Barbara Slitkin, Visual Artist

Resident at Westbeth since 2007

I dreamed Westbeth into being. Nicholas Bergery invited me to come with him to a vegan camping retreat late summer 2006. We were there for just a weekend. There were young adults into permaculture, musicians, visual artists, families with young children. And camping with lovely people in a lovely setting. There were many kinds of activities for gatherings in groups. Most memorable for me was the last day. We gathered in one large group circle. A leader led us into a meditation. We were asked to imagine an idyllic place where we would wish to be. There, sitting in the circle outdoors with many others, I conjured up a life where artists lived together in a community. We all lived in harmony and in balance. We had no concern about how we would make our living as artists. We would do our work, and buyers would know where they could find us. I only recall now how lovely my mental picture was, how it felt. It was so pleasant. Perhaps it was such an easy vision since we were in a circle of very earthy, loving creative beings. Time stopped. I had no past, no memories of my life beyond that moment. No recollection in that trance of the fact that for about twelve years, I had been on a waiting list for Westbeth. I was not inside my head. (I forgot there ever was a Westbeth that I had been waiting on.) Westbeth Artists community was erased from my mind. It had not even occurred to me then and there. Not until November 2006. It was at Thanksgiving time that I received a letter saying I had made it to the top of the Westbeth housing list: Would I still desire to move in this coming March? Yes. Dream came true.

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