The real world can affect your art in a negative way, and sometimes it’s important to get away for a few days (or weeks) to really concentrate on your creative process. Artists’ retreats are a popular way for creatives to get a fresh dose of inspiration and have lots of quality time to work, without all of the distractions of real life.
If you have a few rooms to spare in your home; if you have your own studio space; and if you live in a beautiful or historically significant area, there’s no reason why you couldn’t start your own artist’s retreat and enjoy the company of professional and amateur artists from all over the world.
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Here are some tips to get you started.
Define your market
What type or artists are you aiming to attract with your retreat? Are you looking to bring in serious professionals for long periods to work extensively on new collections, or do you want to attract hobbyists who might stay for a weekend or two to enjoy the surroundings and learn a few new skills?
Are you looking to focus on a specific demographic (for example, women) or do you want to focus on a particular discipline (clay sculpture)?
The market that you choose will affect the facilities that you’ll need to offer. A professional artist staying for a longer period will require private studio space and top-of-the-line equipment. They’ll be less interested in beginner classes but potentially keen on master classes exploring specialized techniques.
Hobbyists will probably be happy in a shared studio space, but will want more time and freedom to enjoy non-art activities in the area too.
Prepare your studio space
Whatever type of retreat you offer, you will need to supply an artist’s studio complete with all the necessary equipment. This is where it can be helpful to specialize in a particular discipline, such as pottery or jewellery making. . . buying all of this equipment can be expensive, but if you’re setting up a business most of it can be deducted as expenses.
Make sure you’re buying top-of-the-line equipment (although it’s wise to try and find it second-hand) and check to see that it all works perfectly before your first artist arrives.
You’ll also want a studio space and working environment that is light and airy, with plenty of natural light. And remember, white walls may not be particularly appealing to the home decorator in us, but they do allow space for artistic minds to focus on the task at hand.
Sculpt your surroundings
Most artists come to a retreat to get back to nature and enjoy the surroundings, so make sure yours are pleasant. Do some landscaping in the garden, install little nooks, chairs and gazebos in surprising places, and create outdoor work spaces that take advantage of natural views.
Advertise your retreat
Once you’ve got everything set up, it’s time to get your first artist through the door!
Contact every local arts organization and explain what you’re trying to do. Write a press release and send this out to the paper. Ask local artists to come along and give lectures and public workshops. Do whatever you can to root your retreat in the local arts community.
It’s certainly a little extra work, but the benefits of hosting your own artists’ retreat are more than worth it.
Running an artist retreat can be a great way to meet other creatives from all over the world and become involved in the local arts community—not to mention the fact that you’ll be earning a bit of extra money on the side.
Sound fun? Then what are you waiting for? Go clean the spare room and get started!
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