Cottage in rural Nova Scotia donated to writers as part of legacy
A 230-year-old house called Jampolis Cottage in Avonport, N.S., has been donated to the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia.
The property sits along the shores of the Minas Basin with a view of Cape Blomidon.
Americans Neil and Jane Jampolis were award-winning scenic and lighting designers. They bought the property in 1996.
Lisa Harries Schumann, a literary translator, is the trustee of the property. She said the Jampolises were like an aunt and uncle to her.
"It was very important to both of them to spend as much time up there as possible," she said from her home in Newton. Mass.
"There was something about the air, the light, the people, the magic of the place that they both were incredibly drawn to. It was a respite for them."
It will now be a respite for writers and emerging artists.
According to the federation website, Jane was a mentor to design students while teaching at the Banff Centre, Bennington College, Emerson College and the University of California at Los Angeles school of the arts and architecture.
Neil won a Tony award for his lighting design in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Sherlock Holmes.
Schumann says the Jampolises fell in love with the cottage when they participated in the Atlantic Theatre Festival in the mid-1990s in Annapolis Valley.
"They loved the community that they found there, and they also were absolutely in love with just the light on the water there," she said. "Jane would spend long hours watching migrating birds."
In 2003, Jane and Neil founded a living trust stipulating that the house would be donated to a charitable organization for the purpose of a retreat for artists or writers. Jane died in 2017 and Neil in 2019.
Schumann approached the federation to see if it was interested. It was one of six organizations approached.
Sean Bedell is the federation's president. He said the federation was skeptical at first because it seemed too good to be true.
"It's a unique opportunity for the literary community of Nova Scotia," he said. "We don't really have anything quite like Jampolis Cottage… It really is a great gift. I mean it's just gorgeous."
Schumann said the federation replied with the most enthusiasm right away.
"The thing that blows me away is when I think the art and the literary products that will be created there will live on long after any of us … is a terrific legacy," Bedell said.
He is hopeful the magic of the cottage will inspire Nova Scotia writers and artists for generations to come.
"Avonport is picturesque in and of itself, but it's also very rural and quiet," he said. "So, if you just want to go for a walk around the neighborhood to get the literary creative juices flowing, there are lots of places to stroll around and amble to your heart's content."
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