Create in Tranquility

Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat in Laceyville, PA, offers visual artists, writers, composers, and instrumentalists a quiet country setting for three week residencies to focus on their creative endeavors. Spaces are available from mid-May to mid-September. Soaring Gardens has no fees, makes no demands, and there are no intrusions from the administration—only the studios, gardens, deer, other creatures, and time.

The residency is located in a farmhouse with an adjacent studio building and in a small nearby church. At any time, there are only a few artists in residence—usually three or four at the farmhouse and two at the church. Since residents share the living spaces, we encourage artists to apply as a group (a combination of artistic disciplines is fine), although applications from individuals are also welcome.

Residents are encouraged to have a car to get to Soaring Gardens and to use while they are in residence. However, transportation will be provided to and from nearby cities for arrival and departure at Soaring Gardens, and to help run some errands during their stay as needed. There is no public transportation close by. With the exception of a weekly communal dinner, artists are expected to shop, cook, and clean up after themselves; a gardener maintains the grounds. As the purpose of the residency is to provide time for undisturbed work, no children, pets, or overnight visitors are permitted.

Native Land Acknowledgement

Soaring Gardens stands on part of the ancient homeland and traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Susquehannock, and the Munsee Lenape people. We pay respect to indigenous peoples past, present, and future and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout their diaspora.

(click on images for larger view)

<em>Farmhouse exterior - photo: Darlene Miller-Laning</em>
<em>Upper studio</em>
<em>Lower studio - photo: Fred Gutzeit</em>
Farmhouse and Studios

Studio (church), Jessica Dalrymple

(click on images for larger view)

<em>Church exterior</em>
<em>Ben Cowan ©2017</em>
<em>Fields near the Church</em>

On the twenty-three-acre property is a spacious farmhouse and studio building. The farmhouse has a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and two living rooms on the main floor and three bedrooms, a study, and a bathroom upstairs. In the basement, there is a laundry room with a washer and dryer. Thirty feet from the house is a separate studio building with two 750-square-foot studios on separate levels. Depending on the nature of the residents’ work, the farmhouse can accommodate three artists. (If residents are willing to share the studio spaces, it can house as many as five.)

The farmhouse was built in 1850 by Frank Gay, who made his fortune in the California gold rush. The farmhouse and studio are surrounded by extensive flower gardens, which inspired Ora Lerman to name her property “Soaring Gardens.” The central focus of the garden is a “grand allée,” modeled after Monet’s garden in Giverny, where, supported by a grant from Reader’s Digest, Lerman was a resident in 1989. Nearby is a decorative pond. From the house and studios you can see the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains, which are one hour’s drive away.

Church / Studio

A ten-minute drive from the farmhouse is the church, which dates from 1910, and has been remodeled into comfortable living and working spaces. Downstairs are the kitchen, bathroom, one bedroom with twin beds, and living room. The upstairs is divided into two spaces: one is 14 x 28 feet and the other is 14 x 26 feet, both with high ceilings. They can be used as either working or living spaces, whichever suits the residents. The church works best for two artists who are comfortable sharing the space together.

The church sits on a tiny plot of land surrounded by working farms, including one that raises goats. Some forty years ago it was converted into its current layout by the painters Cornelis Ruhtenberg and Jules Kirschenbaum, who gifted it to the Ora Lerman Charitable Trust in the fall of 2000.

Apply for a Residency

The application period is from January 1st to March 10th, 2023
Learn More
Former Residents

Share Your Experience

2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000

Jessica Dalrymple

“I can’t think of how I would improve the experience, it was pretty much the most idyllic set up for an artist and particularly a landscape inspired painter, like myself. Quite honestly, I can’t imagine how it could be any better.”
— Jessica Dalrymple, 2017

“Overwhelmingly positive. Studio was a dream, housing was cozy and inspiring, and I absolutely loved being in a space made by a female painter. Going through Ora’s books and papers about past exhibits in NYC was amazing! Such a unique experience to have access to her life.”
– Lauren Peters

