Four new Sendak Fellows get to work

Doug Salati, Richard Egielski, photographer Dona Ann McAdams, Marc McChesney, Sendak Foundation president Lynn Caponera, and Stephen Savage. — Courtesy Maurice Sendak Foundation
Doug Salati, Richard Egielski, Sendak Foundation member Dona Ann McAdams, Marc McChesney, Sendak Foundation president Lynn Caponera, and Stephen Savage. — Courtesy The Maurice Sendak Foundation

The Maurice Sendak Foundation this week announced the start of the 2015 Sendak Fellowship at Scotch Hill Farm in Cambridge, N.Y.

Established in 2010 by award-winning author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, a longtime Ridgefield resident, The Sendak Fellowship is a residency program that supports artists who tell stories with illustration. The fellowship offers a four-week summer retreat for several artists to live and work at Scotch Hill Farm. Fellows live in a house on the property of Scotch Hill Farm and receive a stipend for their time in residence.

The 2015 Sendak Fellows are Richard Egielski, Marc McChesney, Doug Salati, and Stephen Savage.

“We are very excited to begin this year’s fellowship program and have this amazing group of artists with us,” said Lynn Caponera, president of The Maurice Sendak Foundation. “Nothing brought Maurice more joy than working with emerging artists and offering his guidance, just as he was mentored as a young man.  He would be very pleased that this program continues to thrive.”

The fellowship, which takes place between July 6 and July 31, offers the opportunity for artists to deeply engage in a project in the relative isolation of a rural, farm setting. At the same time, they receive inspiration from each other as well as from visiting artists and professionals in the field.

This year’s visiting artists include:

·         Writer and illustrator Tomie dePaola (July 14), who this year marks his 50th anniversary in publishing and the 40th anniversary of his Strega Nona books;

·         Novelist Gregory Maguire (July 21), author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which was adapted into the award-winning musical;

·         Author and illustrator Barbara McClintock (July 24), who was mentored by Sendak and whose numerous awards include five New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book awards, a New York Times Notable Book citation, and a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor award.

In conjunction with the 2015 Fellowship, The Maurice Sendak Foundation is supporting a series of public events at Hubbard Hall for adults and children.

On July 25, the Hubbard Hall Children’s Theater (25 E. Main St., Cambridge) will present a production of Really Rosie, the musical written by Sendak with music by Carole King.  Performances will take place at 2 and 4 p.m.  For tickets and additional information, visit

On July 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Hubbard Hall, the 2015 Fellows will conduct a “Class Dummies” workshop.  Conceived by Sendak and Caponera, Class Dummies is a 90-minute workshop led by picture book artists.  Each student is given their very own 32-page dummy books (10.5 X 9”). The visiting artist guides the class through the fundamentals of picture books: how drawing and text work together, narrative sequence, the shape of a book, etc. During the workshop, each student creates his or her own book, and gets to keep it afterward.

Also on July 28, the 2015 Fellows will participate in a lecture and book signing at Battenkill Books (15 E. Main St., Cambridge) from 7 to 9 p.m.

Maurice Sendak with the first group of Sendak Fellows in 2010, looking over proofs of his book, Bumble Ardy. —Photo by Dona Ann McAdams
Maurice Sendak with the first group of Sendak Fellows in 2010, looking over proofs of his book, Bumble Ardy. —Photo by Dona Ann McAdams

The Sendak Fellowship was inaugurated in 2010 and ran for three years at a house on Sendak’s property in Ridgefield. In 2014, the Fellowship moved to the 150-acre Scotch Hill Farm in Cambridge, N.Y. The property is a working farm that grows and donates food to local food banks and is located 30 minutes from both Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Manchester, Vt.

Past Sendak Fellows include: 2010: Antoinette Portis, Aaron Renier, Paul Schmidt, Robert Weinstock.  2011: Ali Bahrampour, Frann Preston-Gannon, Sergio Ruzzier, Denise Ann Saldutti Egielski. 2012: Gerardo Blumenkrantz, Tor Freeman, Alice Lickens. 2013: Jessica Ahlberg, Ian Andrew, Marc Rosenthal, Sara Varon. 2014: Harry Bliss, Nora Krug.

The 2015 Sendak Fellows are:

Richard Egielski has illustrated 52 children’s books, eight of which he also wrote. He received the Caldecott Medal for Hey, Al, story by Arthur Yorinks. The books he has written and illustrated include Buz and Jazper, each named a Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the year by The New York Times.

Marc McChesney began working as an assistant to printmaker Gary Lichtenstein at his studio in Connecticut, learning the art of the serigraph.  He helped Lichtenstein create silkscreen collaborations with other artists, working on projects for Alex Katz, Robert Cottingham, Irwin Hasen, and Robert Indiana while maintaining his own fine-art painting on the side. He also became very close friends with Maurice Sendak. Profoundly affected and emboldened by their friendship, McChesney decided to try his hand at book illustration, leaving behind the world of boring, tedious gallery openings. With no formal training in drawing or painting, McChesney wanders from medium to medium, style to style, always intent on expressing raw honesty through his work. He spends his days drinking tea, listening to piano sonatas, drawing strange little pictures and writing strange little stories to be made into strange little books intended for strange little hands.

Doug Salati is an illustrator living in New York City. He holds a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MFA from the Illustration as Visual Essay program at the School of Visual Arts. His illustrations have received recognition from American Illustration, 3×3, and the Society of Illustrators.

Stephen Savage has illustrated eight children’s books, including Where’s Walrus?, Little Tug, and the bestselling Polar Bear Night. His illustrations have also appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Time, and Entertainment Weekly. He teaches illustration at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn with his wife, daughter, and their dog, Trinka.