About Denniston Hill

Situated in the Southern Catskills on a 200-acre campus, DH was established on the conviction that it is imperative for artists of all disciplines, backgrounds and career stages to have time and space for reflection and research. The organization was founded in 2004 by a group of primarily LGBTQ artists, architects, and writers of color. We are an artist-centered interdisciplinary arts organization that fosters an inclusive, practical discourse about the aesthetics, function, ethics and meaning of contemporary artistic practice. Our mission is guided by the principle that creative and critical voices are important in shaping a just, equitable society.

— Mission Statement

Based on the strong belief that artists’ voices should be heard, nurtured and protected, DH is dedicated to fostering dialogue through our core programs. The artists we support fearlessly challenge mainstream understandings of gender, identity, and race while working tirelessly to bring attention to the critical issues of our time. We are committed to amplifying under-the-radar voices, and encouraging conversations among and beyond our community of artists striving for change and cultural awareness.

We advance our mission by offering alternative support structures that are not reliant on market forces and by providing artists opportunities to create work, explore ideas and push boundaries.


Our Activities

— Curated Residencies

We invite artists, architects, writers, and poets at any stage of their career to have time and space for engaged reflection, research, and production. 

Explore our residency programs →

— PERFORMANCES & public programs

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Learn more →


A forum for the exchange of ideas across disciplinary boundaries, in order to better understand “the stuff of the universe.”

Read Swerve →



Our History

Denniston Hill was founded in 2004 by a group of artists, architects, and writers who were interested in exploration within the visual arts, architecture, literature, the sciences, and humanities and fostering dialogue across disciplines through residencies, exhibitions, and educational programs. For at least five years before that, the farm house, barn, and surrounding forest and field were a place of exploration, exchange, and renewal for what would become Denniston Hill’s first board of directors. For example, Paul Pfeiffer used the site for his Orpheus Descending (2001) and Julie Mehretu painted some of her first large-scale paintings here. Artists, architects, and writers have used the Hill and its facilities as a canvas, a studio, a source of inspiration, and a place to re-charge. Denniston Hill’s unique location in the southern Catskills invites site-related investigations from artists, architects, writers, and scholars in the visual arts, literature, architecture, sciences, and the humanities.

In addition to our current board of directors, our founding members included John Letourneau, kara lynch, Jessica Rankin, Beth Stryker, and Robin Vachal. In addition, early visitors to the farmhouse included Lyle Ashton Harris, Zoe Leonard, and Akram Zaatari.




Board of Directors

  • Lawrence Chua

  • Julie Mehretu

  • Paul Pfeiffer

Executive Director

Yona Backer  


Residency Program Manager

Rachel Carrigan


John Letourneau


  • Amy Sadao

  • Chomwan Weeraworawit

  • Christine Kim

  • Dean Daderko

  • Eungie Joo

  • Franklin Sirmans

  • Hilton Als

  • Jodie Vicenta Jacobson

  • kara lynch

  • Moukhtar Kocache

  • Regine Basha

  • Renaud Proch

  • Sérgio Muñoz Sarmiento