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Rest in Peace at Shantigar, dear Jean-Claude

On September 9, 2021 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.

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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

Dancing in Grape Arbor.jpg
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