Rest in Peace at Shantigar, dear Jean-Claude

On September 9th, our beloved Jean Claude van Itallie passed away in New York City. The following week, we brought him home to Shantigar. On the hill that he designated long ago as The Cemetery in the Field, a large mushroom glowed in the morning sun, marking the right spot. Because of Covid considerations, we were a  small group. We spoke a few words and sang “I’ll Fly Away” before laying our friend, brother, stepson, and uncle to rest.

View from the top of the hill by Veronique Bryant.jpg

Cemetery in the Field
by Veronique Bryant

We are moved by the messages and articles honoring Jean-Claude—
Radiant being… Digging into the deeper realms of our human existence… He wrote with authority and challenged authority… taking the pulse of modern society… He planted, meditated, loved with gusto… proudly gay… Inspiring teacher… Devil of a good friend… Great and generous soul… A light dimmed but never forgotten… The sense of the presence of Jean-Claude never leaves…

Oh Captain! Photo by Mimi Savage.jpeg

Oh Captain! 

by Mimi Savage

In Spring 2022, we’ll share cherished memories and stories at celebrations to be held in New York and Massachusetts. As plans emerge, we’ll let you know.

Besides the legacy of his artistic work, Jean-Claude ensured that Shantigar would thrive beyond his lifetime. Over the past several years, he and his brother Michael worked with the Franklin Land Trust to protect the farm’s pristine forests, hills, and fields in perpetuity. The Trust has created miles of walking trails for public enjoyment. This is a grand achievement and underscores what Jean-Claude recently wrote, that “the beauty of Shantigar is an antidote to troubling times.”

Shantigar Conservation Land.JPG

by Veronique Bryant

Shantigar’s online programs continue. As for on-site programs and retreats, we are taking a pause. This transition calls for a “playful and contemplative spirit” as Jean-Claude once described his Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche who gave this farm the name of Shantigar, meaning Peaceful Home. We’re looking at all the ways to preserve and expand Shantigar as both sanctuary and seedbed.

Dancing in Grape Arbor.jpg

Dancing in the Grape Arbor by Michael Stuart

Jean-Claude was, at heart, a song-and-dance man. So you can be sure—the show will go on.  We welcome your ideas and we’ll stay in touch.


Love from the Shantigar Foundation Board: 

Connie Childs, Rand Engel, Didi Goldenhar, Deborah Katz, and Rosemary Quinn

Shantigar's Mission

To engage with the world from a more profound place through transformative workshops, retreats and performances.


Joining meditative and artistic practices with the healing power of nature, we can live more peacefully on our planet.

stone bridge over the waterfall.JPG


Peaceful Home 

kitchen table II July 2014.JPG

directions driving to Shantigar

all points to Charlemont, Massachusetts

from Charlemont, Massachusetts 4.5 miles up to Shantigar

From New York City: 
Take West Side Highway North into Saw Mill River Parkway. Take exit 4 to Cross County and Hutchison Parkways leading into Merritt Parkway north. Continue on Merritt to I-91 north. Take exit 26 at Greenfield. Go around rotary to Route 2 west. Follow Route 2 for 17 miles to Charlemont. Follow directions below from Charlemont.

From NJ and points west:

I- 87 (The New York Thruway) north to Albany to 787 N. to route 2 in Troy. Follow signs for route 2 east. Follow Rt. 2 to Charlemont.

From Boston and points East:  
Mass Pike west to I- 91 north to Greenfield (exit 26) then west on Route 2 to Charlemont. OR: Route 2 west all the way from Cambridge to the town of Charlemont (merging temporarily with Interstate 91 South). Follow directions below from Charlemont.

From Montreal and points north: 
I- 89 south to White River Junction and then I- 91 south to Greenfield to Exit 26 and proceed west on Route 2 to the town of Charlemont.

Give yourself plenty of time to drive to Shantigar- at least 2.5 hours from Boston and 4.5 hours from NYC. 

If you are driving on Route 2 West from Greenfield, go through the town of Charlemont and another mile or so until Legate Hill Road on your right. 


If you are coming from Williamstown on Route 2 East, Legate Hill Road is a left turn (before the Charlemont center).


Follow Legate Hill Road all the way up (about 4 miles) until a left turn on Davenport Road. After 0.7 miles you will see the small Shantigar sign on your right.


Enter the wooded area and please park in the marked parking areas to your right. The Shantigar office is in the large wooden shed building.