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Roswell studios listed in National Register of Historic Places

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The historic studios at Berrendo Road, formerly known as Roswell Artist-in-Residence compound, were found historically significant and listed in the National Register of Historic Places on Aug. 7. The compound is located on the northwest outskirts of Roswell.

The historic Roswell Artist-in-Residence compound was conceived, constructed and funded by oilman and artist Donald B. Anderson. The original site of the RAiR compound that Anderson envisioned was created from a 40-acre farm on Berrendo Road which Anderson purchased in the late 1940s. The old farmhouse served as an artist’s residence, and two barns were restored as a printmaking studio and wood shop. Between 1967 and 1975, Anderson expanded the compound to six houses and nine studios organized around two courtyards. Anderson purchased most of the buildings as surplus from Walker Air Force Base, which was decommissioned in 1967. He completed the compound in 1975.

The program provided significantly more generous grants than the handful of artist-in-residence programs that existed nationwide in the late 1960s. From 1967 to 1975, Anderson conceived of the idea of an artist-in-residence program, constructed the compound of studios and residences and, with the help of resident artists, developed and professionalized the RAiR Program. Anderson funded the program, which provided five artists with a one-year residency, a stipend for living expenses, and an unlimited stipend for materials. Anderson welcomed artists’ families and increased the living stipend for each family member. The program provided artists with the “gift of time,” a full year to focus on art without the distractions of everyday life. More than 200 artists have been invited to Roswell through this program and their stay here has enriched the lives of the Roswell community and Roswell has enriched their lives as well.

The Berrendo Road compound operated as the RAiR program from 1967 to 2007. Throughout its 40-year history the grant at the historic site of the RAiR program fostered the career of many artists who went on to achieve great success and recognition in the art world. Luis Jimenez, Stuart Arends, Eddie Dominguez, Robert Colescott, Diane Marsh, Milton Resnick, Bill Midgette, David Reed, Wook-Kyung Choi, Michael Aakhus, Ted Kuykendall, Scott Green, Pat Passlof, Phillis Ideal, Alison Saar, James McGarrell, Rachel Hayes and Eric Sall are just a few of the notables who have been part of the “gift of time.” Their works appear in public and private collections throughout the nation and globally.

In 2007, the RAiR compound relocated to new facilities on 60 acres east of town.

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For more information on the RAiR program, visit rair.org.