What a verdant, vibrant experience this has been for me—this (too short!) time at Catwalk. I came here, to the mountains (two days before the new moon of May, I might add) because I needed the proverbial “change of pace”. I wanted to touch the earth, to eclipse the distance between me and the elements. Perhaps it took me a few days to adjust to, and align with, the rhythm of this place- the sounds, the striking surroundings, the solitude- but once I did, I accessed a groove in my writing…an unprecedented groove…and the inspiration, the prose, the ideas—it all flowed.

 What’s more, I felt my spirit enlivened: I returned from morning runs across the Rip Van Winkle and found myself offering expressions of gratitude to the trees, the birds, the rains that made a swamp of the crossing to Catslair. I walked around the pond chanting Sanskrit mantras. I reveled at clouds. I became one of those people who literally stop to smell the flowers. This place and the people, whose hearts and works of art have passed through it, have made their stamp on me as a writer and a student of the universe, of nature.

 To Chuck, the hardest worker I’ve encountered, with the kindest eyes and softest spirit; and to Purcell, the pinnacle of grace and poise, a true intellectual moved by the big, provocative “questions”—thank you, thank you, thank you,

 With love & admiration & reverence,

Margrét Ann Thors, Writer, Columbia University


…Catwalk allows you to expand your notion of productivity. It allows you to sink so deeply into the world of your project that its progress feels like organic growth—as if it’s a living, breathing thing. I learned again and again here that the words I write are an extension of myself, and I was able to form a more intimate relationship with my novel than I have since I began working on it a year and a half ago. Being around the other residents was inspiring and I love the idea of writers and visual artists sharing a creative space. I’m especially grateful to Purcell, who’s been an amazingly gracious and generous host. Her belief in the power of art, and its value, feels incredibly reassuring. I’m struck by her insight, and her ability to convey many things without saying them—conversing with her, she seems to tap into deeper ideas and leave your mind to explore possibilities…

Alexandra Watson, Writer, Columbia University


A stint at Catslair … has been quite too brief, but still has been quite the artistic journey. We’ve explored our initial project but were surprised to discover the beginnings of many new ideas. The Catwalk Residency—the people, landscape, time and the town—has been the catalyst for these ideas. Not to mention the coke floats! Thanks so much for allowing us to be here. Hopefully, it’s not the last time!

Rob Ostrom, Poetry, Columbia University & Marit Sergmets, Performance, Norwegian Theater Academy (Norway)


The nesting eagles, humming birds, the grey young fox, the resting group of turkeys under the evergreens on the warm asphalt. Adieu to the night trains, the river Hudson mists, the stars I could see out the headboard window, shadowed Haiku style by the outline of the driveway trees…this place, and in particular this house, is a very user-friendly environment. Great because there are ample private and public sharing spaces…Yes! This is a rich, fertile location full of artistic ideas and inspiration…

 Warm, best wishes,

Pat Loheed, Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, Boston Architectural College School of Landscape Architecture

Our stay at Catslair/Catwalk

was a delightful mix of

Collaborative mastication

Bioregional creativity

Walks across Rip Van Winkle

Marsh ecotones that read like paintings

Farm to table SWOON-ing

Antique jewelry finds on Hudson

Provocative company

Stories of lions and tollbooths

Runs (daily) to Price Chopper and Dollar Store

Deer, eagles, toads, hummingbirds, turkeys

Ideas on windows with views

Desirous towers

Love and Luck” wild raspberry tart (oh those raspberries!)

Hazy Sunrises

 With love & gratitude,

Sarah Howard, Geology, Architecture and Public Policy, Tufts Urban Environmental Policy and Planning



…the breathtaking view from the tower, the constantly changing light- the hawks swapping and screeing in the winds outside my window and past me, great white pine in my view- I wonder why I have not come here to paint? I spent six years painting the Hudson River before I became a therapist and teacher-that part of me begins to call and I feel the place- Catwalk- changing me…I also envision doing a weave in the woods—this is when the magic begins and I start to play…I create weaves…I toss red yarn off the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. I observe spiders by the pond on an early 7 am visit when the dew is just right to see their webs—I learn how to make a spider’s web, always starting with a small spiral. The red weaves catch the light and vibrate against the green of the woods and I begin to imagine other ways in which to interact with, enhance and amplify the elements of this magical incubator called Catwalk.  

