What is I-Park?

I-Park is an intimate setting for serious, self-directed artists’ residencies.

Brief History

Founded in 2001 by Ralph Crispino, Jr. and Joanne Paradis, I-Park is a rural, retreat-type artists-in-residence program set within a 450-acre nature preserve in East Haddam, Connecticut. The I-Park Foundation, Inc. was incorporated in 2009 and became a noy-for-profit public charity in 2011. While the program is primarily focused on studio practice, nature serves as a peaceful, inspirational backdrop as well as a palette for aesthetic interventions. As of the end of 2022, I-Park had awarded over 1100 residencies to artists and designers from around the world.

I-Park offers three primary types of residencies: the General Residency Program, the Site-Responsive Art Residency & Biennale and our Composers + Musicians Collaborative Residency.

A Sense of Place

The land itself is a major part of I-Park’s identity and plays an important role in the artists’ residency experience.

The I-Park landscape is varied, with ponds, vernal pools and pristine water courses, meadows, an abandoned gravel pit, miles of ancient stone walls, new growth forest, towering cliffs and a flourishing natural habitat. Over the years, a unique system of 27 art/nature trails have been created on the land – for the benefit of our artists-in-residence as well as to be shared with the public on Open Trails days.

The day after an artists’ group arrives for their residency, they are introduced to the land by taking a two-hour guided tour along select trails. The idea is to give them a basic lay of the land, a Sense of Place – but also a sense of confidence that, with the aid of a map, they can safely return to the wilderness when and if the spirit moves them. In reality, most artists spend the majority of their time working intensely in their studios. But many others venture beyond the studio for exercise and fresh air, foraging for mushrooms, contemplation – or simply to clear their heads or to dissolve a creative block.

As a result of this connection, many have been inspired to create artistic interventions within the landscape, thereby leaving their personal marks on the land and becoming part of the I-Park story. The process is even more endearing when nature, in response, embraces and gently transforms these creations in unpredictable ways.

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