Is there a best location for an artist retreat?
23 March 2010 3 Comments
During the course of conversation with certain other interested types, one of the things that comes up again and again is that of the proposed location of this proposed mission mobilizing artist retreat.
- Contemplative (see Kathleen Norris’ Dakota: A spiritual geography)
- Cheaper land and property, generally speaking
- Central location (instead of obligatory coastal/metro location)
I touched on this in my last retreat related post, but it seems to be worth bringing up again.
I was clear in the last post that part of the reasoning for the Great Plains was possibly personal bias, although I’m still sticking to the reasoning above for the time being. My wife and I both find Norris’ observation very compelling. From her book Dakota:
Like all those who choose life in the slow lane — sailors, monks, farmers — I partake of a contemplative reality. Living close to such an expanse of land I find I have little incentive to move fast, little need of instant information. I have learned to trust the processes that take time, to value change that is not sudden or ill-considered but grows out of the ground of experience.
I suppose there is a chance I’m reading a little too much into Norris’ meaning here (the book is still packed and I can’t reference it beyond the above quote). I’d love to have the chance to ask her to elaborate on the tie between big skies and a contemplative life at some point, but I haven’t had the chance to do that. And in the mean time I will rely on my wife‘s certified super-power: reading comprehension.
I think I’ve said before that there are admittedly other natural settings that also foster contemplation, and that these places can be different for different people — which is the impetus for this post. I’ve chatted with several other people, artists and catalysts, who think the Rocky Mountains are the best place for artistic inspiration. Others suggest the wooded Ozarks, and we probably all know someone with an affinity for the beach. Is one place better than another?
Can there be a consensus? Or are multiple retreats, as I posited in the last entry, the best option?
Does there need to be a consensus? Or are artists simply eager for time and space to create regardless of location?
As an artist,
is there a particular natural setting
that best fosters a contemplative spirit for you?
What is it and why?
On a sidenote, I’ve probably dug myself a hole of sorts by using the word “inspiration” at all. Inspiration is not the same as contemplation. The point of this particular artist retreat, while in large part is to give artists the opportunity to have extended periods of uninterrupted studio time, is not necessarily to provide inspiration.