Residency Overview

Tennessee landscape bamboo grove donkeys



Sarasvati creative Space has been established to support and encourage creative participation for short or longer term residencies for artists of any age and trajectory in your discipline including emerging or rebooting, creatives of all colors and genders, and parents (children & partners welcome depending on the schedule or length of stay).

In particular, creatives who find nature as an inspiration, collaborator or muse.
May participate solo or coordinate your collaborative team.
Ideally suited to: Drawing and Painting Writing & Poetry Environmental Art Graphic Design, Architect, other Design fields Film, Video, Installation, Storytelling Theater Arts small scale ceramics or sculpture nature installation / 3D Fiber arts Murals Music & Songwriting (that doesn't need sound studio or a piano)


The property is in two tracts of 5 acres of the primary living and work environments and 12 acres of undeveloped land that is a primitive campground, forest therapy trail and exploration space with about 400 feet of frontage on the Buffalo River.

At Camp Wonder Wander, you'll find a variety of terrain from forest, pasture, bamboo grove, vegetable/herb raised bed garden with fruit trees, meadow with natural growth, and the river bluff down to rocky river bed.

Cannot guarantee number of participants at any one time during your chosen schedule, but a community atmosphere is manifesting. Find out more about living accommodations below.


LODGING - fully furnished rooms and living quarters in a variety of styles that will inspire you or bring out the inner child. Raspberry Residency House is the primary lodging option for the residency program and features 3 private bedrooms, 2 baths, living room kitchen with dining and a laundry room. You can see the donkeys from the rear windows and deck as they graze or when they visit the half-backyard and hang out under the deck. The Lemon Lodge is a larger accommodation available as a travel accommodation or for residencies. The Lodge has two private bedrooms and a loft. It sleeps up to 14. It features a library of art and design books, large gathering spaces and a kitchen. The donkeys corrale out back. Both of those accommodations have front and back deck/porches as well as green space and evolving flower gardens. Plenty of parking too. The far back of the property is the location of the director house which features two additional rooms including an en-suite. This is tucked into a wooded area.

Each space is furnished including bedding and pillows as well as items in kitchen for meals, laundry access, and eco-friendly products (TP, soap and detergent).
Visit the Property Information page for lots of pictures and more details. STUDIOS There are a few structural spaces that offer cover and shelter from the elements, but none of these are completely climate controlled. You may need a fan or use of a heater depending on the season. You also have the wide-open spaces across the camp. Some artists have preferred to work inside the house and have carved out a suitable corner or space that works well with others. Others have needed larger workspace to hang masonite on the wall or be messy with power tools. While those with laptops have so many options including borrowing a tent or a portable chair and finding a quiet nature spot. Wifi works on the 5 acres, but not on the 12 acres. There is a small ceramic studio space and equipment for a darkroom that we are working on into 2022.


This is an emerging program and therefore there is not a substantial foundation or outside fundraising until further notice. However, the affordable rates create a community environment rather than a resort style space. Be a part of something bigger by contributing to the giant art project that the founder has started and hopes to have as an inspiration to all including just casual passersby.

Due to hospitality tax laws monthly rates do not require taxes. Stays that extend past a month, but not a complete month will receive a discount on the extra days beyond 30 which may likely be more than a 30 day prorated amount. All participants must review and sign contract and secure space with $250 deposit ($50 non-refundable).

