"For me, this "Yard" would be a playground without walls. A place to explore, experiment, and construct. A place of possibility, joy, love, anger, frustration; a space in which to come together and to be alone."  - Patricia Nanon, The Yard Founder


 Patricia nanon. Photo courtesy of Vineyard gazette

 Patricia nanon. Photo courtesy of Vineyard gazette

The Yard promotes creation, education, and community building through artistic practices, specifically contemporary dance and related collaborative forms, across the rural/island environment of Martha’s Vineyard.
The Yard supports artists and their instrumentality through paid creative research and on-island residency, public performance, and long-term educational application and community engagement across all ages and cultural populations.

The Yard acts, on behalf of these core commitments, as an active collaborator with other leadership institutions in an island/regional/national context to raise up a "culture of cultures" ecology that reflects - and benefits - the demographic life and times of the island of Martha’s Vineyard, and the nation.   


Founded by the late choreographer Patricia Nanon in 1973, The Yard is a singular institution in legacy, mission, and island community obligations.  The institution achieves its mission through an integrated ensemble of extended creative residencies, public presentations, intergenerational education programs, and sustained and sustainable community building and engagement, centered on a 3-­‐acre campus in Chilmark, MA (up-­‐island Martha’s Vineyard).  The Yard’s main summer season runs without interruption from late May through mid-­‐September.  From October through May, the organization’s YardWORKS program led by the Director of Island Programs and Education constructs and conducts ancillary educational programs for the central MV YMCA and a number of schools, including professional performances by an island-­‐based ensemble, DanceTheYard. 


The Yard is located in the charming town of Chilmark. ­Named after a village in the English county of Wiltshire, the town of Chilmark, was first settled in 1660.  With the fishing village of Menemsha to the north, and the neighboring coastal town of Aquinnah on the western tip of Martha’s Vineyard, Chilmark is a beautiful and quiet part of Martha's Vineyard.

With less than 900 year-­‐round residents, Chilmark is mostly rural and residential, known for its gorgeous beaches, organic farms, and Menemsha’s thriving fishing community.  Menemsha offers amazing harbor views, an enormous pond for kayaking, and a great beach great for sunset viewing (As soon as the sun drops below the horizon, the audience of lobster-­‐eating beach-­‐goers customarily applaud and cheer). You may also remember some of Menemsha’s buildings and beach as the fictional town of “Amity Island” in the 1975 Steven Spielberg blockbuster Jaws.