WORDS + PHOTOS / THE WRITERS’ COLONY AT DAIRY HOLLOW
The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (WCDH) is pleased to announce the transformation of Dupps Den, into the Dupps Den Writer’s Suite. Writers and friends of WCDH were invited to help celebrate 20 years of hosting writing residencies at Dairy Hollow by contributing to the Sponsor a Suite campaign. Seven of eight suites had been sponsored, when the decision was made to make the final suite, Dupps Den, the Dupps Den Writers’ Suite. It was a community effort, and an opportunity for the WCDH family of alumni writers and friends to contribute to the 20th-anniversary suite updates in a lasting, visible way. The suite’s thirty-two sponsors have been commemorated with a sign made by local artisans and posted outside the door of the suite.
Dupps Den was named to honor Cynthia and Kirk Dupps, who were major contributors to the interior renovation of the mid-century Usonian-style building at 505 Spring Street. It had been vacant and was condemned when it was purchased for WCDH by Marty and Elise Roenigk in 2002. Structural issues were addressed in 2005 with a grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. The interior renovation and creation of additional writing suites were completed in 2007 with the help of a Cultural Regional Arts grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage/Arkansas Arts Council.
Dupps Den was originally designed for musicians and artists, and the refresh intended to make it more conducive to writing. WCDH board member and artist/designer, Teresa DeVito, coordinated the refresh and contributed the design and labor. WCDH alumna, author, and writing coach, Nikki Hanna, provided valuable input and generously funded the bulk of Teresa’s wish list for the new suite. Nikki said, “Over the past ten years I’ve made numerous visits to the Writers Colony–my happy place. Eight books have been written there. During that time, I’ve had a couple of ‘favorite’ rooms, but when I eventually stayed at Dupps Den, I was hooked. The view, quiet, and spaciousness won me over. The refresh of other rooms inspired me to contribute to jazzing it up. The mini kitchen is a great added feature. It will allow me to avoid bothering other writers with midnight runs to the kitchen. I’m excited to see the results and relish the thought of others enjoying it as well.”
Regarding her design for the suite, Teresa said, “I drew my inspiration directly from the suite name, Dupps Den. It conjured up a visual of relaxing and writing from a dear friend’s home and with the views, you feel as though you are in a wooded retreat. I wanted it to feel both feminine and masculine so I thought it would be fun to play off a pink/blue color scheme.” She continued, “As an artist, I am constantly driven and inspired by the idea that I am designing a home away from home, canvas in which writers create. The space must be as spacious and serene as possible. Every furnishing should be useful and/or comfortable. I believe writers will return to this suite for its comfort as well as the spaciousness. And what writer wouldn’t want to create at a 6’ desk!”
Other contributors to the update of the suite include Sweetie Berry, Talya Tate Boerner, Bev and Joe Cangelosi, Carolyn Colmer, Mary Droho, Cynthia and Kirk Dupps, Cynthia Erb, Deirdre Fagan, Cynthia Gallaher and Carlos Cumpian, Brooks Garner and Linda Leavell, Marcia Gaye, Joy Gebhardt, Richard Jespers, Dorothy Johnson, Crow Johnson Evans, Darwyn Jones, Veda Boyd Jones, Judi Ketteler, Susan Kraus, Allyn Lord, Grant and Nancy Mallett, Linda Minney, Sherri C. Perry, Lee Rhodes, Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, and Lonnie Whitaker. Donations of materials, furniture, and artwork were made by James DeVito, Teresa DeVito, Crescent Dragonwagon, Kelli Ladwig, Robert Norman, and Ilene Powell. WCDH Executive Director, Michelle Hannon, said, “We were humbled and delighted by the outpouring of support we received from the community of Dairy Hollow writers and friends for the Dupps Den Writer’s Suite refresh. It was a positive light in a time of uncertainly, and it meant the world to us.”