Baxter St Family Residency at STONELEAF Retreat

Nandita Raman has been announced as the 2022 awardee of the Baxter St Family Residency at STONELEAF RETREAT. The two-week program, started last year with inaugural awardee Nona Faustine, provides lens-based artists who are also mothers with an unrestricted grant of $2,500, focused studio time, one-on-one critiques with members of Baxter St’s Art Advisory Board, and family accommodations on STONELEAF’s 22-acre property in New York’s Catskill Mountains. The residency is a partnership between Baxter St, a 137-year-old organization renowned for its critical support of emerging lens-based artists, and STONELEAF, an artist residency and creative space for women and families, and is made possible by the generous support of 7|G Foundation and the Howard & Sarah D. Solomon Foundation.

“The convergence of time, space and an atmosphere of relative ease brings about thinking and making for me.” says Raman. “As a parent it’s incredibly challenging to be in both places of making art and making play with my daughter. I really appreciate Stoneleaf and Baxter Street for this support where the two can coincide.”

About the Artist

Nandita Raman is from Benaras (India) and works with a range of media including photography, video, drawing, and language. Raman’s work has been exhibited at George Eastman Museum, Museum of Moving Images, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University and Columbia University. She has curated group exhibitions in New York and Varanasi. Her work has been written about in the New York Times, British Journal of Photography, the Hindu; and published in MIT Press’s Performance Art Journal, and the Documenta 14 volume South as a State of Mind. She has been a resident at Baxter St Camera Club of New York, and a recipient of Alkazi Foundation’s Documentary Photography Grant. Nandita earned an MFA from the Bard College-International Center of Photography and teaches photography at SUNY Purchase College.

The construction of a picturesque landscape, the subsidiary framing of human figures as a measure of scale next to magnificent architecture, and the absence of women holding themselves with agency are some of the traits of nineteenth century photographs that continue to shape and inform contemporary aesthetics. Raman looks at archives to rethink and dislodge these historical representations. Her work reflects on aspects of human nature: the affinity to defining emotions and things, to resisting all things that lie outside of the ‘normal’, and most urgently imagining all relationships through the framework of use and extraction. The studio is a space and a site of spaciousness for her, where she can let her guards down, think, and make without being in view. I consider this a privilege, and think if people at large could afford to slow down, it would enable a less self-conscious, reactionary life potentially leading to a different imagination of relationships with human, non-human beings and our environment.


Nona Faustine has been named the inaugural awardee of the Baxter St Family Residency at STONELEAF RETREAT. The new two-week program, starting in July, provides lens-based artists who are also mothers with an unrestricted grant of $2,500, focused studio time, one-on-one critiques with members of Baxter St’s Art Advisory Board, and family accommodations on STONELEAF’s 22-acre property in New York’s Catskill Mountains. The residency is a partnership between Baxter St, a 137-year-old organization renowned for its critical support of emerging lens-based artists, and STONELEAF, an artist residency and creative space for women and families, and is made possible by the generous support of 7|G Foundation and the Howard & Sarah D. Solomon Foundation.

“As a single mother dedicated to both my family and my practice as a photographer and visual artist, it is a great pleasure to be recognized and supported by STONELEAF and Baxter St through this residency,” said Nona Faustine, who will attend with her daughter, Queen.  

The Baxter St Family Residency  at STONELEAF RETREAT grew out of conversations Baxter St President Michi Jigarjian and STONELEAF Co-Founder Helen Toomer had regarding the increased difficulties of working and parenting during a pandemic. As working parents, Jigarjian and Toomer wanted to provide time, space, and support to artists who are juggling families, artistic practice, and, often, a day job, and simply do not have the time or resources to do it all. 

“While the traditional residency model of escaping to a bucolic environment to singularly focus on artistic practice can be a well-intentioned dream, for most artists who are also mothers, leaving family behind is often not an option,” said Michi Jigarjian. “The Baxter St Family Residency is intended to drive home the notion that motherhood and artistic practice do not have to be mutually exclusive.” 

“We’ve admired Nona’s work for years, and are excited for STONELEAF to provide her and her family with a nourishing time to rest and create,” said Helen Toomer. “We’re honored to be collaborating with Baxter St to increase the support of artists with children, which feels especially urgent now, during such a difficult time.”

The Baxter St Family Residency at STONELEAF RETREAT continues Baxter St and STONELEAF’s shared commitment to serving the evolving needs of their artistic communities. Artist grantees are jointly and unanimously selected from a pool of nominees. The Family Residency is intended as a purely supportive and experiential experience, and does not impose required deliverables upon the selected artist. 

About the artist

Nona Faustine is a native New Yorker and award-winning photographer. Situated inside a photographic tradition while questioning the culture that bred that tradition, her practice walks the line between the past and the present, beginning where intersecting identities meet history. Through the family album and self-portraiture Faustine explores the inherited legacy of trauma, lineage, and history. Influenced by architecture and sculpture, she reconstructs a narrative of race, memory, and time that delves into stereotypes, folklore and anthropology. Her images are meditative reflections of a history Americans have not come to terms with, challenging the duality of what is both visible and invisible. They are not Photoshopped.

In 2019 Nona Faustine was distinguished with the New York Foundation Arts award in Photography, BRIC Colene Brown Art Prize, Anonymous Was A Woman Award, and Finalist in the National Portrait Gallery Outwin Boochever Competition. Her work focuses on history, identity, and representation, evoking a critical and emotional understanding of the past and proposing a deeper examination of contemporary racial and gender stereotypes. Faustine’s images have been published in a variety of national and international media outlets including Artforum, the New York Times, Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, and the New Yorker, among others. Faustine’s work has been exhibited at Harvard University, Rutgers University, Maryland State University, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, the International Center of Photography, The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Tomie Ohtake Institute, and many others. Her work is in the collection of the David C. Driskell Center at Maryland State University, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, and has been recently acquired by the Baltimore Museum of Art, North Dakota Museum, and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum in Minnesota.

About STONELEAF RETREAT

STONELEAF RETREAT is an artist residency and creative space for women and families, set on over 20 acres of land in the Catskill Mountains of New York. It was founded in 2017 by Helen Toomer and Eric Romano to foster and support connection and community within a calm, natural setting. 

For further information please contact Co-Founder & Executive Director, Helen Toomer, hello@stoneleafretreat.com

VIsit: www.stoneleafretreat.com / Follow: @stoneleafretreat


STONELEAF Alumni

2020:* Megan Cotts, Liz Ikiriko, Langdon Graves, Carolyn Salas, Sonia Louise Davis, Qinza Najm, Betty Yu, The Next Epoch Seed Library (Ellie Irons & Anne Percoco), Nene Aïssatou Diallo, Dana Robinson and Tiffany Saint-Bunny *Rescheduled due to COVID-19.

2019: Delali Ayivor, Lizania Cruz, Tarah Douglas, Tamar Ettun, Alison McNulty, Anne Nowak, Keisha Scarville, Hiba Schahbaz and Sacha Vega.

2018: Mahwish Chishty, Theresa Chromati, Liz Collins, Rena Detrixhe, Las Hermanas Iglesias, Emma Kohlmann,  Camille Lee, Katiushka Melo, Mónica Palma, Elise Rasmussen, Rebecca Reeve and Sinta Tantra.

2017: Leah Dixon, Macon Reed and Mia Taylor.

Thank you to the Howard & Sarah D. Solomon Foundation for support of the residency program.