ELIZABETHTOWN — Craigardan, an educational nonprofit with a focus on studio, agricultural, culinary and intellectual arts, has found a new home.
This summer, the organization purchased a 315-acre property four miles west of the Town of Elizabethtown near Hurricane Mountain.
Craigardan plans to build “an intentionally designed, conservation-minded and accessible campus,” the organization said in a news release.
“It will pay tribute to the history of the site’s early homestead while also responding to, improving and protecting the potentially wild nature of the recently logged property.”
Founded in December 2016 and opened in June 2017, Craigardan has already supported the work of more than 70 artists, chefs, farmers and scholars through its residencies, internships and fellowships, the release said.
Its multi- and inter-disciplinary programs, which include community classes, workshops and events, have served more than 500 local, national and international participants.
As a founding partner of the regional Food Justice Working Group, Craigardan has worked to convene hundreds of community members for annual summits and regional food-systems work.
This year, Craigardan will launch its first international partner program at the historic site of Gangivecchio in Sicily, Italy.
“What Craigardan has been able to achieve in its first three years is inspiring and energizing,” Craigardan Executive director and co-founder Michele Drozd said in a statement.
She attributes it to “the many artists and scholars who found inspiration in the innovative model that stresses inter-disciplinary collaboration and showcased the local community that supported and participated in this work.”
While raising the funds needed to purchase the new property, Craigardan conducted a six-month, region-wide search that led to the land in Elizabethtown.
“The community welcomed us, and the property — with its remote sensibility yet significant accessibility — is a perfect fit for our program,” Drozd said.
Aaron Woolf, co-owner of Deer’s Head Inn in Elizabethtown, is a strong supporter of the move.
“We’re really excited that Craigardan is coming to Elizabethtown,” he said in the release. “It feels like a moment in which there is a notable convergence of forward energy here.”
With new projects like the Elizabethtown Bike Ranch complementing Otis Mountain and building on the town’s recreational past, Craigardan joins the Adirondack History Museum in revitalizing the town’s rich cultural history.
“We’re home. Metaphorically and practically, we’re grounded,” Kate Moses, Craigardan board member and writer.
“There’s a lot of work yet to do, but here we have the ability to grow and thrive within the amazing Adirondack Park that inspired our founding, and help strengthen the communities that make us unique.”
The new location maintains Craigardan’s original geographic connection to the towns of Keene, Keene Valley and Elizabethtown while improving public access and its ability to support and celebrate community engagement.
The organization is in the early stages of design, working with consultants, professionals and the Adirondack Park Agency, local organizations and community members to create the new campus.
In the interim, Craigardan has partnered with businesses and nonprofits to continue its programming in the region.
Local artist Lanse Stover, who is Craigardan’s board president, said the campus “must facilitate dialogue between visitors and the local community, between art and environment, between the past and the present, between art, philosophy, food and agriculture.
“The Adirondacks are the ideal setting for Craigardan to create the space where those conversations can flourish and then nourish the world.”
To learn more, visit craigardan.org.