Studio – photo: Erin Law

“First Impressions”

R.C. Bramhall, poet
Soaring Gardens 8/27/2021

stone and tree
feel first impressions
knowing true intentions
love or fear
from the heart
but back inside
each room beckons
a seduction
to be chosen
as the spot –
Relax…you will remain
always remembered
watchful walls whisper
absorbing memory
of your time
while the floors
speak their secret language
in wooden wailings
of rhyme –

“I can’t wait to get in to the studio here at home and begin a new body of work based on all of the observational paintings I made over the past few weeks.”
– David Aipperspach

David Aipperspach at work behind the house and his painting.

Stewart Allen
Joe Aguilar
Danielle Arriano
Kate Bae
Jesse Chun
Matthew Colaizzo
Maddison Colvin
Samantha Connor
Dariana Dervis
Mark Fabiano
Julia Forrest
Sarah Fuhrman
Laura Gettelfinger
Howard Gladstone
Meg Kaizu
Sam Lacombe
Kirstin Lamb
Heidi Lau
Sto Len

“The most unexpected boon was the resplendent amount of wild edible plants- as a hobbyist forager, I was so delighted with the abundance of late summer, and every meal my week there was based on or augmented by something from the forest or fields- blackberries, raspberries, sumac, nettle, asiatic dayflower, yarrow, mint- the list goes on.” – Everest Pitkin

Suzette Marie Martin is laughing with joy after having made 17 large works on paper, 17 small studies, 2 canvases and 3 large scale drawings in four fast and happy weeks.

“The grounds and the landscape are gorgeous and inspired an important new direction in my work. Most of all, I valued the time and space to make my work and share in an extended dialogue with fellow artists.” — Wendy Kveck

Studio – photo: @pRODUCT614

“I had an incredible time at Soaring Gardens!!! It really was magical to spend so much undistracted time working and exploring a beautiful landscape. I was able to make over 30 paintings including this one.” — Ben Cowan

Ben Cowan, Soaring Gardens Church, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″

“Thank you for the incredible experience we had at the residency in August. Last month was one of the most fruitful, inspiring, magical months of my life–we all made a lot of work, including several collaborations.” — Suzanne Stroebe

Studio exterior

“I am preparing (reluctantly) to leave Soaring Gardens today, and I’m sending this entirely inadequate email to express my gratitude for this beautiful gift of a residency with my collaborative fellow artists, Martha and Alice. Words cannot express how deeply touched I am by my experience here…I was also very touched by the church setting, which is bucolic and peaceful, and offered so much in terms of my own creativity – the goats, the horses, the winding gravel roads, the endless horizon. It was all magical…it was a transformative experience being here. For me especially, I found my thinking deepened and my creative process grew in leaps and bounds over the few short weeks.” — Nan Ring

Church (downstairs) – photo: S. Dydo

“I can’t believe what a magical month it was, living and working at Soaring Gardens. Now that I am back in New York City, it seems like a beautiful dream. But I know it was real because I am home with tremendous work accomplished and a feeling of peace and renewal that is with me still.” — Susan Oetgen

Farmhouse and studio exterior – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

Taylor Johnson
Gary Leising
Lee Marchelonis
Gloria Patton
Antonia Perez
Cecilia Phillips
Gail Shaw-Clemons
Kim Tran

House (entry room) – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

“We also enjoyed meeting the resident at the church, Paul, and even arranged a reading one evening. The members of my writing group have already read the longest of the three essays I wrote this June, and several seconded the comment of one: “This essay has convinced me of the power of residencies.” I feel the compliment is yours.” — Alison Kendra Green

Studio (upstairs) – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

“My residency at Soaring Gardens was invaluable to my creativity, my body, and my soul. The four weeks spent there were like a year’s worth of experience and growth.” — Barbara Laube

House (living rooms) – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

“I was fortunate enough to be awarded a three week residency at the Church. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I had never spent that much time in almost total isolation, just focusing on painting. My days quickly dissolved into what for awhile seemed like an endless continuum of creation, punctuated ever so slightly by a simple meal and sleep.” — John Adams

