Art Retreat: A Weekend of Creation and Community
Reported by Emma Bach
The George Fox University Art Department embarked on its annual Art Retreat on Friday. The retreat, which took place at the SeaKrest Lodge and spanned over a weekend, was a time for artists to bond, learn, and create.
Saturday was busy and engaging, with different activities planned throughout the day. There were varied workshops for students led by art faculty: oil painting, zines, screen printing, African mud cloth dyeing, conceptual drawing, building a camera obscura, and raku pottery. Later, students and faculty drove down to Yachats to explore the art galleries, visiting a coffee shop and some thrift stores on the way there.
The Art Retreat has been held for the past 21 years. Mark Terry, professor of art and design, has been involved in the retreat since the beginning. He emphasizes the importance of community for the event.
“Artists have been being taught for the last hundred years that you’re supposed to go off in secret by yourself and come up with your own designs and ideas,” Terry said. “George Fox University stands in absolute and complete and total opposition of that idea.
“[We believe] that you do your best work in collaboration,” Terry added. “You do your best work in community, that iron sharpens iron, and that we support each other, help fill in weak spots, and provide strength. Laughing together, getting silly, and breaking down some of those barriers … that happens when you play goofy games and hang around a fire at night.”
When not sketching or painting during free time, students bonded over homework assignments and hot chocolate. Teamwork was embraced during shifts for meal prep and washing dishes, and s’mores were shared over a bonfire on the beach to celebrate the last night of the retreat.
Students had the opportunity to grow both creatively and spiritually. The beach, only a five-minute walk away, was always available for quiet time, and everyone joined together on Sunday morning for a worship session. To close the weekend, faculty led a group-wide discussion on anxiety, which ended in sharing and prayers.
Overall, the Art Retreat provided a chance for fellow artists to get to know one another, explore their expressive abilities, and spend time in creation while making creations of their own.