To receive the discounted rent for the furnished space and access to all of the amenities, each participant commits to approximately 7 hours a week contribution to the care and maintenance of the property which are tasks designed to provide you a break that instigate the a-ha moments or time to reflect on your work. Staying less than 30 days, average daily contribution is about 30-40 minutes. These contributions can include a variety of tasks such as sweeping, touch up painting, help with the animals, gathering kindling, sweeping or raking and more.
RASPBERRY RESIDENCY HOUSE: Single room shared bath - $265 / month Full size bed shared bath - $325 / month (max 2 occupancy) Queen with bunk bed, en suite - $375 / month (max 4 occupancy) plus $50 per extra person/month nightly rates include tax (a night is considered to be a 24 hr period approximately noon to noon no matter what time you arrive. please ask for a late departure). 1-10 days: $36/night (S/F) or $54/night (Q) 11-20 days: $30/night (S/F) or $48/night (Q) 21-29 days: $24/night (S/F) or $42/night(Q) LEMON LODGE - October - May King with twin, en suite - $1000 / month* (max 3 occupancy) Full size bed shared bath - $650 / month (max 2 occupancy) plus $50 per extra person/month Entire lodge sleeps 14 with additional beds in a loft and the pine room. For groups over 5 that want a large space to work, consider renting the entire lodge. $2000/month please inquire about day rates less than 30 days if this is your preferred accommodation LEMON LODGE - June - September
weekly rates. Mon-Sun only arrival/departure times. this reservation is exclusive and blocks the entire lodge from non-residency visitors to the camp King with twin, en suite - $800 / week (max 3 occupancy) Full size bed, hall bath - $600 / week (max 2 occupancy) plus $35 per extra person/night Entire lodge for groups of 5 - $1,000 / week and additional $100 per person up to 14. please inquire about extended week or month rates if this is your preferred accommodation or you have a group or even class you are coordinating. CAMPhaus Director HOUSE
(This is a shared space with cats, office, creative workspace, camp director corner, and occasional volunteer or other resident) Queen with bunk bed, en suite - $375 / month* (max 3 occupancy)
plus $50 per extra person/month Single room shared bath - $265 / month GUESTS: non-participant guests are welcome but must be pre-approved and able to reside in same room at $25 / day per person or the additional room charge is also optional.
Please remember, if you are having a great experience and want to extend your stay less than an additional month, the additional rate is not divided by 30. All rooms will be extended at a $24/day rate except for the King ensuite which is $54/day.


Kiln - $10/firing. add $5 / kiln per additional kiln per firing Hot tub - $15/use or $60 for 5. Inspired by the health and wellness of hot saunas and hot baths while traveling in Japan, an asset like this is essential. Must book ahead of time. Requires showering before use and obey all other posted rules.

Yukata - $5/day . A Yukata is an informal kimono used in Japan sometimes seasonally in the summer as it's made with lighter fabric. More often they are used for evening routines after a bath, hot tub ritual. If you would like to try one out for a day to photograph or lounge in, don't hesitate to ask to see the options brought back from recent trips to Japan. Forest Therapy Guided Session (average 3-3.5 hrs) - complimentary for those staying longer than 7 nights. $45 for 1 person or $25/person for 2 or more.

Ask about other add-on activities like: - Kayak rental - Tent rental - Telescope rental - Antique/Thrifting tour - Yoga class (taught by local instructor) - Cooking lessons or assistance for grocery shopping


The creative space is an organic live/work space and is ever-evolving.

Some people choose to use their private bedroom as a workspace while others may be using the natural environment for plein-air. The following rooms include a desk or small office with desk - king in Lemon Lodge, Queen in Raspberry Residency House, Single in Raspberry and Camp House. Some have chosen to set up an easel in the common living space. Jeremy Blair summer of 2019 used the back deck to test out his mobile darkroom tent.
Studios are not climate controlled. Additional minor fees may apply for electricity or portable propane heater.

Studio 1 - the size of a two car garage with a one car garage door features lots of windows and some work surfaces as well as running water/sink. This is primarily a pottery workshop space, but could be used based on your needs - let's discuss. Painters have used this most often with easels or flat table type surfaces. This also has a loft accessible with a ladder if you want a fun adventure and private space for your easels (long term goals to renovate this and add exterior stairwell, egress).

Studio 2 - approximately 8 x 12 feet freestanding structure close to the Lemon Lodge and donkey zone with a few windows for natural light. Open space with several storage cubbies. The camp cats, Buttercup and Cutey, access this for sleeping and snacks so you must be okay with cat visitors. Drafting table and horizontal workspace. Additional fees may apply for climate control options in the winter.

