Welcome to Alderworks Alaska Writers and Artists Retreat on the banks of West Creek in beautiful Dyea, Alaska. Our retreat is on the traditional lands of the Lkoot, whom we thank, honor and respect.
Please Tour Our Site – Read about our Vision for Alderworks, check out the Gallery, and explore our three individual Cabins. The cabins are best suited for writers, painters, acoustic musicians, small craft workers, and fiber artists. If you have any questions, please e-mail us.
Interested in Applying – After exploring the cabins online, read our Residency Guidelines and then proceed to the Apply page. Applications are accepted through Submittable. The 2024 application period opens November, 15, 2023 and closes Feb. 15, 2024.
How to Get Here & Where We Are – Our retreat is located nine miles out the Dyea Road from historic Skagway and is within the Dyea-Chilkoot Trail unit of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Skagway may be accessed via the Klondike Highway from the north or the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system and flights from Juneau from the south. Dyea (Deiyáa in Lingit) was here at least 8,000 years before becoming a gold rush boom town for a short time in 1897-1898. No longer a city, it has returned to its natural setting at the foot of the historic Chilkoot Trail. Alderworks is on historic Dyea’s northern edge, just across the West Creek bridge. Beyond the property is wilderness. It is quiet, save for the constant summer flow of West Creek and its nearby falls.
Retreat History to Date – Alderworks sits on a five-acre homestead from the late 1950s. Restoration of the three resident cabins – Bea, Margaret and Mary Jane – and a bath house occurred in the summers of 2012-2014 and can be viewed by touring the photo Gallery. During the fall of 2014 and summer of 2015 we invited our first writers from Alaska-Yukon for test residencies in the finished Alderworks cabins and to give us feedback. Our first full summer in 2016 was very successful. Except for a Covid-19 pause in 2020, we have had residents from near and far every summer since. A studio building was added in 2018 for artists to use and to host events. See a review of each year below and and read some of their testimonials on the Media & Testimonials page:
• Summer 2016 residencies: Bea cabin – Amanda Waldroupe of Oregon (non-fiction true crime), Liesl Ravenscroft of South Africa (non-fiction memoir); Margaret cabin – Crystal Cudworth of Wisconsin (painter), Mollie Hosmer-Dillard of New York (painter); Mary Jane cabin – Penelope Moffet of California (poetry) and Jenny Mueller of Washington (poetry), and Kathryn Kain of California (painter, printmaker).
• Summer 2017 residencies: Mary Jane Cabin: X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell of Juneau (language arts), Gaylord Brewer of Tennessee (poetry); Bea Cabin: Mary Catharine Martin of Juneau (journalist, novelist), Jeanette Morrisett of Fort Yukon (non-fiction, fiction); Margaret Cabin: Jessica Ramer of Mississippi (poetry), Kristen Phipps of Kansas (painter).
• Summer 2018 residencies – Mary Jane cabin: Sitka, Alaska teacher Kersten Christianson (poetry), and Flagstaff, Arizona artist Rachel Wilson (printmaking, other medium); Bea cabin – upstate New York writer Lindsey Danis (non-fiction, fiction), and New York City writer/editor Agnes Bannigan (short stories); Margaret cabin – Oakland, California writer/MFA student Ariadne Wolf (memoir); Juneau journalist Lisa Phu (radio podcast) did a partial residency in late summer when our full-time selection was unable to attend.
• Summer 2019 Residents – Bea cabin- photographer Allison Nichols of Plainview, New York, and artist Sebastian Chaloner of London, England; Margaret cabin – writer Samantha O’Brien of Sitka, AK, and writer Suzie Eckl of Charlottesville, Virginia; Mary Jane cabin – artist-writer couple Carol and Ed Aust of Oakland, California, and historian Brian Shellum of Louisville, Kentucky.
• Summer 2021 Residencies – After cancelling the 2020 season due to COVID-19, we were able to welcome a few residents in summer 2021. Starting off the summer, we welcomed non-fiction writer Liz Seaton of Maryland, who was here for three weeks. She presented a Special Pride Month reading from her book-in-progress: The Angie Zapata Story: Protecting Transgender Life in U.S. Law. Then, in mid-July we welcomed artist Alexander Landerman of Bloomington, Indiana, and filmmaker/poet Alystyre Julian of New York City. Toward the end of their residencies, Alexander presented a show of his work at Alderworks, while Alystre presented a preview and discussion of her film ‘Outrider’ about Beat poet Anne Waldeman at the Skagway Public Library. We also welcomed back writer Leigh Newman for a short stay at the end of August to make final edits on her new short story collection, Nobody Gets Out Alive, coming from Scribners in spring 2022. Many of the stories were written at Alderworks!
• Summer 2022 Residencies – Alderworks returned to a full season of residencies in 2022. Starting off the first summer session toward the end of May we welcomed Florida novelist Chelsea Catherine, Chicago music composer Grace Hale, and New York City writer/filmmaker Jillian Eugenios. Then, for our second session beginning in mid-July we welcomed Virginia visual artist Jacqueline Dubois and two Oregon writers: Catherine Malcynsky, a short story writer from Bend; and Megan Corrarino, a novelist from Portland.
• Summer 2023 Residencies – In late May-early June we welcomed our three early summer residents: Bea cabin – Joan Pardes, a Juneau, Alaska writer; Margaret cabin – Jiayi Chen, a Chicago, Illinois film artist; and Mary Jane cabin – Nancy Messegee, an Austin, Texas poet and movement artist. There was only one summer session due to late-summer construction on the Brady family’s cabin on the property nearby.
See photos from their public presentations/workshops on our Facebook page, and check it for announcements about upcoming Alderworks events.
Logo by Josh Downs • Site photos by Elise Giordano, Jeff & Dorothy Brady, Kathy Gates, and Jan Aalt van den Hoorn
Music to overhead video: “Acorn Falls” by Tasha-Yar, courtesy of Ben Teeter (video will play with wifi connection)