Pond Farm includes two small residences and a historic barn repurposed as a pottery studio in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. The property’s modest scale and design belie its historical importance as the home and studio of a nationally-prominent ceramicist, Marguerite Wildenhain. Since Marguerite’s death in 1985, her home and the barn have been unoccupied and the elements and the lack of routine maintenance have taken their toll. Pond Farm is located in Austin Creek State Recreation Area, one of 70 of California’s 278 parks slated for closure in 2012 due to the state’s fiscal crisis. While closure has been averted, the ongoing funding crisis for California State Parks continues to pose a direct threat to Pond Farm’s survival.
Pond Farm was the site of Pond Farm Workshops, an artist colony conceived during World War II by San Francisco couple Gordon and Jane Herr as a “sustainable sanctuary for artists away from a world gone amuck.” Among the European artists invited to teach was Marguerite Wildenhain, an early Bauhaus graduate who fled Jewish persecution in Nazi Germany and Holland to start a new life in this remote Northern California outpost. While the artist colony was short lived, Marguerite stayed until her death in 1985, teaching at the nationally-renowned summer school at Pond Farm for three decades.
- Determine the best future use for Pond Farm.
- Find appropriate ways to preserve and protect the buildings and landscape.
- Develop a partnership that can be used as a model for struggling historic sites throughout California State Parks and across the country.
Preserve and revitalize the home and studio of Marguerite Wildenhain, a Bauhaus-trained potter, author, and teacher considered to be one of the most accomplished twentieth-century ceramicists in the United States.
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