Studio 3 - a 3-season porch style room with 3 walls as full windows give tons of natural light and observation of nature at the Lemon Lodge. Features tables with chairs. Studio 4 - approximately 5 x 10 area in a barn type structure with worksurfaces, electric outlets, a bandsaw and space to be really messy.

Exhibition space, practice space, larger studio space in the local town of Hohenwald will open sometime in 2022. If you are seeking a final presentation of your work or to teach a workshop, this will be the spot located in central town adjacent to the elephant sanctuary!
Subscribe and stay tuned!


Food during your stay is not included, but as the garden grows there will be some substantial community sustenance provided. Please note that eating healthy is part of the underlying philosophy of the space so we frown on soda and other junk food. Help your brain by working in the garden.

If you are interested in coordinating cooking lessons or some meals provided, please inquire with the application.

You may want to bring your own pillow or favorite blanket for the comfort of home even though the space is furnished.
Anything you need to complete your work in terms of tools and supplies is not included, however you may request use of our basic tools from the essentials of screwdrivers or staple guns to drills, small band saw to chainsaw as we slowly develop a shop and ceramic studio.

Transportation not included.


This is a rural area and the closest civilization in a town is 25 minute drive. This takes planning if you do not have a vehicle. If you need assistance from the airport, please inquire and this can be coordinated. If you do not have a vehicle and need pick-up at the Nashville International Airport (BNA) or the bus station in Nashville, please coordinate this with Val. Note that the airport is a 2 hour drive so it's important to approve your flight plans before purchasing to make sure we aren't having to leave in the middle of the night. For those staying 7 days or less, each trip either pick-up or drop-off is $80. Pick up includes a stop at one grocery store on the way to the camp. Additional assistance with grocery shopping if it's a special trip, please consider donating $15 of your deposit per trip. Additional errands on day of pick up or drop off is $20/hr. For those staying longer than 7 days, each trip either pick up or drop off is $60 with additional errands beyond the one grocery store stop at $20/hr. Please consider donating $15/per outing of your deposit for any special trips during your stay unless there are already plans to go to the grocery store, for example.

Interested in coordinating a program for your college course? Let's chat! Can comfortable accommodate up to 20 and assist in coordinating aspects of your itinerary in the community.

Check out all of the things you can do in the area. If you would like to coordinate any of these without your own vehicle, please inquire about logistics.



This is an organic gigantic art project and the Raspberry Residency House has numerous spots to leave your mark such as a doodle on the kitchen cabinet, a mural on an interior or exterior wall, a quote on the closet door and more ideas. Each longer term participant is asked to leave/donate one piece of their creative work which could be an installation, sculpture, mural, 2D art, literary production, video, or something you make on the property.

If you have selected our site for seed generation, ideation, or exploration, your contribution could be as simple as a quote left for us to display or an image of your sketches or other brainstorming documentation.

Before departure, Val will interview you on your work and progress you've made. Check out what others have created in the blog.


Need assistance in documenting your work?

Want formal or informal critique?

Want assistance in revamping or starting your portfolio website, behance page, LinkedIn profile or maybe a printed book/mag format of your work?

Collaborate with founder/director Val who is also a graphic designer, photographer, and storyteller. As the founder and director, she desires to interact with creatives at various levels of their careers from youth and budding artists in college or not, and those with years of experience. As a creative contemplative person, the founder and director Val Sloan understands wholeheartedly that it takes time to develop a body of work and created this center for the environment that offers a variety of opportunities for creatives in all disciplines.

As a former graphic design educator, Val has always been inspired by the guild movements of Arts & Crafts and the Bauhaus as an anti-academic institution. She has walked away from a tenured professor position (2018) in order to pursue this new dream and sees the future environment of education along with the arts drastically changing. She's excited to meet creative people from all walks of life at whatever place/stage you are exploring as paths cross at the camp.


Before residencies can be fully funded by grants, she wants to develop an exchange relationship with participants and residents whereby she will document your work. If you are an environmental artist and choose to visit seasonally to analyze, install, and inspect work as nature impacts it, Val will be your partner in that documentation. Ask about how you can obtain a finished product of a print publication, digitized document or web site as you discuss your needs with her individually.



