LGBTQ Artists Working in Private and in the Spotlight: Yaddo, NY

View along the pergola with columns lining a walkway
The Pergola at Yaddo, ca. 1900-1920.

Photo by the Detroit Publishing Co., from the collections of the Library of Congress

Opened in 1926 and still operating today, Yaddo is an artist's colony offering residency and creative space to working artists in Saratoga Springs, New York. Founders Spencer and Katrina Trask envisioned a haven where artists could escape the pace and pressure of capitalism and increased industrialization. Several LGBTQ artists, including writers Patricia Highsmith and Langston Hughes, composer Aaron Copeland, and Truman Capote spent time in residency at Yaddo. Visitors to the picturesque retreat were hand-picked, which contributed to views of Yaddo as an elitist enclave. Despite the fact that most professional artists of the period were white and affluent, the environment fostered at Yaddo allowed the growth and expression of alternative ideals, which greatly affected American art and identity. Yaddo was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2013.

Part of a series of articles titled Finding Our Place: LGBTQ Heritage in the United States.

Last updated: May 15, 2019