Summer 2019 | July 6th - August 4th 2019 | Averill Park, NY

Thesis at ALN is a new program led by David Gersten, for people from all disciplines and experiences to explore their questions and develop their personal works. The program is organized around a regular schedule of, one on one, studio visits with David, ALN Fellows and Visiting Artists, as well as, project-related explorations and events. Works can be pursued independently or in collaboration. The hope is that an organic environment emerges where people and their works can listen to one another.

Revolution has many possible interpretations - it can signify a dramatic social, economic, political or scientific change. Today many of its meanings originate with the title of Copernicus’, (1543) book: "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres." Revolution is placed as an invitation towards the scale, scope, depth and breadth of each individual’s curiosities, questions, explorations and works, it contains a gesture of multiple possible ‘turns’ to be discovered, at once, beyond us and within us.

Thesis at ALN Revolution website.jpg

Thesis at ALN will cover 4 weeks starting July 6th and will continue in the Fall, available for those who wish a longer-term format. Below are a number of principles that underlie the ethos and aspirations of the program:

1 Questions are the most transformative instruments in the world.

We cannot limit what we ask, to what we can speak, some of the greatest questions do not fit into language, we feel them, we sense them in our gut, we experience a kind of pre-linguistic, curiosity with our body. The specific embodied situation within which we perceive and experience our questions has a profound impact on our lives and the life of our questions.

2 Towards ‘seeing’ not ‘showing’

We should not make drawings to ‘show’ something but to ‘see’ something. This simple turn of phrase, expresses a turn in direction, rather than having a formed image or idea that we than project upon the world; our making becomes an exploratory search. This principle extends far beyond drawing, as our studios, shops and labs become sites of exploration, places of receptive action and listening to the world.

3 Listening is a form of imagination

People are transformed when we listen to them, authentic exploratory research begins with people’s curiosities and questions, sometimes these questions begin with full-throated loud urgencies and other times they are whispers, hints of a fragile curiosity, silent seeds beneath the surface. It is essential that all are heard; Creating an atmosphere of trust, where an individual’s interests are driving their research, is essential.

Summer at ALN

Summer at ALN offers the following programs: Thesis at ALN and Summer Residency program. These programs will be run in parallel and close proximity, each with its own autonomy and schedule, but with lots of opportunities for collaboration. Throughout the Summer at ALN there will be times for programmatic overlaps where artists from the programs will come together for collective sharing and learning. 

Several visiting artists will spend time at ALN this summer. As the list is growing we have confirmed the two first weeks will have poet Ginger Teppner, visual artist Luca Spano, designer Chris Rose. During the last two weeks a group of visiting musicians will interact with the artists enrolled in the programs as well as sharing their works and collaborations; composer/pianist Michael Harrison, pianist Sophia Vastek, composer Reiko Fueting, cellist Ashley Bathgate, composer/saxophonist Sam Torres, and composer/percussionist Payton MacDonald.

An important part of each program is the sharing of works. Summer at ALN will culminate in a two-day celebration. Concerts, performances, exhibitions, presentations, culinary explorations and all forms of expression that have emerged will be shared with an audience. Prior to that there will also be a concert held in Troy on July 26th and our monthly event 3rd Thursday on July 18th.

Below is a framework and outline of each of the programs of this summer. There are not a lot of rules at ALN, but one of them is if we know what’s going to happen we don’t do it! It is with precisely the same energy that we head towards this Summer, we are approaching this with all of the unknowing that we do all of our creative works and with the hope that it will bring insights to what has happened, what is happening and all that is to come.


Arts Letters & Numbers facilities are a collection of buildings once part of the former textile complex Faith Mills along Burden Lake Road in Averill Park, NY: The House on the Hill, The Twins, The Barn, The Studios and The Grounds. A variety of differently sized shared studio spaces, a wooden barn and the outdoor grounds welcome artists to design their site of exploration.

An assortment of power and hand tools, digital media equipment, and musical instruments including a 9’ concert grand piano and two upright pianos, will be available for artists to use.

A communal live-work environment is an integral part of the ALN experience: the practice of living reflects an approach to the work and the potential for interactions across disciplines. Shared accommodations will be provided in the House on the Hill and in the Twin Houses. Single futon beds on low raised platforms, are arranged in double, triple, and quad sleeping quarters.


Arts Letters & Numbers is constructed not only by those who are directly involved in its day to day operation - fellows, residents, participants, visiting artists and local community members - it also continues to be built by everyone who walks through the door. This aspect of Arts Letters & Numbers is fundamental.

When people are free to act, interact, and support one another, new works and ideas emerge.

Everyone staying at Arts Letters & Numbers is expected to treat the facilities with care and consideration, as well as to be mindful of one another’s space. Whether it’s in a living or working situation, everyone is responsible for cleaning up after themselves, and to lend a helping hand when needed. Arts Letters & Numbers is based on the value and reward derived from communal efforts.

One of the communal efforts will be to help out with the daily dinners. With the guidance of ALN’s associate director Frida Foberg, everyone will find themselves in the kitchen at some point during the program, and do the important work of bringing everyone together by the end of the day.

Program Fee

The fee covers the following:

  • Accommodation in shared room

  • Daily communal dinners

  • Communal studio space, individual and group instructions, critiques and visits from guest speakers and artists

  • Transportation for group excursions and also including pick-up and drop-off to/from bus (Greyhound or Megabus), train (Amtrak) or airport (Albany Int’l Airport) as well as grocery trips

  • Material, tools and equipment connected to the group works for the intensive is covered. Participants are responsible for personal materials used in their creative work

  • Equipment: We will have a limited selection of instruments available for shared use. Please contact us for more detailed information

  • Final show/performance/concert


    The Program fees:   

                                      Thesis at ALN (4weeks).........……... $ 2,200

The participants are responsible for their own:

  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch, snacks, beverages, specific dietary supplements

  • Bedlinen, towels, essential hygiene and toiletry items

  • Transportation: Travel expenses and personal excursions

  • Admission fees during excursions

  • Equipment and Material

  • Travel insurance

Application still open