Guest Post: Linda Esterley Reports on Artstream Art Camp, Part 1

Imagine: a private island just for you. And then imagine: an art retreat with classes and plenty of time to create. Now try to imagine: the two joined into one. Unimaginable? No! Here’s Linda to report on her first time at Artstream Art Camp:


It’s true – I’ve just returned from a private island where all my meals were prepared for me, and art supplies appeared before me. There were artist teachers of national caliber, and rustic cabins to sleep in. And no bears or tigers or bobcats or skunks in the woods to ruin a moonlit walk. It’s an island, right?

Freeman-Zachery Esterly sail

Artstream Art Camp is the dream-come-to-life of Susan Schwake, owner of Artstream Studios in Dover, New Hampshire. She wanted people to experience art in the outdoors, on an island she lived on for a time…to feel its magic.


The art retreat was held on Mayhew Island, which is normally home to a program for at-risk boys. (They were gone during the time we were there, I should say). A pontoon boat brings participants and their luggage across from the mainland, about a 10 minute ride.


There is a very large main building which houses the kitchen & dining hall, gathering room, basketball court, hockey arena (yes, field hockey), library, and one of the best porches I’ve sat on in a while…facing the beach, watching the sunset. There are sandy beach areas, kayaks, canoes, and a sunfish sailboat all waiting for use.

Freeman-Zachery Esterly porch

The day schedule was much different from others I’ve experienced, in that there was an hour of free time after the lunch hour. This allowed for time to relax, journal, nap, swim, or get a massage by a professional massage therapist who was there specifically for the retreaters. It was good to have a moment to slow your pace, if need be, or work on new techniques learned in the morning’s class. The instructors were available at all times and it was never a bother to help with a technique. Many last minute changes to class selections were accommodated with no drama or worry. In fact, Susan was scheduled to teach an encaustic class, but became ill the night before, so the instructors moved around to areas of teaching comfort, and all classes were covered.


All supplies were provided and included in the cost. I’ve been seeing this more and more, and have to say it’s become a deal-breaker for me if supply lists are long & supplies not included. I don’t want to spend a fortune buying and schlepping art supplies that I may never use again.


Check back on Friday for the second part of Linda’s report.

001_009_Z9582_01FM.inddIn the meantime, you can find out more about art retreats in Destination Creativity: The Life-Altering Journey of The Art Retreat.





Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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