"I was raised by my mother Helene Johnson, the Harlem Renaissance Poet and Dorothy West, the Harlem Renaissance novelist. They were cousins who were born within the same year and died a few years apart. People asked me what I was going to do to celebrate their lives. My first thought was to offer a scholarship to women whose lives closely paralleled theirs. But, there already were such scholarships. Then I remembered how difficult it was for them to find time to write. Both of them had to have pedantic, time consuming jobs just to be able to survive; time to write became more and more of a luxury. So, I created Renaissance House as a tribute to them both. It is located in the former home of Helene Johnson which is next door to the home of Dorothy West. They were both prodigies of a sort and both writers of such substance that they helped create the Harlem Renaissance, a period in the arts which has not been rivaled since. When the two teenaged girls arrived in New York City, they were beset with issues unknown to them in their native Boston. The reality of everyday, urban life, of working at a job and supporting a family took them away from their writing. When asked why she stopped her major flow of writing at such a young age, Helene Johnson said: "In order to create, a person needs time in which to do nothing, to simply stare out a window and let thoughts come to them." That is the essence of Renaissance House. A place to muster up one's energy and burst forward with works that may have had to take a back seat in one's everyday world. Renaissance House is a program of the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation For Artists In Need. The foundation funds specific needs for all artists especially in the fields of residency." Abigail McGrath

    > Artists Residency
    Renaissance House offers the artist the greatest gift of all; Time. Time to think, time to sort things out, time to create without fear of failing. We offer artists with the brightest potential an inspiring, safe environment in which to create substantive work.

    > Donation