Andy Wilson, Evelyn Edson, Tom and Ruth Klippstein at Springtree Commune, Scottsville, Virginia

A work made of chromogenic print, from the series "sweet earth: experimental utopias in america".

Image actions

  • A work made of chromogenic print, from the series "sweet earth: experimental utopias in america".

Date:

April 2005

Artist:

Joel Sternfeld
American, born 1944

About this artwork

Currently Off View

Photography

Artist

Joel Sternfeld

Title

Andy Wilson, Evelyn Edson, Tom and Ruth Klippstein at Springtree Commune, Scottsville, Virginia

Origin

United States

Date

2005

Medium

Chromogenic print, from the series "Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America"

Inscriptions

No markings recto or verso The eight founders of Springtree first met at a Twin Oaks community conference in 1971. They all had children and wanted to build a community centered around them. By pooling their resources, they were able to purchase one hundred acres along the Hardnose River in Virginia, naming their new home for the old poplar tree that stood at the head of a clear spring. Each year, the founding of the community is celebrated there. At its peak, Springtree was home to fifteen adults and fifteen children. It was, and still is, a close-knit intentional community in which ownership of land, homes and income is shared equally—a single checkbook still serves all. There is no leader or hierarchy. As a group they have never had an ambition for larger social change or commercial success, focusing instead on living well together (some might say their way of life is social change). Home schooling was a key element, and each child had an adult read with him or her nightly. Not only did the group initially live together in the large house that they built, they also vacationed together. They drove by school bus to the outer banks of North Carolina and camped. The annual trip to the beach now functions as a reunion for Springtree members, their children and grandchildren. Time and change have slowly eroded the community’s numbers—two couples and an occasional intern live at Springtree today, sharing meals and conversation, and working in the garden and orchards together. An extensive calendar of visits from and to the world at large often interrupts the routine of farm work. Asked what she was thinking when this group portrait was made, Ruth Klippstein responded, “Though I’m not very smiley in the picture, I imagine I was thinking the main thoughts that make me happy: this is my place, these are my people. It’s great to be rooted.” From the portfolio, Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America, 1982–2005

Dimensions

26.5 x 33.2 cm (image); 27.9 x 35.6 cm (paper)

Credit Line

Gift of Ralph and Nancy Segall

Reference Number

2008.743

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share