Sandywoods Center for the Arts
Sandywoods Farm is a unique arts and agricultural community located just off Bulgarmarsh Road in the northeast corner of Tiverton. Sandywoods combines affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities with open space, a working farm and community garden, and resources for residents and visiting artists, including galleries, studios, and performance space. This multi-use approach fosters a sense of common purpose. Residents, guided by a nonprofit board of directors and aided by an on-site program coordinator, have a vital say in the use of common space and the type of arts programming and agricultural activities that take place.
Sandywoods got its start in 2004, when Tiverton famer Joe Bossom first thought of turning his 174-acre property into a rural artists’ colony. Joe and his wife Mika Seeger, a ceramics artist, knew that it was time to sell their land but wanted to save it from "cookie cutter" development. Joe approached Steve Ostiguy, executive director of Church Community Housing Corporation, a Newport nonprofit developer with a long history of creating strong affordable housing communities, and a vision for Sandywoods began to take shape.
There were bumps along the way. A complex financing package was put together by CCHC, with construction expected to begin in 2008. Then the real estate and financial markets crashed. Undaunted, CCHC carried on and ultimately persevered. A new financial plan was put together with critical assistance from Rhode Island Housing. Aided by RI Housing and other funding partners, in early 2009 CCHC purchased about 68 acres from Joe and Mika, to include land for 50 rental cottages and community buildings, 24 single-family house lots, and a 22-acre working farm.
A groundbreaking ceremony took place in June 2009. Roads and utilities were put in place, and just 16 months later the first of the rental cottages were ready for occupancy. All of the rental units (10 1-BR, 24 2-BR, and 16 3-BR) are leased, although Sandywoods continues to accept applications for future vacancies from eligible families and individuals. (Please call (401) 816-0802 or e-mail email@example.com to request an application.)
All of the buildings at Sandywoods are eco-friendly, and a wind turbine generates much of the community’s energy needs. The Sandywoods Center for the Arts on Muse Way is a beautiful performing arts venue, and also features a fully-equipped commercial kitchen, which operates as a "shared-use" or "open" kitchen with all necessary food safety certifications, where Sandywoods Kitchen Co-op members (both residents and others) can prepare a variety of food products for sale. Several other buildings along Muse Way are home to an art gallery, figure drawing and yoga classes, arts & crafts for children and families, lectures and workshops, and many other activities. A shared studio space is currently undergoing renovation, and should be available to resident artist by late summer 2012.
The residents of Sandywoods Farm are a diverse and creative bunch. We have painters, writers, potters and quilters, master gardeners, jewelry makers and glass artists, musicians, performers . . . the list goes on. Some of the residents grew up in Tiverton, had to move elsewhere due to the lack of affordable housing, and have now been able to return home. Families with young children have also settled in Sandywoods, recognizing that this new sustainable community offers their children a unique opportunity to grow up in a safe, nurturing, and beautiful environment, surrounded by nature and creative people.
The 22 single-family house lots, situated on wooded land immediately adjacent to the rental cottages, will eventually be home to our newest residents, who will also have access to all of the amenities and activities here at Sandywoods. The lots range in size from 16,602 sq. ft. to 37,510 sq. ft. and are all reasonably priced. Please call Karen Flaherty at (508) 789-9652 or email Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to arrange a visit.
In 2009 Joe and Mika also sold another 90 acres of land, abutting Sandywoods Farm, to the Tiverton Land Trust. This site – Basket Swamp Preserve – has been preserved as open space and is used for passive recreation. The Land Trust just finished a new trail in Basket Swamp and has plans for many more. The future site of the Tiverton Public Library is also adjacent to Sandywoods, as is the Bulgarmarsh Recreation Area with its brand new skatepark.