Val has spent her career in education from 1995 to 2018 and has spent countless hours in the creative process and critique. Excellent at asking questions and creating a dialogue between people to critically analyze. The hope is that over meals or while participant retreats overlap these engagements between different people, from different backgrounds and different disciplines will be beneficial for all.

Leave something behind - rationale & details -

Each participant, depending on length of stay, will be asked to contribute to the community and growth of the camp facilities in areas such as general maintenance, cooking or prep for group meals, basic housing upkeep, physical activities in the garden, marking new trails in the woods or identifying a good work zone, and as the farm grows help with chickens and other animals.

things to consider



This deserves a longer conversation with Val and her reasons on why she chose this particular area out of options around the country. The short answer includes the philosophy of creative process in a nature immersion. Additionally, out of all the places that one may decide to go, Val had previously lived in Nashville in the early 2000s and really just loved the tie between urban and rural. This is a very special place. You can feel the energy here. Creativity is bubbling with each and every person that passes through. The terrain and the seasons are suitable for an escape that emphasizes a nature immersion.


Tennessee has 8 different geological zones and this area features a really lovely rolling hill terrain. This Highland Rim around the basin where Nashville is located features levels of churt, then sandstone, then limestone. A volcanic eruption a very long time ago means there are remnants of other materials you may find at the river bed as well as the possibility of finding fossils. This particular zone is in the Buffalo River watershed.


In 2021, emerging from the last 4 years plus a pandemic may have you a bit on edge. Ask Val about why she decided to move to a rural location as an educated former professor who leans liberal. In the meantime, please consider that stereotypes are stereotypes and what we've seen lately is an entire nation dealing with issues of racial, social, gender injustice. Being isolated has extreme advantages. There are 3 houses in the distant visibility that stay to themselves. Going into town you will see diversity - economic and racial.

Please make sure that you have been managing the coronavirus with proper protocol of mask wearing and social distancing. It would be helpful to have a negative covid test prior to arrival or mention your vaccination status, but we should talk if there are issues. You are not required to wear a mask on the entire property. The rooms provide good privacy and social distance, but we must remember there may be others around and have the courtesy to each other. Please follow the CDC guidelines.


The site of this residency in a rural location with limited cell phone service is intentional. However, it's recognized how important it is to be connected for those who are working. Please check back or inquire about your specific needs. Unfortunately, broadband hasn't made it to the doorstep yet but it's apparently on the way hopefully by end of summer 2021 or into the fall.

Working on a variety of tech solutions including a cell phone signal booster. If that works, there's a possibility that internet can be unlimited or you can use your own phone as a hotspot.

The internet is a satellite. Having a unicorn plan the data limit is high but can be reached quickly depending on the type of work. Iphones have hidden settings and tend to vampire data so please be mindful. Facetime is not recommended so please use other video alternatives. Typically if data limits are reached, internet still works normally during the day and goes slow after 7pm. If there are many devices it may slow down too. Uploading or downloading content may be challenging. If you have lots of video to upload or are using cloud based software, this may be an issue.

Please contact Val to describe your internet needs prior to organizing your residency.


  • no smoking
  • no vaping
  • no drugs, please... (cbd ok, please inquire about other habits)
  • alcohol, please limit use... (closest liquor store is 25 min drive. social or casual use of alcohol is okay. anyone who is drinking excessively will be asked to leave).
  • no shoes inside. please bring slippers (some complimentary slippers available)
  • recycling. some materials are kept on site to use for future projects. if you are looking for glass, bottles, jars, cans, please ask.
  • salvage materials. you'll find scrap here but also numerous salvage and thrift type spots in reasonable driving distance.
  • no guns or weapons. even though you may hear gun shots in the distance, please refrain from bringing any such weapon to ensure the safety and comfort of all.
  • quiet hours are 11pm-8am
Please make sure to read the detailed contract for all of the policies, terms, and conditions.

need more information on groceries and other local interest? check out this page.