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The Mesa Refuge Hires Susan Tillett as Executive Director

Point Reyes, California: The nationally renowned writers’ retreat, the Mesa Refuge, announ­ced today that it has hired Susan Page Tillett to serve as its executive director, begin­ning in October. 

Mesa Refuge founder Peter Barnes said: “I met Susan last year when I was a writer in residence at Ragdale, an artist community near Chicago.  Seeing how she built the program there, I asked if she would take a look at the Mesa Refuge.  She came to write and consult twice in the past year, and during her second residence we recruited her to lead our program here.”

Tillett was the executive director of Ragdale from 2000 to 2012.  While there, she raised more than $10 million to diversify the residency program, restore the his­toric buildings and integrate the artists into the local community.  She has also served on the board of the Alliance of Artist Communities, a national organiza­tion that assists established and emerging artists’ retreats. 

“After leaving Ragdale, I took a gap year to travel and provide pro bono consult­ing to organizations I wanted to help,” Tillett said.  “When I came to the Mesa Refuge, I fell in love with the place and its extraordinary potential to inspire creativity.”

Kate Levinson, Mesa Refuge board member and co-owner of Point Reyes Books, said:  “We are so pleased to welcome Susan to Point Reyes to lead the Mesa Refuge.  West Marin has so much to offer to creative workers and their presence here enriches our community.”

“I am thrilled that Susan will continue her involvement with artist residencies through this new post at the Mesa Refuge,” says Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities. “Susan has long been a thoughtful leader, a mentor for many newer residency directors, and a passionate advocate for artist residencies. The field has been made better by her wisdom and enthusiasm, and we are all so fortunate to have Susan’s continued leadership in this work.”

The Mesa Refuge sits on a bluff overlooking the Giacomini wetlands.  Writers who come to the Refuge have undistracted time to connect with their muses and engage with each other as desired.  Since 1997, the Refuge has provided shelter and inspi­ra­tion to over 600 writers, including Michael Pollan, Terry Tempest Williams, George Lakoff, Frances Moore Lappé, Michael Chabon, Natalie Goldberg, Lewis Hyde, Rebecca Solnit, Van Jones and many others.