Nature provides the artist with numerous forms that are pleasing, but none as provoking as the convergence of land, sky, water, mountains, roads, river and bridges that is the American landscape. Catwalk provides this in ample abundance. But it’s not just the place, it is undoubtedly the generous and brilliant vision of its founder Purcell Palmer (along with her late husband, Jim Palmer) … She is truly interested in you doing work that makes your heart sing. It is the generous attitude toward creation combined with richness and history of the Hudson River School milieu that make Catwalk so special. I hope to return soon…

 Mia deBethune, Installation Art, Weaver, NYU


Catwalk…is a magical space. Vistas and views, serenades by cicadas, wild turkey parades and the all too familiar scent of primeval forest. I’m most thankful for the opportunity to reconcile my past with present and experience New England from a different perspective, one that has matured beyond nostalgia and regret. And I am grateful for the opportunity to complete a project that has held me captive for the past few years, and in the past could only be worked on, one weekend at a time!

Until our paths cross again


Alan Labb, Photography, School of the Art Institute Chicago




DOE projekts: Deborah and Glenn Doering, Installation/Sculpture, School of the Art Institute Chicago


I, personally, have never valued my “art”—or had the opportunity to do so—prior to coming to Catslair with my friends and creative partners, Sara Wolkowitz and Sophia Betz. To be given the privilege to concentrate all of my efforts and passions upon the chief responsibility of doing what I/we love to do most has become cathartic and incredibly prosperous, work –wise…I wrote the script for this short in 2011, always intending to make the film with Sara and Sophia. Rarely does the experience exceed one’s expectations or vision for a film…the cooperation between about twenty crewmembers, whether from New York City or Catskill itself, helped elevate the experience even further. This has been the most fulfilling time of my life thus far, creatively, and I want to thank Catwalk for its generosity—Fawn, Chuck and Purcell—for facilitating something rich and indelible.


Ian Simpson, Film, Vassar College


I came at the time when

Sun was still kissing our naked skin

And stayed until the silence

Of the first and heavy snow.


Changing so many places

My art became art of place

Taken by the vista from Catslair

Every dawn was a gift of change.


Lucy Lippard says we have

Only one bedrock for which

We (see) are centered and see clearly

My bedrock is in Serbian Mountains

Close to Catslair in Longitude only.



Here I had grounded peace

In solitude and vast sky.

Closed some projects, opened new ones,

And accomplished two that belong

To Catslair’s Time (only) and Place only.


On the brink of wilderness

This unique place

Is a true gift

To be a create

Draga Susanj, Installation/Sculpture, School of the Art Institute Chicago



This is a place that will stick like warm snow for a long time. A favorite on the voyage… Working on my art here in Catslair during the winter, made it feel like I really did live here for a brief while—the quiet, going into town during the holidays, the stillness after a snow. Starting the year here—I hope this beauty sets the tone for the rest of the year for my painting. I’m a very grateful for this place and time!

Bea Parsons, Painting, Columbia University



We are all so grateful to you for sharing your lovely space with us. Being sequestered by the snowy woods and frozen river has allowed us to engage with our work in a way that’s been so useful. Our time here has been chock full of laughter and so much joy. Thank you Purcell and Kelly for sharing a meal with us. Thank you Chuck, for taking care of us.

 Superhero Clubhouse:

Simón Hanukai; Jonathon Camuzeaux; Lani Fu; Jeremy Pickard Theater, Columbia University



Many thanks to all at the Catwalk Institute for two weeks of working unencumbered and shrouded by the beauty and mystery of the landscape. A special thanks to the generosity and vision of Purcell, a rare person possessing both sense and sensibility. Than you to Kelly for making me feel welcome before I arrived and to Chuck for making me feel welcome the minute I arrived!

