Need to get away to create? Keep this list of artists’ and writers’ retreats on hand.
Sometimes artists and writers need to escape to a magical world where they can bask in quiet inspiration. And, yes, these places do exist. You can choose from artists’ and writers’ retreats in the hills of Ireland, the forests of California or perched in a village in Southern France. Some offer studios, nourishment and living space at no charge. They simply want artists to have the space and time to create.
Check out these eight artists’ and writers’ retreats where you can replenish your creative soul.
1. Soaring Gardens Artists’ Retreat
Location: Diary country, an hour west of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Ideal for: Visual artists, writers, composers and musicians who have at least two years of professional experience.
Details: Soaring Gardens Artists’ Retreat has two properties: the House and the Church, and these are 10 minutes apart. The House has five bedrooms and two living rooms, and it sits on 23 acres. It has a separate studio with 750-square-foot studios, and it can accommodate up to three artists (groups of artists are encouraged to apply). The Church, which dates back to 1910, has been remodeled into comfortable living and working spaces, and it sits on a small parcel of land next to a goat farm. It has a bedroom and living room. No supervision, no fees and the artists are not expected to show any results. Residencies are available between May and September. At least one week is required, but three to four weeks are recommended.
2. Anam Cara
Location: A hillside between Coulagh Bay and Mishkish on the Kealincha River in Ireland.
Ideal for: Novice and experienced writers and creative artists.
Details: Come to this artists’ and writers’ retreat to work on your own project or as part of a workshop group. You can come for just a few days or up to a month, but at least a week is recommended (the average stay is two to three weeks). Artists can work alone during quiet hours from 9:30 to 5:30, and they can have meals with other residents or on their own. The meals are slow-cooked comfort foods prepared with produce from local gardeners and butchers. Choose to do your own retreat or a workshop retreat where a writer or artist will lead the week.
3. Storyteller Within
Location: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Ideal for: Female writers or anyone who wants to bond with other women to meditate, do yoga and have a journey together.
Details: The weeklong retreats at Storyteller Within offer meditation, yoga, self-exploratory writing and ceremonies for women. They use writing as a channel for women to explore their stories to reveal deeper truths, though they don’t focus on the technique of writing or working on the craft. Storyteller Within is designed for any woman open to exploring writing as a channel for self-exploration and self-expression.
4. Djerassi Resident Artists Program
Location: It’s on 583 acres of redwood forests and wild coastal grasslands in Woodside, California.
Ideal for: Visual artists, media artists, composers, dancers, choreographers and writers.
Details: This artists’ retreat accepts visitors for 30-day residencies. They host 12 artists at a time, who come to work on their craft without interruption. Djerassi Resident Artists Program has no requirements of the artists-in-residents, but they find that artists are extraordinarily productive since often they’re not used to having time or support to focus on their work. They’ve hosted MacArthur Foundation winners, Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel laureates. But more often, they’ve supported working artists who have great talent and passion but aren’t household names. They provide the airport pickup, studio, living space and food, all free of charge.
5. The MacDowell Colony
Location: Peterborough, New Hampshire
Ideal for: Writers, visual artists, composers, filmmakers, playwrights, interdisciplinary artists and architects. More than 250 artists descend here annually, and about half are newcomers.
Details: The MacDowell Colony accepts one out of every 10 applications. The artists who are admitted have a studio to work in uninterrupted 24 hours a day. Artists can work at their pace, as they have no set schedule. There are no residency fees.
6. Hermitage Artist Retreat
Location: Englewood, Florida
Ideal for: Accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists who are mid-career.
Details: Artists who are chosen to come to Hermitage Artist Retreat can expect a private living and working space to use while in residency. There is no application process for this artists’ retreat. Instead, these artists must be nominated to come. There are no more than five artists at any given time, and each living space has a private bath and a small refrigerator and microwave. A large community kitchen is available for storing food and cooking. The only expectation is that artists interact with the community at some time during their stay. Residents here have a bank of six weeks that they can spend here, but they can divide them in weekly increments over a two-year period, and there is no fee for the retreat.
7. La Muse
Location: Perched village in the hills of Southern France in Labastide Esparbairenque, France.
Ideal for: Writers and artists.
Details: This artists’ and writers’ retreat is in a centuries-old manor with 10 bedrooms, two shared kitchens, a sitting room, dining room, library and art studio. The library is filled with books that each resident has given to La Muse since it was founded: one book about where they’re from and one book that inspires them. Each person presents their books and introduces their projects at a book-swap crepe breakfast. La Muse also welcomes families to stay in the cottages. There are quiet hours in the morning and in the afternoon to support creative work. They recommend at least a three-week stay, but they accept stays of one week to multiple months.
8. Shenandoah Art Destination
Location: Near the historic town of Lexington, nestled in the Shenandoah Valley between the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Mountains of Lexington, Virginia.
Ideal for: Art lovers of any ability.
Details: At this all-inclusive artists’ retreat, all artists from beginners to professionals are given daily course guidance by Jan Willem Boer, an established artist and illustrator for more than 25 years. Each day, there is a focus on a different skill with plenty of individual instruction. The facility is set up with two indoor studios and many outdoor locations for outdoor painting. Courses run from early spring to late fall and are listed by weekend, four-day or six-day options. Nonparticipating partners are also welcome.