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The Endicott Studio, Boston

Like most young writer/artists, I spent a number of years working from desks crammed into corners of kitchens and bedrooms or favorite tables at local cafes. My first proper studio (by which I mean a space dedicated entirely to creative work) was on Endicott Street in Boston's historic North End, an Italian neighborhood by the harbor.

I had a large loft at the top of the Castignetti Building (pictured on the left), with a row of windows overlooking the Boston skyline. The Castignetti family ran a tuxedo shop on the building's ground floor, and rented the five floors above primarily to artists. My top-floor neighbors included printmaker Cynthia Nartonis, painter Lois Fiore, and writer James Carroll. The picture on the right shows the view from my desk one early, misty morning -- including the dome of Faneuil Marketplace and the old elevated expressway that now no longer exists.

Although I originally rented the Endicott Street space as my personal studio, it was large enough that a group of us began to use it for communal activities: art exhibitions, a weekly Women's Art group, Child Abuse Prevention fundraisers, and "literary salon" evenings co-hosted with Ellen Kushner. All of this activity eventually formalized into The Endicott Studio, the mythic arts organization that I still run today. (If you'd like to know more more about the history of the Endicott Studio's name, go here.)

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