In 1995, Albert LeCoff, co-founder and executive director emeritus of the Center for Art in Wood, launched the first residency program designed for artists working with the material of wood. That summer, five artists and a photojournalist—four from abroad and two from the United States—arrived in Philadelphia for eight intensive weeks of studio experimentation, collegiality, friendship, and creative stimulation. Conceived as an annual program, the residency grew, adding fellowships for scholars and students, and moved from the rural George School in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to the middle of Philadelphia.
Now in its 25th year, the Windgate International Turning Exchange Residency (known as "The ITE") is a sought after stop in the careers of artists interested in delving into the creative possibilities of wood, communing with peers, and making abundant piles of wood shavings. The relationships forged during these intensive eight weeks are enduring, extending far beyond the compressed time in Philadelphia's bustling Center City neighborhood. The alumnus body now numbers 166 artist, photojournalist, and scholar fellows, all of whom are notable in their fields and remain close members of the Center for Art in Wood's family. In many cases, their works become part of the Center's permanent collection, and thus are held in the public trust for study and inspiration.
A selection of those works is on view in the Center's current exhibition, allTURNatives Form + Spirit: 25 Years of the Windgate ITE Residency Program, which marks the program's landmark year. As a whole, they tell a story of breakthroughs, collaborations, explorations, disruptions, and documentation. As the Center lays the groundwork for the next 25 years of the residency, it will be led by the same commitments to fostering exchange, passion, and knowledge for the expansive world of art in wood.
The Center for Art in Wood is able to provide an impressive array of programs and services thanks to support from our patrons. Please consider making a donation to help us continue great programs like the Center's annual artist residency.