Youko & Kazuma Yamamato, resident-artists at The Lace MillBefore living at the Lace Mill, Youko and Kazuma owned a home in Gardiner with scenic views and remote neighbors. Never did they think they would receive housing assistance. But the day came when they could no longer afford to pay their mortgage and keep up with other expenses that piled up quickly. Eventually they found a place that suited their needs, in rural New York. They think living in the Lace Mill community experience helps them to focus their time and energy on their New Paltz restaurant, Gomen-Kudasai, and not on costly house maintenance or routine upkeep.

Rising taxes eventually squeezed the Yamamoto’s out of an affordable living space in NYC. They then moved upstate to Gardiner and began looking for other housing options as they could not afford the mortgage on their restaurant income. Thankfully, their son’s Waldorf School teacher suggested The Lace Mill for local artists. “We got the interview about two weeks later, and fortunately they took us in, and now we are very comfortable,” Youko says.

Youko elaborates that living in Lace Mill provides the same security as does a home without an assistance program. “I feel like it’s our nest right now,” she says. “We know that it is not our final home, but it is our hideout community for us.” The Yamamoto’s have a safe space to lead their own lives and artistically create in privacy.

“I know a lot of artists who don’t have comfortable living,” states Youko. “RUPCO is an excellent resource to utilize, especially for artists who want to continue their work but have limited means to purchase supplies or rent studio spaces.”

Following in good fortune with RUPCO’s help, Kazuma found a workplace in Saugerties in which he is able to continue his metalsmith career. His original studio was in an upstairs workshop in High Falls; residents below would regularly complain of the machinery noise. Now, he uses the space without worry about disrupting neighbors below.

Bon Dori Dance Festival for Peace, August 6, 2017Youko and Kazuma believe in community contribution and welcome opportunity for Lace Mill residents to feel like they are living as part of the real world. Youko and Kazuma believe it is wise to take responsibility for the space they rent, and not fall back on complimentary services to elevate their experience beyond typical means, otherwise complacency and a distorted sense of entitlement may arise. That’s why they’re hosting the Bon Odori Festival on August 6th, as a way to give back to the community.

The Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace, and other RUPCO programs fiber offer positive effects. People of modest means and their families contribute much to the community when given the opportunity to live peacefully amongst neighbors. Find out more about the couple’s fundraiser on June 23 and the Bon Dori Dance Festival on August 6.