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Archives: Art Colonies


The Centrum Offices

The Centrum Offices

I discovered retreat centers as a solution to the problem of how to get my writing done. I was teaching middle school, and while I sometimes had the energy to revise, I found it nearly impossible to generate new work after the long school day. So I got in the habit of disappearing to an art colony during breaks from teaching. I got a lot of work done this way, and continue to do so.

My first visit here to Centrum was in March of 1996. As a colony, it fits the “no program” mode, meaning that you’re given a place to live, but there’s no one around to make your meals or clean up after you. My little bungalow has a decently equipped kitchen, and there’s a Safeway over in town. You might meet your fellow artists—if they happen to emerge at the same time you do. Otherwise you’re on your own.

Fort Worden State Park, home of Centrum (and also of the wonderful Copper Canyon Press) is a decommissioned military base. If you’ve seen “An Officer and a Gentleman,” this is where it was filmed.

Below is the little bungalow where I am working this month. They’re called S.U.D.S cabins—because when the base was active, this is where the laundry workers lived. Yep, they can use a coat of paint, but they are quite comfortable inside.



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