Farmhouse exterior – photo: S. Dydo

Karina Hean
Heidi Marie van Leuven
Gail Shaw-Clemons
Heather Blain
Brendan Casey
Beth Caspar
Ane Crabtree
Diane Davis
Kristen Egan
Jesse English
Sari Fordham
Lorissa Gottschalk
Laura Iorio
Robert James

“The time I spent at the Church near Soaring Gardens was like a gift. While I was there, I deeply connected to spaces of quiet and solitude.” – Janell O’Rourke

Church exterior (rear porch) – photo: S. Dydo

Trisha Adams
Tobi Balin Grossman
Katherine Ball
Claire Brassil
Georgiana Cray Bart
Nina Davidowitz
Marcy Dermansky
Rose DiSalvo
Jurgen Furth
Christien Gholson
Anne Heisey
Michaela Kahn
Alica Laputka
Kate McGraw
Leslie Mutchler

Alec Neal
Jennifer Palmer
Holly Peterson
Remington Restivo
Ann Tarantino
Jason Urban
Thomas Vance
Michael Wille
Kelly S. Williams

“The residency yielded not only a new body of work, but also lent clarity to our individual practices and revealed a model for thinking, making and working in an environment of mutual respect. During that time our separate art-making methods “indeed our identities” were fused into something new that has become a meditation on the act of exchange, artistic process, and conversation.” — Kate McGraw & Ann Tarantino

Church (downstairs) – photo: C. Johnson

Diane Davis
Marcy Dermansky
Wendy Deschene
Johannes Deyoung
Jurgen Furth
Laura Haarmeyer
Barbara Kapalski Nichols
Simone Kiven
Carolyn Martin
Laura McGinley
Leslie Mutchler

Avri Ohana
Gloria Patton
Dorothy M Sedock
Gail Shaw-Clemons
Shane Stratton
Julia Stratton
Jason Urban
Natalie Westbrook-Deyoung
Eva Wylie
Judith Youschock

Behind the Church – photo: S. Dydo

Carolyn Martin
Jan Mollet
Barbara Nichols
Joanna Scari
Dorothy Sedock
Gail Shaw-Clemons
Kelly S. Williams
Courtney Wrenn
Judith Youshock

Church – photo: Ben Cowan

Douglas Anderson
Arden Bendler Browning
Elizabeth Broadfoot
Katherine Brunza
Marcy Dermansky
Renee Emanuel
Jurgen Fauth
Richard Gabriele
Laura Ann Haarmeyer
Melissa Johnson

Barry Johnson
Barbara Kapalski-Nichols
Collen McCubbin Stepanic
John McKinnon
Don Muchow
Margaret Neill
Dorothy Sedock
Sarah Vollmann
Eva Wylie
Judy Youschock

House (upstairs study) – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

Erin Parish
Nedda Pourang
Victoria Skinner
Maria Spector
Dina Toledano
Christine M. Walsh
Kelly S. Williams

“Soaring Gardens was a magical environment, a place to wander, to dream. A place that allowed me to let the unexpected enter into my work.” — Walter Hnatysh

Allée behind the House – B. Moyer-Vinding

Madeleine Beckman
Claire Brassil
Natalie Campbell
Elizabeth Cooper
Walter Hnatysh
Xylor Jane
Melissa Johnson
Winnie Lee
Bridget Lewis

Emily Miller
Gina Reynoso
Victoria Skinner
Kelly S. Williams

Studio (downstairs)

Lisa Blanchette
Kim Casey
Alice Harrison
Walter Hnatysh
Julian Jackson
Rene Lynch

“The Church, with its open views of the rolling hills of Pennsylvania…was so compatible and seductive to working.” — Robert Zakanitch

Farmhouse exterior – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

Lisa Abendroth
Angela Forster
Walter Hnatysh

Patrick Schmidt
Victoria Skinner
Michael Volker

Laceyville, Pennsylvania at night – photo: C. Johnson