Isaac Gertman

Design Director

I’m a displaced Midwesterner, designer, writer, educator, and typography enthusiast. My work has always sought to engage meaningfully in social and civic issues. It reflects my interest in cities and the overlapping systems that exist within them—social, political, technological, infrastructural. In my career, I’ve specialized in designing for civic education and engagement around important issues at the local, national, and global scale, including safe and sustainable transportation, equitable approaches to building and development, education, social justice, and culture.

My role as Design Director of the Wassaic Project allows me to do all of the above. I love the way we use art and education programs to build community in Dutchess County (and the food at The Lantern doesn’t hurt either!) It feels meaningful to create new, inclusive, local culture here in Wassaic. Getting to design with such a vibrant community of artists and with such potent visual work is a real luxury.

I first found about WP through co-director Jeff Barnett-Winsby. After graduate school, I kept seeing his posts on social media about Wassaic. And all these other friends were posting pictures of new work they were making in a barn, and one day I finally went to check it out. In one visit, I got it: Wassaic is a really special place that attracts wildly talented, warm, like-minded people. There’s really nothing like it. It’s a community that’s up for anything—a place that you’ll never hear, “That’s too weird” or “That’ll never fly.”

When the position opened up for Design Fellow five years ago, I was excited to apply. I had so much fun working with our staff that I asked on for a second year. When that year was over, I didn’t want my relationship Wassaic to end! Luckily, I was able to stay on as Design Director, and help use the Fellowship position to incubate talent and grow the organization’s visibility.

I love working at the Wassaic Project. I’m continually challenged and inspired by my peers and the work made by every new batch of residents. While my studio practice keeps me moving up and down the Eastern seaboard, Wassaic is always the place to be.

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