Monday, May 8, 2023

Places to go for In-Person Art Retreats!

I am Kristin Williams and a HUGE fan of in-person art-making and learning. I owned and ran Ephemera Paducah in Paducah, Kentucky for about 10 years and am currently taking a “Gap Year” in 2023 to focus on friendships, travel, family, and art-making. 

I am pleased to report that so far in 2023 I’ve had two delightful experiences with small group get-togethers making art! One was a long weekend in Tennessee with some teacher friends who I thought should know each other better. We ate, drank, hiked, and sat around in the evenings and created. It was blissful and informative. Organically, each person shared information or expertise that ended up helping out someone else on the trip. The best report was everyone went home and had the same conversation around their kitchen table the first night back - not one person got on each other’s nerves. Bwahahah! #winning

Sunny Carvalho's journal spread about a lady we found in a year book. 

A few weeks ago, one of my Paducah Art Tribe assembled a small group at her house -- friends we made through Ephemera Paducah -- and we sat outside on a gorgeous Spring day painting fabric. It was glorious and I have a great stash of original fabric to use in my stitching. Win-Win. 

I'm so happy to be painting with friends I didn't notice it on my face!

Making art with friends is the best. 

If you are missing hanging out at Ephemera Paducah, here are some ways to ease that pain and make art with some old or new friends!

Starting “at home” please get on the email lists of your local library, Ag-Extension Office, art center /museum, and art stores. You will be surprised that there is probably a local class you would enjoy. Or, consider teaching one!! My guess is if you’ve been into Mixed Media or Art Journaling for a while, you know more than you give yourself credit for. Offer up a 2-3 hour afternoon class to explore something like Stenciling or Art Journaling. 

One of those places probably also has a room for rent at a reasonable price if you’d like to have a regular meet-up for mixed media lovers. Imagine a weekly or monthly play date with your art buds. Heaven!

Since closing up shop, I’ve fielded messages from folks yearning for the in-person instruction we provided at Ephemera Paducah and the opportunity to find other creatives. I started compiling a list, and the good news is there are more places than I had originally estimated.

I thought it would be useful to share it with you and, PLEASE, add others in the comment section as I am sure I left some off.

This list ranges from once-a-year events to 2-week International Trips to plain old fun weekend get-togethers to hang out and work on your projects. So many of these places are on my "Bucket List" to visit. 

International Art Retreats

The Blue Walk - My husband, John, and I had a WONDERFUL experience with the Blue Walk tour company in 2019 when we went to Greece and Mary Beth Shaw was the Artist Instructor for the trip. And just got back from Amsterdam and Paris with the same tour guides and teacher. Jeanette and Suzy are the co-owners of the company and curate a “trip of a lifetime” every time. Mary Beth has taught for them in Italy, Paris, Amsterdam, and Greece and is teaching in Spain and Switzerland in 2024!!! The Blue Walk’s forte is “walking vacations based on a balance of adventure and relaxation. Art vacations cultivate immersive and inspiring experiences. This is what we offer. Our tours are soul-satisfying vacations enriched by the opportunity to grow physically and creatively.”

The Blue Walk tour in Greece, 2019

Essence of Mulranny - Mary Beth will be back in Ireland in 2024. She RAVED about this experience and place after teaching there in 2022. Mulranny is a small seaside village on Clew Bay in Co. Mayo. It is located at the dramatic western edge of Ireland, the end boundary of Europe. “Here, land and sea meet at the threshold of a powerful creative adventure.” They have an impressive lineup of 2023 Art Retreats.

Perigord Retreats in France - painting retreats hosted in the Perigord and Quercy, France. Includes everything in a luscious setting. StencilGirl Designer Rae Missigman is teaching there in June and in October you can catch Designer Cathy Nichols!

United States

A Work of Heart owned by Andrea Chebeleu in San Jose, California. I’ve taught at Andrea’s Shop/Studio and she has a fantastic set-up. On top of a wonderful library of online workshops and events, Andrea has in-person workshops that she and traveling artist-instructors teach. She has been in business for more than 20 years!

Way Art Yonder Studio owned by Jana Freeman in Jamul, California is about 25 miles east of downtown San Diego. Jana offers a variety of classes and a stellar lineup of instructors. Hospitality is very important to Jana and they curate a wonderful experience on their home property. 

2 Kat Studios is owned by Kat Kirby in Prescott, Arizona. Kat is a Soul Collage Facilitator, Bookmaker, Mixed Media Lover, and Creativity Coach. She teaches as well as hosts traveling artist-instructors. 