All the best,

Grace DeGennaro, Painter, Columbia University



Thank you for sharing your beautiful Catwalk and Catslair with us. This has been a life-changing experience. I’m leaving you Earth, Air, Water and Fire and a bit of music inspired by the wind and the rain and the lovely green meadows. Thank you again for opening your hearts and minds in such loving support to us artists!

All the best,

Madeline Wilson, Photographer, NYU



Thank you for orchestrating such a lush, lovely, welcoming environment for artists. There is a special soft touch at Catwalk that lets you make this place home, if a temporary one. This was a very meaningful time for my residency—just weeks before starting graduate school—and allowed me to find my pace and clear my head before the pressures of school. Critiques, grades, etc., began. Catwalk is a place that celebrates the best part of art—the conversation, space for reflection, freedom and seclusion from “real World” responsibilities. I will remember my time at Catwalk as marking a distinct signpost along my artistic career, and call upon it as a halcyon of the mind when I need to recoup.

 X Maddie Cichy, Painter, Vassar College



Noe Kidder, Film, School of the Art Institute Chicago


‘Distraction is distracting us from distraction” wrote Mary Ruefle, and for two weeks away from the city I learned what she meant. Thank you for providing me with a space where ideas could distract me, adding so much to my work. The tower is a perfect place to work on a book, and I’m so grateful to have stayed there.


Mary Mann, Writer, Columbia


“It’s bittersweet leaving this enchanted land. It’s stretched me, change my rhythms, adapted me to it.
Bitter but sweet….
I am eternally indebted to you for facilitating this experience.”
-TERRENCE NANCE, Filmmaker, NYU Steinhardt – October, 2013

From “Chamelon Maple, in Flux”
“Come now, back into your suit of hornlock
your stiff winter verbs waive in a church
on fence hooks, shuffling against the colors of you”

“The remaining black walnuts drop to self-immolate
on the lawn, their cocoa-green husks falling
like hard prompts to a frost- stiffened grass.

‘Thank you…..for two of the most terrific and productive
weeks of my writing career”

-AMBER GALEO, Poet, Columbia University – October, 2013

“Catwalk land did its magic again. It was a super productive time for me. Running around all over the fields shooting images every day.”
-MAYUMI LAKE, Video/Performance, SAIC – October , 2013

“Freud, though dubious in many respects, said a astutely that the two most important things in life are ‘love and work’. This can of course be re phrased many ways: ‘family and purpose’, ‘friendship and self ambition’, ‘nature and the man-made world’. I’ll stick with Freud for now….’love and work’. At Catwalk I’ve had both.”
-MOLLY DILWORTH, Installation Artist, NYU Steinhardt – Fall 2013

“Freud, though dubious in many respects, said a astutely that the two most important things in life are ‘love and work’. This can of course be re phrased many ways: ‘family and purpose’, ‘friendship and self ambition’, ‘nature and the man-made world’. I’ll stick with Freud for now….’love and work’. At Catwalk I’ve had both.”
–JOSHUA HOWES, Writer, Columbia Universiy – September 7, 2013

At Catwalk “I got the point I’ve been missing for too long. Instead of searching myself or the library or even putting on my running shoes, stopping, observing, exploring a landscape and listening to is how to get somewhere.”
–VICTORIA BOND, Writer/Installation artist, Vassar – August 2013

Lyrics from “Swim in River”…..
“When my days are waning, when my time has come and gone
Lay to rest my weary bones on a bed of skipping stones
And let me be washed in the river
So that I may always be free
I build a bridge by the river bend
But the current carried it away, carried me home”
–JOSH BAUM, Musician/Video Artist, Vassar – July, 2013

“I never anticipated how much unique rhythm here would open new ways of writing and thinking about Syria, a place I left in 2009. I always obsess over views, and what I wrote here was made always thinking about the durability and staying power of certain views. This stretch of beautiful land reshaped my memories and impressions and like Damascus, I’ll take my view of Catwalk with me.”
–FREDERICK DEKNATEL, Writer, Vassar, – June 2013

