Ann Hutt Browning co-founded Wellspring House with husband Preston Browning, Jr., in 1999. It was Ann’s inspiration and vision that led to the creation of Wellspring House, continuing to this day to inspire poets, artists, and all who visit this special place. Ann died in 2011 and is lovingly remembered by family and friends, and by all who knew her. Find out more about Wellspring here.
Ann Hutt Browning
Ann was an architect, a published poet, the mother of four grown children, and the grandmother of five. With an undergraduate degree in English literature from Radcliffe College, she held two master’s degrees, one in psychology from the Claremont Graduate School, and one in architecture from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. In Virginia, in the 1980’s, she designed new houses using passive solar technology, created many designs for additions and renovations, often working on 18th century houses. She also supervised the repair and restoration of a one-hundred-year old church. In Chicago, in the 1990’s, she worked with other architects, mainly on apartment house renovations. Before studying architecture, Ann had a variety of work experiences in Chicago: At a settlement house in a largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood, as director of a family camp for groups from the inner city, as director of a department at the Health and Hospitals Governing Commission of Cook County, focussing on support for health and medical education, and as associate director of University Health Services at the University of Chicago. In the 1970’s she served for eight years on the board of directors of a Montessori school and was on the vestry of her Episcopal church. In the 1990’s she worked with community groups on appropriate architectural designs for an urban setting and on a co-housing project. She was one of the key creators of an inner-city “small school” funded by the Chicago Board of Education.
In the winter of 1999, Ann studied Spanish in Guatemala and started working, with the design staff, on a housing project in Ocotal, Nicaragua, for 300 families made homeless by Hurricane Mitch. She returned to Nicaragua in the winter of 2000 to spend two weeks working on this project, and also spent another week in the islands of Solentiname, planning for future solar energy projects. She returned to the Solentiname Islands virtually every year thereafter, and designed a large workshop for the local artists and artisans there, which now serves as a focal point for the community. Ann also had oversight of the condition and needed repairs of the seven schools on the islands. Ann, along with Preston, was an active member of the Solentiname, Nicaragua Friendship Group of Western Massachusetts, building solidarity with the people on the islands. In Ashfield, Ann was active in the community, serving as warden in the local Episcopal church, and was a member of the town Finance Committee. She served on the Town Center Planning Committee, and was in charge of raising funds for buying privately held open land, now the Town Common. Ann was a published poet. Her work has appeared in the Carolina Quarterly, the Dalhousie Review, Salamander, Out of Line, and many other journals.
Praise for Deep Landscape Turning
“To read this book from front to back is to experience the profound turning of a life lived with intention and grace. . . . The triumph of this poet’s spirit, and of this elegant and remarkable book, is to have arrived, at the end of the journey, at the bedrock of acceptance and gratitude.” – Patricia Lee Lewis, author of A Kind of Yellow and leader of writing retreats at Patchwork Farm in western Massachusetts and at sacred sites in Wales and Guatemala.
“It is very seldom that I really fall in love with a book, but Deep Landscape Turning is one of those books . . . that you put down and it keeps pursuing you, won’t let you get away. . . the whole masterful, varies background is in every word.” – Hugh Fox, a founding editor of the Pushcart Prize.
“Reading this book is like walking into a well-ordered room where each object is the perfect embodiment of a moment in time–distinct and whole, able to arrest you with its beauty, intensity, and form. The themes of Ann’s life over the past four decades are present in these poems–the themes of global connectedness, social consciousness, the healing power of the natural world, deep childhood pain, the writer’s muscle, and a loving soul.” – Susan Todd, The Ashfield News.