Email: Judith Braun’s escape to Albany

The covered porch doubles as a woodshop in Judith Braun’s new Albany home.

I recently received a note from Judith Braun, the recognized New York artist and participant in a 2010 art reality TV show, announcing that she had moved from the Rivington Street studio where she lived and worked for years to a house in Albany. I was curious, and wondered why she decided to move upstate, if there was a good art community in Albany, and whether she might be willing to send some images that I could share. Her response may interest artists who are either thinking of leaving the city in search of a more affordable living situation, or considering a move to New York. For anyone in the Albany area, tonight at 7 pm stop by the Center for Art and Design at the College of St. Rose, where Judith will be giving a public lecture about her work..

Judith Braun

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for getting in touch. Well, Albany … I have history here … born here, was married here, had my daughter here, went to SUNY Albany for grad school here too. Our art community then consisted of Ken Johnson, Dawn Clements, Mark Greenwold, to name a few. We all moved on to NYC. I decided to return here now because it was a location that my daughter, her wife, their twins and I all agreed would be an affordable place where we could live closer together. Grandma time! I also wanted to liquidate my one asset, the Rivington Street coop, while I was alive! I was very tired of the noisy sidewalk traffic in front of my door, managing the building, and always needing to supplement my income by renting to tenants.

I am 70 … I wanted to feel a new sense of freedom and possibility and change and choice and risk… I wanted to throw things up in the air and see where they landed.
I have no definite idea yet what I will actually do here…  make art, go swing dancing, hold sick babies at the hospital … play with my grandkids … or who I will spend time with. All I know for sure is I own a whole house all to myself … and I LOVE IT. I have an actual master BR/bath, guest BR /bath, art storage room, den with fireplace, big kitchen, big office, 2 car garage, huge dry basement.  My studio is being carved out of the LR, as we speak.

The office
Plenty of room for art storage.
The beginning of the studio.

The pic of the empty space with a work light is the beginning. Other pics are of art storage room (I bought real flat files … finally!) and my office from inside, and from outside at night … from my PORCH!  I love having a porch, it’s a hard flagstone surface where I’m keeping my saw horses and building shelves.  I love just sweeping the sawdust off onto the lawn.

The window in the office at night from the porch.
Social media makes me feel that I can be anywhere … knowing I am still knit into my NYC community. Also it helped a lot when the Fales Library at NYU took all my “papers” for their Downtown Collection that focuses on artists who were part of the art scene in 1980’s-90’s. Being in their archive gives me a sense of satisfaction that all would not be lost.
I’ll be happy to send pics of the studio as it gets set up … and to see what comes out of it!!
All best, Judith
(and, ps, seriously…come visit anytime.)

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5 thoughts on “Email: Judith Braun’s escape to Albany”

  1. My thanks to Judith Braun for giving us a peek into her life as an evolving artist and human. Her work is so visually satisfying and challenging at the same time. It has brought me much pleasure and artistic inspiration throughout the years. I wish her the best in her newly added role as a grandmother.

  2. Dear Sharon + Judith – This is just a fantastic conversation, thanks! Seems we are all making decisions and this is certainly complex, particularly as aging becomes more and more a factor. We must be who we are and not fear change as loss. I know choices I made even 5 years ago are not the same as those I’m making now. It is so important to gather confidence to simply to be who we are, and know that we are not losing but prospering when we embrace a distinct tremor in the works as we have known them, and push onward.

    The work remains vital and will never be displaced. We are our place…

  3. This is so very inspiring. Thank you Judith for sharing such honest insight into the reasons behind your admirable and courageous relocation, and to you Sharon for asking the question. talk to my students constantly about where and how to live. I will share this with them.

  4. Judith I’m so happy that you are in your own home that can accommodate all your needs. A quieter place with new possibilities but with a familiar history. I like you believe we can remain active vital and connected wherever we live through the internet. We can still participate and exhibit anywhere and life becomes less stressful a little bit easier when there is more money in your pocket and it takes one day to do 20 errands that might take an entire week to get done in New York City. You are not far from yaddo and Saratoga has an active art community along with other surrounding towns. Thank you for sharing and for your honesty, the world is our oyster !

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