“Catwalk is such an amazing place because of its shifting and renewing relationship between art and place. But at its core Catwalk allows visitors to be and make without contradiction, and I attribute that possibility to your making this place with our own visions and ways of being.”
–ELIZABETH GRAMM, Environmental Studies, Vassar – May 2013

“At Catwalk, Rilke’s cosmic metaphor comes to life. That Purcell and Jim have conjured such a place fills me with a sense of awe, and deep, deep gratitude.”
–JEFFREY WEAVER, Writer, Columbia University – September, 2012

“There are creatures that sting and bite at Catwalk, and they have marked me. Here, the trees reach and sweet lonely fawns find shelter and woodpeckers hammer. The frogs call me to sleep. I will travel home with seeds for a thousand and one dreams. Plain and simple, Catwalk is magic.”
–JAMES KAO, Visual Artist, SAIC – July 2012

“If I cold draw a picture it would show the feeling of being deliciously squeezed between lush green and wild water…..and the trick of light that teases from the bridge.”
–SARA FREEMAN, Writer, Columbia – MAY 2012

“There is something about being surrounded by nature and allowing it to seep into one’s frame of thinking…….the history of place, the river, the undisturbed areas that reveal meaning that is lost in so many other places”
–ARTHUR POLENDO, Installation Artist, SAIC – March 2012

“In general, my days at CATWALK followed this routine: first, coffee and writing in the tower, a jog over the Rip Van Winkle, a walk through the woods to the river, then lunch; afternoons of revisions, editing, sound-projects involving fluorescent lights and a reed organ in the carriage house, walks into town, and long reads in an Adirondack chair by the pond; lastly, unpredictable nights— whiskey, conversations with the Palmers, new work, strange dreams. All this is to say that the CATWALK residency gave me the seclusion, space and time to follow and explore ideas. The landscape remembered my childhood with country sounds: catbirds, trains, midday bees, frogs at dusk. CATWALK was thunderstorms, secret places and other surprises, like the shock of how quickly phlox and the rhododendron fade.”
–Robert Ostrom, Columbia University

“At Catwalk last summer, I planted the seeds for a new body of work exploring spatial relationships through use of ink, plexiglas and performance. I would like to return to Catwalk to advance this project I have been experimenting with this past year.”
-Alexa Meade, Vassar Alum

“Catwalk is also holds a historically significant place in the history of American architecture. The grounds are tranquil and inspiring–this is a meditative place for creative work. Purcell is also beacon of knowledge and experience. “
–Noe Kidder, SAIC and Vassar Alum

“Sitting on the banks of the Hudson River one is reminded of the convergence of art, natural, and political histories. Within a short driving distance residents can attend wonderful cultural spaces and events.”
–Dara Greenwald, SAIC Staff, 1998-2005; MFA, Writing, Alum 2003; SAIC Part-Time Faculty 2003-2005

“The month I spent at Catwalk during July 2005 was one of the most productive experiences of my life as a writer. I wrote 80 pages of my novel, The Heroines, which I sold a year later to Scribner and five foreign publishers. Aspects of the Catwalk scenery crept into my work: the thunderstorms, the heat, the cry of a catbird. I worked late into the night in the glorious tower, inspired by the artistic atmosphere provided by Jim and Purcell Palmer. They were both delightful companions, warm and welcoming, so generous to share their magical home and grounds with me, an SAIC faculty member. I cannot thank them enough.”
–  Eileen Favorite, Author

“… the landscape of course was incredibly inspiring and Purcell was a wonderful hostess offering to share her knowledge of beautiful little hidden alcoves.”
– Sumakshi Singh, SAIC Faculty and Alum

“My time in Catwalk …was one of the most intensive  and inspiring time(s) that I had experienced, as I photographed few thousand images over 10 days. In result, Ex Post Facto series was exhibited in Chelsea, New York in May 2008 (solo show), and was published from Nazraeli Press as a newest edition to their famous “One Picture Book” series in May 2009.”
– Mayumi Lake, SAIC Alum and Photography Faculty

