And you will make new friends.
Seriously. You will totally make new friends.
I’m a compulsive connector—I joke that my crowning achievement is setting up two friends who are now married (not Bowie and Jeff).
Eve Biddle, Wassaic, August 2017
Photos by Verónica González Mayoral