Everything Scrapbook and Stamps is owned by Michele McCosh in Wellington, Florida. Just announced that Dina Wakley is teaching there at the end of June!

Artistic Artifacts - Artistic Artifacts is a creative resource for fabric, fiber, and mixed media art products sold online and in our shop in Alexandria, VA. StencilGirl Designer Gwen Lafleur has a workshop coming up soon!

Jeanne Oliver Studios in Castle Rock, Colorado. Exquisitely curated workshops in Jeanne Oliver’s home. 

Studio Joy is owned by encaustic artist Amanda Jolley in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri. The studio was once a repair shop until Amanda and her husband converted it into the perfect live/work space. 

Yellow Brick Road Studio owned by Kerry Molina is getting ready to host its 7th Annual Creativity Camp July 17 - 21 in Gainesville, Virginia.

Kara Bullock Art School in Tustin, California offers monthly in-studio workshops featuring oil, acrylic, and portrait painting. She and traveling artist-instructors teach in the heart of wine country. 

Hunter Moon Homestead - in central Idaho. “Our artist retreats and healing workshops are designed to nourish your inner artist, guiding you through a journey of self-reflection and producing original artwork under the expert guidance of our instructors. Choose from our range of pond view cabins, furnished canvas glamping tents, or pitch your own tent on a raised wooden platform and experience a moment of tranquility in the heart of nature.”

Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Mary Beth Shaw has taught here a number of times and absolutely raves about the facilities. She has a class coming up July 28 - 30, 2023 called Living Mixed Media. They have a huge catalog of classes from fiber to mixed media to voice!

Not to confuse you, but 
Shakerag Workshops offers a series of arts classes for adults in June each year atop the Cumberland Plateau in Sewanee, Tennessee. Instructors from around the world offer classes in a variety of media - knitting, basketry, book arts, clay, digital arts, felting, fiber, mixed media, jewelry, wood carving, and painting.

Art & Soul Retreats run by Glenny Moir 2023 & 2024 in Portland, Oregon. They have tons of great instructors over about a week. Lots of opportunities and Portland is such a cool arty town. Before I started Ephemera Paducah I enjoyed numerous Art and Soul Retreats. 

Craftin’ and Chatting with Lori and Elaine - These gals put on fun crop-style weekends in Georgia where you “craft, eat, sleep, and repeat!” Bring whatever you are working on and create away with other artistic and crafty folks. You’ll see scrapbooking, junk journaling, card making, and even diamond dot art painting and knitting. The next one coming up is Glamping! Join their Facebook group to stay in the loop. 

ArtHaus New Haven in New Haven, Missouri is opening the first week in June. Stephanie Gutierrez and Kathi Bell are embarking on an exciting new venture. Keep an eye on their website which should be live in early May. "ArtHaus New Haven is an innovative art studio that offers a holistic approach to inspire your creativity through mixed media, fabric arts, sculpture, watercolor, collage, art journaling, and more. They will offer weekly and monthly art classes, workshops, and retreats for beginner and seasoned artists, designed to nurture your emotional health and well-being."

Art Makers Denver run by Helen Rice, is a 3-day event in July in Downtown Denver, Colorado. Painting, metalsmithing, mixed media, and even doodling!

Sacred Makers Retreat at Squam at Rockywold Deephaven Camps in Holderness, New Hampshire, and hosted by Kiala and Damon Givehand June 7-11, 2023. Fiber, Mixed Media, Bookbinding, Paper Cutting, and Maker-in-Residence, StencilGirl Designer Tiffany Goff-Smith. Of course that is going to rock!

Squam - Spring and Fall gatherings at Rockywold Deephaven Camps in Holderness, New Hampshire. Knitting, fiber, and soul-searching in a rustic setting.

Dillman’s Art Retreat Workshops in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin (a resort on the White Sand Lake in Northern Wisconsin 12 miles from Minocqua) is featuring over 20 internationally known instructors teaching courses in watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, mixed media, collage, sketching, marketing and more in lakeside studios in 2023. 

Hudson River Valley Art Retreats in upstate New York. Originally founded by the Stevens Family, Hudson River Valley Art Workshops (HRVAW) began welcoming painters and instructors from around the world for summer art workshops and retreats in 1982. When current owners, Kim & Mark LaPolla, took over the business in 2005, they not only expanded the season but introduced art quilt and fiber art workshops to the region as well.

Madeline Island School of the Arts is offering workshops in multiple locations including Santa Fe, New Mexico, and La Pointe, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior. They world-class workshops in studio painting, plein air painting, quilting, photography, fiber arts, mixed media, and writing.

Pacific Northwest Art School in Coupeville, Washington is dedicated to bringing exceptional visual arts education to our community and beyond, by bringing nationally and internationally known faculty to their students in the mediums of fiber arts, mixed media, painting, and photography. 

Mabel Dodge Luhan House hosts a variety of artists in charming Taos, New Mexico. As a historic inn and conference center which offers retreat-style meetings and artistic, literary, and personal growth workshops, the Mabel Dodge Luhan House continues to build on its 80-year history of personal, intellectual, and artistic innovation and creativity. 

Penland School of Craft is located about an hour from Asheville, North Carolina in Bakersville, North Carolina. Each summer, the school offers about 100 one- and two-week workshops in books and paper, clay, drawing and painting, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking and letterpress, textiles, wood, and other media.

John C. Campbell Folk School is located in Brasstown, North Carolina (in the western part of the state) and offers year-round weeklong, and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, and more.

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Their workshops are designed to provide creative opportunities for anyone who wants to learn new skills and be energized and inspired. Weekend, one-week and two-week sessions offer a concentrated experience of working in a professionally equipped studio with dedicated and talented instructors and other students. Currently they are offering everything from basket weaving to figure painting to chair making to glass jewelry. 

Those are the ones I am aware of, but please, add others in the comments where you enjoy attending or teaching in-person workshops & retreats!!

Whatever you do, keep creating!!!




  1. This list is fantastic. THANK YOU!!!

    1. Kristin WilliamsMay 8, 2023 at 8:48 AM

      Thanks you, Nancy!

    2. Thank you this amazing list.

  2. Dar James holds wonderful mixed media painting retreats in Walnutport, PA and Greenville, NY several times a year. Dar is a fabulous teacher who encourages you to experiment and learn through discovery.

  3. For those looking for a retreat next month, DeeDee Catron and myself (Tina Walker) are holding our first annual Compendium Society in PA.
    Spots are still available.

  4. I also host 2 retreats a year focused on junk journling. I host them in northeastern Alabama. If interested, please contact me.

    1. Thank you Kristin for the shout out!!

    2. Kristin WilliamsMay 8, 2023 at 1:09 PM

      You are welcome! Repost a link or newsletter signup so folks can find you!

  5. Connie Solera’s currently available retreats are sold out, but you can get notified about future ones via her newsletter.

    She also has an online community for ecourses. They can be purchased at the web site also.

  6. Road Scholar does a week’s retreat at Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program in Massachusetts

    1. Kristin WilliamsMay 8, 2023 at 1:10 PM

      Please post a link so folks can find our more! Thanks!

    2. Out more 🤦🏻‍♀️

  7. Self Esteem Through Art is hosting it's 2nd annual Seaside Retreat for Women in beautiful Newport, RI from June 9-11. Three days, four fabulous instructors, one unparalleled location! Space is still available. Learn more and sign up here:

  8. Thank you so much for this list! While I can’t travel this year, I hope you can compile something like this every year!

  9. Kristin, if you're interested in teaching in North Eastern NC, close to the Virginia state line, I'd love to host you in my studio space! We have seating for 30 including a clay space with kiln and plenty of tables. It would be so great to have you here! I'm sharing my space with visiting artists at no cost. I just ask for a seat at the table. My entire space is about 3,000sqft.

  10. I posted above with the invitation to teach in my studio. My Instagram page is Hope_malott_art

  11. Thanks for including me in your comprehensive list! My retreat in Carefree this month is full but I have spaces in both my Portugal and Taos retreats. And Kristin, please come teach in Prescott!

    1. Kristin WilliamsMay 9, 2023 at 7:28 AM

      Thank you, Kat! I promise, I will! Still enjoying my “Gap Year!”

  12. Can’t forget Lesley Riley’s Red Thread Retreats… absolutely amazing creative experiences with an absolutely creative soul:

    Thanks for the list!
    Michelle Tompkins

  13. I host monthly Paper Marbling Experiences in my home (wet) studio- all day experience everything included and I feed you well!!

  14. Wow! Thanks for the list!

  15. Kristin WilliamsMay 9, 2023 at 3:57 PM

    I found one more! Bellissima Art Escapes with Kathy Vezanni. Both international and domestic.

  16. And, one more! Multiplicity Art Studio in Katy, Texas has lots of offerings!

  17. Patricia Ann BrubakerJune 24, 2023 at 10:05 PM

    Artists Rising Creativity Retreats in beautiful New England
    I’ve combined my hospitality experience with creativity to offer week long art retreats with some of your favorite artist/teachers in mixed media, fiber arts, sketching, watercolor, oil, gouache, etc


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