Aisha Sabatini Sloan interviewed Caitlin Myer, the founder of the Portuguese Artists Colony. I’m a member of the group, and I’m often asked how the colony came to be, so I thought I’d post this excerpt:
Aisha: On your website, the Portuguese Artist’s Colony is described as “a collection of disreputable characters who write and stage performances of poetry, fiction, plays, screenplays, music and uncivil behavior.” How did that colony come to be, so far away from Portugal?
Caitlin: …I worked in Seattle for a dot-com in the late ‘90’s, and started making plans to buy land in Portugal (I was looking at old churches and farmhouses) and start an artists colony there — with the dot-com millions I would have, er, once I vested in my stock options. Two weeks before my vesting date — you see where this is going — the dot-bomb happened. In the end, I had enough for a nice dinner out. Why Portugal, when I’d never been there? I seemed to have a thing for men of Luso descent, for one thing. And my then-fiancé (later husband, now ex) is half Portuguese, has family there. I don’t know really. There’s an inexplicable appeal. Ten years later, when setting up a literary reading series with some other writers and the owner of an art space, we named it in honor of that foiled plan, and I finally got my Portuguese Artists Colony, in San Francisco.