Holly House Hotel, Home to Fire Island Artist Residency, Burns Down

by Paddy Johnson and Corinna Kirsch on March 27, 2015 · 2 comments Newswire

Nicolaus Chaffin, working in his Fire Island Artist Residency studio. Photo courtesy of Alex Fialho.

Nicolaus Chaffin, working in his Fire Island Artist Residency studio. Photo courtesy of Alex Fialho.

At 1:30 a.m. this morning, a fire broke out in Cherry Grove, burning down the Holly House Hotel, home to the Fire Island Artist Residency since 2011.

According to Suffolk County officials, the fire remained active until at least 6:30 a.m., with replacement firefighters being sought for the morning shift. Substantial damage was caused to the surrounding area. Buildings razed in the fire include the Ice Palace bar, several residential homes, and apartments.

“I’m still kind of in shock,” Fire Island Artist Residency co-founder Chris Bogia told Art F City. “We didn’t lose too much of our own property, but we lost our archive.”

“Holly House was our home,” says Bogia. “It was affordable, large enough to house our residents and studio spaces—and we had an incredible landlord who was supportive and flexible.”

Bogia mentioned that finding a similar space will cost twice as much as what they had been paying.

While this is indeed a massive loss to the program, Bogia says the residency is here to stay. Applications are still being accepted for this summer’s residency.

Bogia has spent the morning on his laptop, sending out appeals for help and ramping up the residency’s current benefit auction on Paddle8. “Artists who weren’t able to donate and now able to,” he says. “We’re going to get some really good stuff.” The new works will be added to Paddle8 over the weekend.

“I don’t know what it will look like this summer,” says Bogia, “and I don’t yet know the specifics of how it will happen, but I know we will get through it.”


Fire Island Artist Residency co-founders Evan Garza and Chris Bogia

AFC has maintained a close relationship to the program since its existence—Visual AIDS programs manager and Art F City correspondent Alex Fialho covered the residency for us three years running. The news has hit Fialho hard.

“It’s tragic,” says Fialho. He first heard of the news early this morning from a former resident.

“I associate each year with a different artist,” he added. “Each room becomes representative of an artist; each year, the histories of living in the space and making art built on itself.”

Fialho remains upbeat: “It’s not ideal to find a place for five artists to live and work in the upcoming months, but the residency will persevere.”




yurt konitt March 29, 2015 at 3:33 pm

ctrl+f ‘irony’ ..0 of 0 results.. disappointing.

Bozzy Lewis April 2, 2015 at 6:11 pm

I am sure they will be able to find another space in the Grove for this Summer !

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: