Artist retreat/colony

This morning I collected my past ponderings on a faith-based artist colony and listed them on a page called Artist retreat.

This is probably only interesting to a certain few regular readers, but for those who do take the time to glance at the listing let me ask for some feedback. One of the things I haven’t nailed down yet is whether or not there is actually a felt need among both artists and mission organizations for such a venture. If you have any insight along these lines, please leave a comment on this post or on the aforementioned page.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

5 Responses to Artist retreat/colony

  1. I’m not sure how long term your idea of ‘colony’ is, I’m sure there would be permanent residents. This has always appealed to me through life. Ten years ago my wife and I were heavy into the Christian punk scene and were looking into JPUSA (, now as “conservative” Christians of Anabaptist thought, we find ourselves thinking about communities like Les Anabaptiste de Courtiron (, not as much of an art based Christian community but still an artsy feel.

    I think there is a need for such ventures, but I think the areas a community focuses on needs to grow organically. JPUSA didn’t start out doing what they do overnight, it grew into the many missions and artistic avenues over many years. But I also might be thinking of a different type of community than you…

    • pcNielsen says:

      I can’t decide which term is better, colony or retreat. Based on your response I’m thinking I might have to go with retreat. JPUSA isn’t really what I have in mind. But neither is a summer camp. Something in between, such as a residency, is more what I have in mind. I think.

  2. Glenn Kaiser says:

    I LOVE this thread, and not due to mention of JPUSA, rather as a musician and one more and more called on to speak not only to Christian music but wider arts, I find Stoneworks in MS (google plz) and where Wendi and I just spoke- a long week of workshops, worship and presentations of a myriad of arts, so important and refreshing. That gathering was in Germany, Creative Arts Europe (Jim and Anne Mills, excellent directors) who have done missional arts conferences for many years all over Europe are two very solid groups to look at.

    There are more. But none of these have but very small communities and yes, living so closely, especially over long durations is really a call and a difficult one due to the plenty of old nature in all of us.

    YET, I only found your site today, and happened on these posts, due to websearching on faith-based artists colonies. I have long wondered if (BIG IF, mind you) God would lead JPUSA to do something of this nature over the years or as some of us age. Perhaps and perhaps not. But it’s one of those back-burner prayers and thoughts.

    I’d love to hear how things progress for those of you seeking more than concepts re. art colonies and such. Don’t hear that as a challenge from me, rather an excitement and a gift to the Church and beyond as and if Jesus should lead.

    His, yours,

    • pcNielsen says:

      Thanks for the encouragement Glenn! I know of Stoneworks, shook Colin Harbinson’s hand in passing at Urbana and met Jennifer Trafton at a little thing called Hutchmoot in Nashville this summer. Good stuff indeed.

      Even though the idea of a mission mobilizing artist retreat has been in my head for nigh unto a decade, it’s something we’re just beginning to explore in earnest. It’ll be God that does anything with the idea; it’s much bigger than us.

      • Glenn says:

        As you can see I have a few sites Paul 🙂

        Yes, of course, but so many are finally waking up, re-capturing a sane, biblical, right view of both arts and artists within the body of Christ- and little by little the gap between artists who love Jesus and who either work in the mainstream, Christian circles or both are contributing that life that artists seem to so powerfully offer via the arts.

        Colin Harbinson is a longtime friend of ours, getting to know Jim and Anne well this past month, seeing all God is doing there in Europe was such a treat for us! So in any case, if and as He leads, please go for it. Let us know how we can encourage and in fact publicize any gathering as it comes about. It will be my pleasure to pass the word along.

        His, yours,

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