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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 work is guided by the principle that creative and critical voices are important in shaping a just, equitable society.

PICTURED: Okwui Okpokwasili (DPAA ‘17), pOOR PEOPLE’S TV ROOM, performed at Denniston HIll, 2017. IMAGE CREDIT: tiMOTHY GERKEN


Situated in the Southern Catskills on a 200-acre campus, Denniston Hill 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.

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Grounds & Facilities (click to enlarge)



Denniston Hill was established in 2004 by group of primarily LGBTQ artists, architects, and writers of color interested in fostering dialogues across disciplines through residencies, and a wide range of public programs. For at least five years before, the farm house, barn, and surrounding grounds 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. Early visitors to the farmhouse included Lyle Ashton Harris, Zoe Leonard, and Akram Zaatari.


Our Activities

Carlos Muriel,  Mulo  (2016). Denniston Hill Residency Performance.

Carlos Muriel, Mulo (2016). Denniston Hill Residency Performance.

Curated Residencies

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

Explore our residency programs →

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, หมู่บ้านและที่อื่น  Village and Elsewhere:  Jeff Koons’  Untitled,  Cindy Sherman’s  Untitled,  and Thai Villagers, 2011, digital pigment print.

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, หมู่บ้านและที่อื่น Village and Elsewhere: Jeff Koons’ Untitled, Cindy Sherman’s Untitled, and Thai Villagers, 2011, digital pigment print.


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

Read Swerve →


Performances & Public Programs

Denniston Hill commissions alumni with performance-based practices to create new live-art works, conducts inquiry-driven forums such as The Swerve Conversations between Denniston Hill alumni and other practitioners, and also conducts art and agriculture initiatives and collaborative programs with institutions of higher learning.

Explore our upcoming performances and events →



Board of Directors


Credit: Timothy Gerken

Lawrence Chua

Lawrence Chua is a historian of the global modern built environment with an emphasis on Asian architecture and urban culture. He is an assistant professor at the School of Architecture, Syracuse University and was most recently a fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies in Leiden and the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg. His writing has appeared in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Journal of Architecture, Journal of Urban History, Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, and Senses and Society. He received his PhD in the History of Architecture and Urban Development from Cornell University in 2012. He is the author of a novel, Gold by the Inch, and edited the collection Collapsing New Buildings.


Credit: Anastasia Muna

Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu is a world renowned painter, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1970 who lives and works in New York City and Berlin.  She received a Master’s of Fine Art with honors from The Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. Mehretu is a recipient of many awards, including the The MacArthur Award (2005) and the US Department of State Medal of Arts Award (2015). She has shown her work extensively in international and national solo and group exhibitions and is represented in public and private collections around the world. Recent projects include completing two large-scale paintings for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Atrium in September 2017, entitled HOWL eon (I, II). Upcoming exhibitions include Venice Biennale, Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, and a mid-career retrospective beginning at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in November 2019, and traveling to The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, High Museum in Atlanta, and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is represented by Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. 


Credit: Joey Trisolini

Paul Pfeiffer

Paul Pfeiffer is a visual artist living and working in NYC. He was born in 1966 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Known for his innovative manipulation of digital media, Pfeiffer recasts the visual language of pop spectacle to explore how images shape the perception of ourselves and the world. Pfeiffer earned a B.F.A. in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, an M.F.A. from Hunter College, and was a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program. He is the recipient of a number of awards, most notably an Alpert Award for Visual Arts from CalArts in 2009, a United States Artist Fellowship in 2015, and the inaugural Bucksbaum Award from the Whitney Museum in 2000. Pfeiffer's work has been seen in numerous national and international group exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial, PS1's Greater New York, the Sydney Biennial, the Honolulu Biennial, and the Venice Biennale of Art. Museum solo shows and projects include Inhotim Institute, Brazil, 2019; Bellas Artes Outpost, Manila, 2018; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2017; Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii, 2016; Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila, 2015; Artangel, London, 2014; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, 2012; Sammlung Goetz, Munich, 2011; and Nationalgalerie Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, 2009. He is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery, NYC; Thomas Dane Gallery, London; and Carlier Gebauer Gallery, Berlin.


Board of Advisers

  • Adrienne Edwards

  • 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




Credit: Whitney Browne

Executive Director

Yona Backer

Credit: David Kelley

Credit: David Kelley

Program Director

Amy Rayko Sadao

Credit: Joanna MIra

Credit: Joanna MIra


Melissa Short


Image courtesy Rachel Carrigan

Residency Program Manager

Rachel Carrigan


Image courtesy John Letourneau


John Letourneau


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