Have you heard the news that Charis Circle has been gifted 24 acres of land in rural west Georgia, just north of Tallapoosa, to develop a feminist artists’ retreat and cultural workers support space?
This land was bequeathed by Sorrel Hays (on left in photo, NYC 1980s), a lesbian and feminist avant-garde opera composer and world-renowned pianist. Sorrel, who passed away in February 2020, was married to Marilyn Ries (on right in photo, NYC 1980s), one of the most significant recording engineers of the Women’s Music movement. Marilyn also recorded many of the first major audiobooks. Marilyn predeceased Sorrel in 2017. It was our deepest privilege to have gotten to know Sorrel while she was alive, and to be able to hear her wishes for a radically inclusive feminist artists’ space. It is our honor to continue to steward this land in the memory of Sorrel and Marilyn and the many incredible queer and trans artists, activists, and musicians who called them friends, and visited the land over the years, which Sorrel named “Swallow Hollow” after the abundance of swallows and other birds who grace the property.
The land offers 24 acres of diverse native plants, including fruit trees, and flowers, a large pond, wetlands, and acres of deciduous and pine forest. There are four dwellings on the land, including a caretaker’s cottage, a woodworking studio and former recording studio with a full apartment, a main house with three potential sleep/work areas and a separate studio apartment with a deck overlooking the pond.
We are currently processing and preserving Sorrel and Marilyn’s archives, which are invaluable for Southern lesbian political and music history. As that phase winds down we will be able to begin welcoming volunteers on the land for a diverse array of projects.
We will continue to update our entire community about this project as it moves forward, but if you would like to receive special updates or would like to be involved at a deeper level, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Swallow Hollow” in the subject line and your contact information and if you have a specific way you would like to be involved, feel free to add that as well.
We are especially interested in speaking to friends and former collaborators of Sorrel and/or Marilyn's. If you would like to share your stories and memories about Sorrel or Marilyn, however small, please email email@example.com with "Sorrel Hays" in the subject line.
If you would like to support the work of Swallow Hollow directly, you may do so by giving here and putting "Swallow Hollow" in the dedication field.
We believe the future of our collective liberation requires spaces where we can make art free from the constrictions of capitalism and the interference of fundamentalist politicians and gatekeepers who seek to keep us small. We cannot wait to begin this journey with all of you!
Charis Circle Executive Director