To quote writer Virginia Woolf: 'A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.' The EGR Writers House believes that any writer, but especially any writer from the LGBTQ community, or other minority communities, who hopes to write creatively, (fiction, poetry, plays, short stories), needs to have a space, be it a room or, as here, a condo, and a certain level of funding. Its mission is to make writing possible here in Augusta, Maine.
The EGR Writers House, (as can be seen in the photographs on the web version), is a house built in 1900 which was later split into two condo units, each 800 sq. ft., with two bedrooms (one large, one small) and bathroom on the second floor, (making them not handicap accessible), an outside space, kitchen, and living room on the first floor, and a basement with storage, washer and dryer. It has been brought to my attention that the 1980's attachment of 24 to 26 removed the window from the smaller 'bedroom' of 26, the rental, so while having a skylight, the unit is best considered a one bedroom with study (the former 'bedroom'). The age of the construction, and the wood structural beams, both units are non-smoking, and no open flames (candles).
It is within walking distance of the airport, with local taxis, national bus service, connections to and from other southern areas of Maine, as well as Boston and New York. There is a dedicated parking area in the back, and cars are how most get around.
Maine has a number of private colleges within under an hour's drive: Bowdoin (Brunswick); Bates (Lewiston/Auburn); Colby (Waterville). The are other colleges, as well as the University of Maine system.
The city of Augusta has big box stores, chain restaurants, as well as local shops and eating establishments.
To the local companies and employees which and who made a house split into condos a home for writers: S. J. Wood Construction (Phil); Hammond Lumber (Chip); Dave's Appliance (Kerry); New Beginnings Flooring; Downeast Energy (Darren); Portland Glass; Collette Monuments (Luc); Maranacook Masonry (Steve); Mackenzie Landscaping (Renee); Framemakers in Waterville, which has framed paintings and drawings by Larry Stanton (Amy, Greta). The professionalism, friendliness, humor all made, and continue to make, the EGR Writers House function for those working here.
To Amos Byron and Matt Otterson at Kennebec Savings Bank for their investment management services, which allowed an ninety year old trust to safely move from New York and Dallas to around the corner in Augusta, Maine.
To Tavis Hasenfus, co-trustee and attorney, who will inherit what this becomes.
The EGR Writers House is privately funded by the EGR Writers Trust under an agreement dating from 2015. As originally envisioned, the trust would provide free housing with a stipend at a former one room schoolhouse in Monmouth upon the death of the Settlor. With the sale of the schoolhouse, relocation to Augusta, and the purchase of a second condo unit, the strategy shifted.
Under the terms of the Trust, there are two trustees who work with Kennebec Savings Bank Wealth Management. Their responsibility is overseeing the assets under management. They determine the annual budget, based on income projections.
There will be a board consisting of five members. None of the members have been determined at this writing. The unpaid board is tasked with decisions connected to the budget, such as how large any stipend can reasonably be offered, what expenses are anticipated, what maintenance planned, what are the House Rules, and, most important, how does it find each year's writers in residence, and what, if any, community engagement should be requested.
That stated, the opportunity to purchase a second condo unit has allowed the Writers House to open its doors in the Summer of 2017. To do so, however, it could only offer subsidized housing for writers, as defined elsewhere.
The EGR Writers House does not currently offer stipends, scholarships, have a board or committee, require an application. Someone who was accepted at another arts program in Maine noted that the lack of a complicated process was a plus, so this has been copied. The opportunity might be compared to taking on an unpaid internship as a step into the job market.
It is hoped that the house, in regular use by writers, will bring definition to it, rather than the imposition of a structure which doesn't work, which doesn't meet needs. Anyone in residence will be given a standard, annual lease. Winthrop Smith, Trustee of the EGR Writers House, invites any and all questions or suggestions. He can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail: 28 Blaine Avenue, Augusta, ME 04330.
(To view Winthrop Smith's work-in-progress: takedownportraits.blogspot.com or published work: Amazon.com.)
Located at 26 and 28 Blaine Avenue in Augusta, Maine 04330, the EGR Writers House provides subsidized housing for writers.
A writer is defined by one or more of the following: he/she is currently a college student with a major in creative writing and/or English; he/she has graduated from college with a major in creative writing and/or English; he/she has one foot working on a creative writing project, such as a book, and one foot in the work world. It is important that the Writers House welcome anyone who feels his/her identify tied to creative written expression, whether or not college can, or will, play a part in that. There is an expectation that creative writing will be done while a resident is here.
Subsidized is defined as rented for a period of time, by the month, for three, six or twelve months, at the projected cost of annual maintenance, (including heat, hot water, water/sewer taxes, property insurance, property taxes, propane, etc.) divided by 12. The rent is currently $600/month.
The unfurnished condo is on two floors with a full basement, washer and dryer, outdoor patio, on site parking.
Use the pictures of 28 on the web version to visualize 26 since they are reverse mirror layouts. Paintings and drawings by Larry Stanton larrystanton.net are hung in 28.
The Writers House encourages any writers to become residents, but especially those from minority groups, such as the LGBTQ community, whose subject matter (writing content) might not always be welcome or encouraged elsewhere.