"There is one thing one has to have,” said Friedrich Neitzsche, “a soul that is either cheerful by nature, or a soul made cheerful by work, love, art, and knowledge.” With those words in mind, an art retreat can bring that cheer, offering explorers the opportunity to ignite their artistic passions. Designed for visitors and staycationers alike, here are three regional retreats that educate, engage, and inspire through a blend of art and travel.
To travel with others who share one’s passion is magical; that’s why Asheville-based lensmen Steve Murray and Steven McBride started Magic Light Tours. “I’ve traveled a lot over the years, but I missed how fun it was to travel with other photographers,” says McBride. Magic Light whisks shutterbugs of all skill levels to exotic locales such as Bali, Cambodia, Iceland, Vietnam, and Alaska. In the spring and fall, the tour guides invite as many as 12 photographers to explore the mountains of WNC. During the next trip, October 13-16, adventurers will hike the bald peaks of Black Balsam in Pisgah National Forest, which promises waterfalls and breathtaking 360-degree views.
Generations of artists have found inspiration in the mountains, including internationally acclaimed quilter Marilyn Doheny. After 30 years of conducting quilting lectures, Doheny’s desire for richer interaction with pupils inspired her to open Marilyn’s Melrose Inn in Tryon, where she offers week-long quilting seminars. Students master contemporary techniques and designs in the comfort of the 122-year-old inn.
For a more metropolitan experience, visual artist Ginger Huebner and choreographer and dancer Lisa Zahiya invite travelers to study art and dance through Asheville Art Retreats. Guests may concentrate on collage, pastel, and encaustic painting with Huebner, or learn Indian, hip-hop, or belly dance with Zahiya during a customized retreat lasting from a few hours to several days. Packages include lodging at Biltmore Village Inn and dinner vouchers for the Corner Kitchen restaurant.
Whether you’re looking for your muse abroad or in your backyard, an art retreat can stir the imagination and cheer the soul.
Asheville Art Retreats
Magic Light Tours
Western North Carolina
Marilyn's Melrose Inn