Beacon-based Scott Tillitt is the founder of BEAHIVE, a coworking space and community institution with locations opening throughout the Hudson Valley.
He’s also a founder of several other local organizations, including Re>Think Local and Antidote Collective, “focused on making Beacon and the Hudson Valley a more vibrant, sustainable, locally-rooted and human-scale place to live and work.”
Hello! Who are you? Tell us about yourself. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing?
Hi! I’m like you, really — but different. I moved to Beacon from Brooklyn in 2006 and very quickly fell in love with the place and the people, the mountains, the river, the creative energy — throughout the Hudson Valley, not just Beacon.
There are a couple quotes that inspire everything I do.
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”Arundhati Roy
“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, social psychologist
I’m passionate about helping to awaken a social and spiritual consciousness and transform failed systems; helping counter the material, disheartening and destructive messages too rampant in our culture; inspiring creativity for a more open, interesting and sustainable society; and especially igniting the mind, tickling the emotions, and stirring the soul.
How did you discover the Hudson Valley?
My then-girlfriend and I were living in Bushwick (Brooklyn), and she had had enough of the city. On a whim, she decided to move to Beacon and I followed along. I didn’t really know anything about it — this was 2006, when it was still relatively unknown — and I was reticent to leave.
Walk us through a typical day.
I work for myself, part of which includes running BEAHIVE, a coworking space that I founded on Main St. in Beacon in 2009. (I have other locations in the region.) So I spend most of my days in Beacon, floating between home and BEAHIVE and Main St. coffee shops and cafes.
I like to think of the entire city (yes, Beacon is technically a city) as one big Cheers, where everyone knows your name. It’s one of the things I really love about living here (and what can occasionally also be oppressive).
Where are your favorite places to spend time in the Hudson Valley?
Exploring all the cities, towns and villages, all of which have their own great character. Hiking various trails.
Do you have a go-to coffee or beer order, and from where?
Cortado from Big Mouth Coffee Roasters or Beacon Pantry — and occasionally Bank Square Coffeehouse, which has the best outdoor terrace in Beacon.
Where do you do your best creative work?
See above about floating around various places (home, BEAHIVE, Main Street establishments). I have my hands in a number of things and wear a number of hats on my head and sometimes I just need to physically change my location as I change hats. I also get inspiration (which for me is actual creative work) by hiking outside and exploring the region.
One reason I was reticent about moving here from the city is because at the time the city was such an inspiring, energizing place for me. I soon realized after moving here that it’s also a stifling place (and has only become more so) and now I do my best creative work just being here.
How has the Hudson Valley influenced or impacted your creative work?
There’s space to breathe, not just physical space but energetic space, a different pace, a different way of life. It’s also simply smaller, easier to navigate, and relatively more inexpensive, all of which makes it easier to try new things and otherwise get involved.
After moving here I was inspired to translate my professional background into a social enterprise (BEAHIVE), a nonprofit (Re>Think Local), and various projects and community engagements focused on making Beacon and the Hudson Valley a more vibrant, sustainable, locally-rooted and human-scale place to live and work.
What’s surprised you most about living and working in the Hudson Valley?
I grew up in a small town in rural Missouri, and when I left the state after college, I lived in Chicago, Philadelphia, NYC, and briefly in Paris. Never did I think I would NOT live in a cosmopolitan city. In a way I’ve come full circle in the small community that is Beacon (though it’s obviously a far cry from rural Missouri). I’ve been here now for 13 years, longer than anywhere I’ve lived.
Are you part of any local groups or communities you’d like to mention?
For several years I was a board member of BeaconArts, which for 13+ years has promoted Beacon’s cultural vibrancy. (I’m still a member.)
I was a fellow with Good Work Institute, which is doing, well, good work connecting and supporting people, projects, and organizations that are, well, doing good work in the region.
Anything you want to plug or promote?
Stay tuned as BEAHIVE expands into other communities — I’m finalizing plans and agreements for Newburgh and Poughkeepsie and actively exploring others. And as we expand locations and members, we’ll also elevate our programming and impact.