The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announces a grant of $500,000 to the Stephen Petronio Company to conserve a 77-acre parcel of land surrounding the Petronio Residency Center, and adjacent to the Catskill Preserve, designating it as a forever wild open space to be named the Doris Duke Preserve at Round Top, Greene County. This novel undertaking will enable the Stephen Petronio Company to safeguard the sustainability of the Petronio Residency Center while protecting in perpetuity an important haven for biodiversity. The grant will facilitate the Stephen Petronio Company's ability to obtain full and enduring ownership of the expansive property that cradles the Petronio Residency Center—where it works to nurture generations of contemporary dance artists—while simultaneously expanding the footprint of protected land along the Catskill corridor and significantly advancing regional conservation efforts in the Hudson Valley.
"The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's grant to Stephen Petronio Company is nothing short of transformational for us as an organization," said Stephen Petronio, founder and artistic director of the Stephen Petronio Company and the Petronio Residency Center. "The goal for the Petronio Residency Center is to serve as a creative haven for early-stage choreographic development and support the future of dance, and this funding amplifies and enlivens our growing focus on environmental stewardship and a soon-to-launch category of environmental programming. Sustaining a dance producing organization with a modest administrative staff and a core group of dancers while at the same time growing PRC to ensure the next generation of dance is a significant undertaking in the best of times. We see PRC as both an opportunity and a responsibility, to artists and the natural world, and are so excited by all that we will be able to continue to do thanks to this incredible funding. Our gratitude goes to DDCF and longtime SPC supporter The Howard Gilman Foundation, which provided additional crucial support in this effort."
"The Petronio Residency Center sets the standard for providing a vital service to choreographers in an extraordinary setting, and the Hudson Valley sets the standard for America's rich natural landscapes," said Sam Gill, President and CEO of DDCF. "Supporting these two treasures simultaneously is an incredible testament to Doris Duke's name and legacy." The Doris Duke Preserve at Round Top, Greene County will be established through a permanent land conservation easement, held in perpetuity by the Greene Land Trust. The most distinctive characteristic of an easement as a conservation tool is that it enables specific conservation goals on the land while keeping ownership and management with the existing landowners and allowing for uses harmonious with conservation objectives. This mechanism enables an experienced land conservation organization, such as a land trust or government agency, to work with a landowner in order to achieve conservation purposes.
The parcel was officially renamed the Doris Duke Preserve at a naming ceremony in September. Pictures and video from that ceremony -- including the performance by the Stephen Petronio Company of a "Bloodlines" work by choreographer Trisha Brown as well as the debut of landscape installations by artists Paula Hayes, Portia Munson, Kiki Smith and Cindy Sherman -- are available here. About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. The foundation's mission, grantmaking programs, museums and centers are guided by Doris Duke's will and operated through five related philanthropies: the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the Duke Farms Foundation and the Doris Duke Management Foundation. Together, the Doris Duke philanthropies support the well-being of people and the planet for a more creative, equitable and sustainable future. The mission of DDCF's Arts Program is to support artists with the creation and public performance of their work. The program's holistic funding approach is grounded in equity and informed by the belief that artists add value to society and should be supported to live dignified lives while pursuing their creative expression. The mission of DDCF's Environment Program is to ensure a thriving, resilient environment for wildlife and people, and foster an inclusive, effective conservation movement. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org. About the Stephen Petronio Company and the Petronio Residency Center The Stephen Petronio Company (SPC) was founded in 1984 to support the vision and creative work of modern dance choreographer Stephen Petronio, which includes the creation and presentation of his existing and new works in collaboration with some of the most provocative artists of our time. The Company is also deeply committed to supporting legacy initiatives meant to preserve the history of postmodern dance lineage (Bloodlines) and to advance future creations through new works that offer a platform for a greater inclusivity of artistic voices. The Company, known for its boldly visceral movement set within organic, architectural structures, has produced over 80 works and performed in over 40 countries receiving national and international recognition. In 2017, SPC established the Petronio Residency Center (PRC) in Round Top, New York on 172 acres in the Catskill Mountains of Greene County as a creative destination for artists, organizations and leaders in the dance field to support dance artists toward the creation of new work. PRC features a 6,500 square foot house and 2,500 square foot state-of-the-art dance studio, organic garden and hiking trails. The heart of the center's mission is two-fold: to provide artists with a place to research and build new dances away from their day to day responsibilities in close proximity to nature, and to establish a local dance education program that brings the power of movement to the youth of Cairo/Round Top and all of Greene County.
To date, PRC has hosted over 80 artists and their collaborators. It is with gratitude and humility that SPC acknowledges that SPC and its associated artists work, perform and gather on the ancestral homelands of the Mohican people, who are the indigenous peoples of the land where PRC is located. SPC honors and respects their ancestors past and present as the organization commits to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all.