“As a plein air landscape painter, the landscape of the Hudson Valley has been an invaluable resource for my work.”
–Judy Koon Painting and Drawing Alum

“The residence is situated in an ideal location–secluded, ample work space, access and proximity to creative communities in the region.  The residency provided much needed space and time to pursue new ideas and work. It was enormously beneficial to my studio practice. Not only did the residency allow for a focused studio time, it also led me to experiment and take chances with the unfamiliar. “
–Ann Chen, SAIC FYP Faculty and MFA Painting and Drawing Alum

“This program is designed as a private creative retreat for artists in the world famous Hudson River Valley, where the American art movement was born… In the course of five years, nearly one hundred artists resided at Catwalk and produced important new artwork that has been the stepping stone for many of them into the International spotlight…The Palmers have dedicated themselves physically, financially and spiritually to the success of Catwalk and to the creation of work made there..”
– Merry-Beth Noble, SAIC Alum and CATWALK Program Coordinator

“The 65 acre estate has been a fertile ground for us to develop and research material and to make specific performance, writing texts, video, and creative dialogue and conversations between ourselves, Purcell and other artists whom we have connected and collaborated with on the estate.”
–Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey, SAIC Faculty Performance, and Art and Tech / Writing

“Without the time to explore imaginative impulses at Catwalk, I may not have reached the conclusion to expand beyond what was familiar and comfortable to me.  My example shows the critical contribution Catwalk makes in the support of developing artists such as myself..”
– Christine Taylor, SAIC BFA Alum

“Memories, images and objects…the mixing of all that in that privileged place of ‘following a wandering mind….. it was fun to look back …  and feel how ALIVE I was. thank you thank you thank you”
–Jane Beatrice Wegscheider

“I think about Catwalk all the time…it was inseparable to my growth as an artist and bringing me to an understanding of what an apotheosis of isolation demands of a person. The …drawing was by far the most important thing I had ever done artistically at the time. It was impossible to have made without Catwalk. And It opened a personal door that everything I have made since has come through. “
–Matthew Woodward, SAIC BFA Alum

“Catwalk allowed us the time and space to work independently and together, so as not to drive each other crazy… so as to actually get the project done.  The landscape surrounding Jim and Purcell’s home is nothing short of magical and renewed my connection to the daily practice of art-making…So to call the time there ‘productive’ is a major understatement.  It was a reminder of who I am and the astounding amount of work I am able to do, if only I find the time and space to do it.”
– Jeff Harms, Alumni, SAIC MFA Sculpture

“For me the catwalk residency in 2008 was a great opportunity to have dedicated time to work with my sister on a collaborative project. “
–  Rebecca and Emily Carter,  SAIC MFA and BFA Alumni

“The residency is an excellent resource for the school, a rare privilege, hosted by gracious patrons in an incredible locale.”
– Brian Torrey Scott,  SAIC Faculty and Alumni, Writing

“..my time at catwalk has been incredibly productive and the experience an absolutely positive one.”
–Judith Leemann, MFA Fiber and Material Studies Alum

“-catwalk offered me a space to break away from the grind of the everyday to stop, breathe, think, and create without interruption …-catwalk is in a prime location for artists…nestled in peace and quiet…and only a short time away from amazing AMAZING arts organizations, museums, theatre, music, writing, you name it…THE PLACE IS RICH”
– Dana Vinger, MFA Writing Alum

“Somehow time elongated there.”
–Kym Olsen and Trevor Martin Performance MFA Alums

“…it was a wonderful way to share ideas on process, art history, and current art practice. AND in a leisurely and friendly fashion, not standing in a gallery or a faculty/staff soiree, but rather over time, over lunch, during a hike, or as we worked side by side on a Catskills Mountain lookout.”
–Lori Felker MFA Film, Video and New Media Alum

“I have many fond memories of being at Catwalk, and whenever the hustle of the city gets to me I try to think of my long leafy walks down to the river…Thank you again for the opportunity to live and work on your beautiful property.”
– Natalie Beall