Gateway to Wilderness

Gateway to Wilderness

Open Call

Mar. 06, 2018
Wanakena/United States
Deadline Aug. 31, 2018
Activism, Architecture, Conceptual, Curating, Design, Drawin...
Open for applications
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Gateway to Wilderness

Cross the bridge over the river and down to the end of the road – a few-minute walk heading south from Otto’s Abode – and you will find yourself at the northern terminus to one of the East Coast’s largest preserved public wilderness areas. The town at your back celebrated its centennial a couple decades ago. The forest you face is celebrating a century of recovering from its first and last clear cut. 


Crossing the threshold of the invisible boundary you enter into pristine, do not disturb, stay on trail, leave no trace, Forever Wild Adirondack State Park Wilderness. If hiking the popular route to High Falls, the overgrown path you walk down was at one time a bustling rail line constructed for the hauling fallen trees. It had literally gone right to where you would find yourself after arriving at (though lacking the big trees) one of the most remote waterfalls in the Park – a day’s hike from where you began. 


Its’ boreal forest scattered with bogs and gargantuan glacial erratic matures atop the fossil-less southern most exposed portion of the Canadian Shield, which on a map appears to flap-jack into New York from the north like a floppy tail but in fact had awoken and rose up from bellow revealing itself as a massive mound of some of the oldest rock found in the world. And while you might not bump into anyone all a week, the beavers that flood your path may receive a death sentence from the DEC.


Gateway to Wilderness is an ongoing open-call collaborative project interested in intersections between contemporary art practices and the geological, ecological, and political Identity, formation and management of the Adirondack Mountain Region with Otto’s Abode acting as headquarters. The project aims to foster, create, exhibit and document permanent, ephemeral, individual and collaborative work in, with, and around Otto’s Abode.


Residency at Otto's Abode

During the periods of:

*** May, June, July and August 2018***


Otto’s Abode is actively seeking creative residents during the summer of 2018.


We encourage emerging artists, academics, and activists to explore and share their practice while based out of a visitor/community center and store located in the heart of a remote and isolated Adirondack hamlet. Residents are invited to stay from one day to one month.


The owners of Otto’s Abode would like to host artists at their private residence next-door, constructed primitive shelter or tent in the garden, lean-to across the river, etc... for one day to one month with the purpose of providing artists with an immersive and supportive environment for researching, constructing or performing in conjunction with the Gateway to the Wilderness project. 


Gateway to Wilderness – Residency Information and Application


Gateway to Wilderness is an ongoing open-call collaborative project interested in intersections between contemporary art practices and the geological, ecological, and political identity, formation and management of the Adirondack Mountain Region with Otto’s Abode acting as headquarters. The project aims to foster, create, exhibit and document permanent, ephemeral, individual and collaborative work in, with, and around Otto’s Abode.


Residents are invited to stay and work with Otto’s Abode for one day to one month free of charge. 


Otto’s Abode is seeking ambitious emerging artists interested in exploratory project based approaches to art discovery, creation, documentation, and theorizing. Artists are encouraged to weave themselves into local phenomenon, history, and community. Otto’s Abode hopes to gain new insights into the understanding of itself through the interaction of its own practice and that of the visiting artist in residence.


While the experience can be undoubtedly rich in solitude, residents are encouraged to explore a balance of both public and private though community engagement opportunities such as:


Engagement with local organizations.


Public performance, exhibition, presentation, classes and/or workshops.


The creation of reference material to be included in our in-house public library.


Residents are invited to stay with the owners of Otto’s Abodes at their private residence next door. It is a single story two bedroom, one bathroom house. The radio is always on, and everything is usually in its place. Residents are provided with a private, furnished guest bedroom. If the room is not of interest/already taken/unavailable residents are encouraged take advantage of abundant camping on both private and public land. Options include and at times may be limited to: pitching a tent in the garden, construction of primitive shelter, public use lean-to, couch etc...) No matter what - we love making people feel and home and do our best to make sure residents are comfortable, warm, dry and fed. The flexible variety of living situations enables and encourages multiple residents involved in the program at one time. 


Meals are not provided but kitchen is open for use by residents and can cater to individual resident’s preferences (i.e. a more communal approach to cooking and eating vs. cooking for one’s self, eating by one’s self). Please include any food allergies in application. Residents utilizing outdoor living have same access to indoor kitchen and bathroom as in-house residents. 


Due to Otto’s Abode’s’ remote location and proximity to larger centers of commerce, at this time it is best for residents to have their own form of transportation. Most shopping must be done in neighboring towns which average ten miles to just under an hour for a one-way trip. Currently there are no pets in the residence. We now live with a kitten - her name is lil Debbie and she ROCKS. No smoking indoors anywhere on the Otto's Abode compound.


Across the street from the house, within Otto’s Abode, residents have 24/7 access to 15' x 25' shared studio and office space. Preferred private studio hours can easily be scheduled. An assortment of materials, basic hand tools and a limited selection of power tools are available.


The exhibition space & camp store (Otto's Abode public/proper) is through a doorway in back of studio. The Store has snacks, drinks, candy, ice cream, materials, supplies, souvenirs, etc... Whether providing a product or a service, residents are encouraged but not required to use the store –physically and conceptually- during residency experience. There is a public restroom within this space. The space serves as an exhibition and performance space, general store, social center, café, etc.... A mixture of formal and informal, subtle and more obvious interventions with and within Otto’s Abode intends to facilitate an active sense of wandering and discovery while in and around this ever-changing venue. You'll see when you get here. 


Heading out the front door of Otto’s Abode is the front porch, town Post Office, stand-alone public restroom, vending machines, public gazebo, and the town green. There is public swimming and dock a stones-throw away on the Oswegatchie River and the vast Five Ponds Wilderness Area right on the other side. We are Gateway to Wilderness.


E-mail any questions, comments, concerns to


To apply:

Create a PDF file of reasonable size and email to: 

or (preferred) snail mail a care package, printout, data disc, etc... to: 

Otto’s Abode, PO Box 1, Wanakena, NY, 13695


Including the Following in order as listed below:


Name, Location, Contact Information.

CV, Personal information you’d like to share. 

Gateway to Wilderness Project Proposal; Description, Images.

Relevant Previous Projects; Descriptions, Images.

Any other information you think we should know (hobbies, passions, favorite book, play any instruments? etc...)

Questions for us?


Otto’s Abode will notify you upon our receiving of your proposal/application.


A Terms of Exhibition form MUST be signed before working in or with Otto’s Abode. Copies of the form are on file at Otto’s Abode. 



Otto’s Abode seeks to encourage, examine, and celebrate collaboration and exchange with, within, and without a public home for art.


Otto’s Abode is?


Housed within a former grocery store in the hamlet of Wanakena, NY, nestled in the knobby north-west foothills of the Adirondacks, Otto’s Abode is a volunteer-based store/visitors center/performance+exhibition space its four creators view as a collaborative public art project. The aim of the project is to cultivate an environment that showcases positive and enlightening experiences; where the professional and the amateur, the performer and the spectator, can entertain, puzzle and inform, grab a snack, a map, and a bag of ice, and be informed, entertained, and puzzled.




The perpetual stew of formal, subtle, informal, and obvious intervention intends to facilitate an active sense of wandering, discovery and necessity while passing through and with this ever-changing venue; a digestion. Otto's Abode seeks to understand wellness through an examined life. Otto’s Abode seeks ideas. Otto’s Abode seeks sounds. Otto’s Abode seeks obsessions. Otto’s Abode seeks what it might not realize it will uncover through this search. Otto’s Abode invites you to become.


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