Art Adventure Retreats

Our art adventures and retreats are designed to offer a variety of experiences to restore,
refresh and explore one’s creativity. Our mission is to create an environment and experience that inspires, instructs, renews the spirit, nourishes the body, and refreshes the mind.

The winning combination of engaging in an art-making experience, outdoor activity, great food, and a nurturing, inspiring environment makes for a wonderful retreat from everyday life.

We are located in McNaughton, Wisconsin, nestled into the northwoods forest and situated along the Wisconsin River, where wildlife and peace abound. It is the ideal place to find a quiet place to reflect and absorb Nature. But our retreats also offer the fun of exploring art in well-equipped studio spaces, for both beginners and more advanced artists.

A typical retreat begins Saturday morning and ends Sunday afternoon. We hold art making sessions, enjoy outdoor activity such as light hiking, snowshoeing, swimming or kayaking by arrangement. The area is rich with wild space to enjoy these activities, and your leader is well experienced in teaching and leading groups. Joan Molloy Slack has been and artist and teacher for over 25 years. She presently own Riverrun Center for the Arts, an art gallery and teaching facility, and is a full-time artist as well as Outdoor and Community Educator through Nicolet College in Rhinelander. She offers a wide variety of classes to all ages in pottery, sculpture, felt-making, tapestry weaving, and art history. In addition, she has led study tours for college credit to Ireland and Mexico through Nicolet College, and through her own business has included the Orkney Islands in Scotland, as well as France. Each trip is unique, with the focus upon outdoor activities such as hiking, birding, learning the flora and fauna of a place, seeing local artists and experiencing culture, with the history of the area woven through the class. Her passion is to bring alive art, places and history through stories of people, symbols, mythology and art, and to encourage people to experience and enjoy nature, take on new adventures and find new insights into their individual journeys.

Please see our list of available retreats below, many of which are organized around themes.
We require a minimum of 6 people, and can have up to 15 for a session. Retreats are offered monthly, on weekends. You may choose a theme and contact us for available dates. This is a wonderful way to gather a group together, explore your creativity, and have fun! It is also possible to extend the length of the retreat to include extra days and more activities, such as visits to area points of interest and outdoor adventures.

Themed Retreats:

The Natural World: Seasonal cycles, animals, and cultural traditions will be discussed, and art relating to landscape will be the focus.

Celtic Art, Traditions and Symbols: An exploration of how the Celtic world is
expressed in art history, design motifs, mythology, and how this is reflected in traditions
observed throughout the year, such as at solstices and cyclical times
Language of the Goddess: The rich history of how goddess images, figurines and
mythology have been created throughout time will be explored, with opportnity to create your own renditions. Joan has studied archaeological goddess history in depth.

The Story of the Greenman and Greenwoman: Many cultures around the world symbolize the rebirth and reawakening of life with the image of a face surrounded by leaves and foliage. We will learn about these images, their meanings, and how contemporary people celebrate this wonderful depiction of life and regeneration. You will create your own green spirit images during the class.

Life Transitions: The story of life is change, and we all face transitions as we move along on our journey. This class will help you create art about your transitional time, through imagery and words. Honoring and acknowledging change, and opening new doors will be the theme. 4 tiles depicting the seasons of your life will be a focus.

The Rich World of Symbols: From the first drawings on cave walls to advertising of today, our human desire to create symbols has left its mark. A fascinating journey through time and art will be our opening, after which individual projects using symbols will be the focus.

The Art of Felt-making: After an overview of the history of wool and its uses, we will learn the many ways to work with needle felting to create both functional and decorative works of art. A demonstration and opportunity to try wet felting will also be included. The creation of a large landscape will be the major project. The media used in these courses will be some or all of the following: clay, felt-making and mixed media, such as colored pencil, collage, and paint. All materials and supplies are included in the cost of the retreat. Materials and supplies will also be available for purchase.

Please contact Joan for current prices.

Joan is a member of the Handmade Tile Association. For a catalog contact the HTA