The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild is a regional center for the arts located in Woodstock, New York. From its 250-acre mountainside campus and its arts and performance center in the village of Woodstock, Byrdcliffe offers an integrated program of exhibitions, performance, classes (ceramics, jewelry, weaving, and writing), workshops, symposia, and artists’ residencies.
Byrdcliffe is one of the oldest continuously operating arts colonies in America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Byrdcliffe was founded in 1902. Seven farms, 1500 acres in all, were purchased for the enterprise by a wealthy Englishman named Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead. By the time it was completed in 1903, 30 buildings stood, comprising what has been referred to as a “textbook example” of a utopian Arts and Crafts Community. The Arts and Crafts movement began in England in the last quarter of the 19th century as a reaction against rapid urbanization and industrialization. Its most passionate and well-known English spokesmen were art critic, John Ruskin and artist, William Morris. They shared a rural, utopian ideal based on a brotherhood of artistic collaboration. They believed that life would have enhanced meaning if work reflected the nobility thought to have been lost when machines eliminated the need for the skills and art of hand craftsmanship.
Byrdcliffe provides walking tours of the historic arts colony and parts of our permanent collection by appointment. Visit White Pines, the original home of Byrdcliffe’s founders, where you can see the former ceramics studio used from 1915-1926, preserved in its original state. Visit the Barn and class studios, as well as the historic Theater (availability varies). Access to residences currently used by artists is not possible. Please call to schedule an appointment at least one month in advance of the date you’d like to visit. Tours require a 6-person minimum for tour.