Artists’ Retreats at SPOKE

To be able to make truly visionary art, we artists must have in our lives the crucial element called dream time, that is, time when we leave this world and go into our own sacred space, seeking the grace needed to create our work. Dream time holds the turmoil and the trauma of the world at bay and allows the vision to be granted and the healing notes to attune us.

                                                                                                 Estelle Conwill Májozo


ITALY

April 21-May 7, 2025

SENEGAL

TBD

Click on the date link above to jump to the Ireland retreat info on this page


You are invited to step out of your day-to-day life and to be part of one of our artistic retreats.  The retreats ask you to recognize that the role of the artist is meaningful enough to nurture.  They revolve around bringing the creative into our daily lives, permitting life to revolve around the creative self.

Too often we accept daily life as a distraction rather than an invitation to our work as artists to reveal the deeper, often hidden meaning of our existence.  Participants will be invited to be mindful that each moment in our lives offers us the material for creation. 

During studio time artists work alone or near one another.  During the retreat individual conversation will be held as the facilitators visit the artists.  The surroundings provide magical settings within which the artist may work with the subject and in the style and form that most engages them. Opportunities abound to consider the landscape, architecture, figure, still life or simply the light as a subject. Artists work in many mediums on our retreats including painting, mixed media, drawing, or sculpture.

Guided conversations are held on two afternoons (Dialogues with Art) and several evenings after dinner (Artist Vision), where the facilitators weave the community of artists together with elements of story, poetry, and the experiences of the day. These conversations may examine issues dealt with by artists such as: experiencing art, learning to talk about each other’s art, our role as artists in our society, accessing and recognizing our vision, special needs we have as artists, and talking about our work with others.

For inquiries about the retreats, please contact us at:  [email protected]

Italy – April 21-May 7, 2025, Poetry, and Visual Art
– Last two Nights in Venice!

Our 22nd Italian retreat will be held at a monastery in San Gimignano, a medieval Tuscan village filled with towers and surrounded by rolling hills. The Benedictine Sisters who offer their hospitality have become dear friends during our previous retreats.


In San Gimignano, you will find many beautiful places to work outdoors. The monastery offers their private walled olive garden for working as well. Cafés, restaurants, and shops are all within a short, if hilly, walk. The views are breathtaking, and the light is magical.

San Gimignano is several weeks ahead of our late New England Spring. While evenings and mornings may be cool enough to require a jacket or layers, the afternoons can be warm enough for short sleeves. The grass is green, flowers are blooming, and trees are leafing out.


Fees $2750

FEES DO NOT INCLUDE AIRFARE ESTIMATED AT $1000.

FEES INCLUDE:

  • Individual and group instruction
  • Lodging, double ensuite rooms with single beds.
  • Continental breakfast, lunch, and seven dinners.
  • Transportation between airport and lodging, upon arrival and departure, available for selected flight only

Key dates


Facilitators

Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, published by Indolent Books, and two full-length collections published by 3: A Taos Press – The Unbuttoned Eye (now in second printing) and The Heavy of Human Clouds. His poetry appears in many journals and magazines including Lana Turner Journal, the Maine Review, the Massachusetts Review and Shenandoah. He is the recipient of a 2022 artist residency at Monson Arts and a fall 2023 visiting instructor at The Edna St Vincent Millay House. Additional information can be found at robertcarr.org

Michael Dowling is known as one of the Commonwealth’s most innovative and courageous artists who produces visually stunning, ambitious public works of art that serve and inspire communities on many levels. His work stems from his heartfelt desire to beautify and make life better for all.  Michael holds a BFA and MFA from Boston University, where he studied with Philip Guston and James Weeks.

Leading these artist retreats has become a natural extension of Michael Dowling’s work as a visionary artist and educator, where he has inspired and guided communities and artists of all ages for over thirty years.


Ireland –  September 14-October 1 – 2024, Visual Arts and Writing

Before setting out, remind yourself of the purpose of your journey. From now on, there is no such thing as a neutral act, an empty thought, an aimless day. Travels become sacred by the depths of their contemplations. As in myth, dream, and poetry, every word is saturated with meaning. Now is the time to live your ideal life.

– Phil Cousineau


For our fourth retreat to Ireland, we will be staying at the Donegal Thatched Cottages, offering traditional Irish cottages right on the seafront/beach on The Wild Atlantic Way. The cottages are located on Cruit Island right on the Atlantic Ocean. We invite you to warm your toes at a blazing turf fire; taste the salt spray on the sea breeze; experience the warm welcome of West Donegal, where time meets eternity, and the old ways linger on.

Full of character and charm, the cottages are just a stone’s throw away from a beautiful sandy beach and boast picturesque views all-year round. They are an ideal setting for our artistic retreat.

Local playwright and historian Martin Lynch will join us and share his wealth of knowledge about the area. The cottages have a detailed website https://www.donegalthatchcottages.com which you may visit for more information, including some beautiful photographs.

Fees $2750

FEES DO NOT INCLUDE AIRFARE ESTIMATED AT $1000.

FEES INCLUDE:

  • Individual and group instruction
  • Lodging, double occupancy rooms with single beds in three to four cottages
  • Continental breakfast, lunch, and seven dinners.
  • Transportation between airport and lodging, upon arrival and departure, available for selected flight only. Last two nights in Dublin

Key dates

Facilitators

We are excited that local historian, playwright and community organizer, Martin Lynch will join Michael Dowling facilitating this retreat.