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sabbatical up to 4 months stay


Are you questioning your art, education or career life in post pandemic world?

Are you seeking a safe place to rediscover or redirect your creative path?

Are you yearning to contribute to a meaningful art community endeavor?

Are you looking for a solid chunk of time to create while making connections to others and the land?

Sabbaticals are not necessarily exclusive to academics so this is a perfect place for those looking for a professional reboot or a formal sabbatical experience in a shared space with a former Graphic Design professor (more than 20 years of teaching and curriculum development experience who is also great at life coaching).

Spend up to 4 months in the cat and camphaus to have a full immersion experience. You are assigned the private ensuite - Queen with twin bunk bed.

Only one longer term sabbatical style resident at a time, although there may be others in residency up to a month in other rooms on the property.

A great opportunity if you:

  • recently received tenure and ready to really sink into your personal creative research

  • are ready to quit your job and revise your design or art portfolio as you figure out how to switch lanes.

  • ​recently graduated with a BFA, MFA, or PhD and need a few more months to work on portfolio, a specific intensive project or body of work for a future exhibit, and/or the applications to grad programs or formal positions

  • are working on an extensive project like a novel or a solo exhibition

Camp Wonder Wander poster with words Lost and Found

schedule based on academic calendar -

January to April

May to August

September to December

Did the pandemic leave you in a state of impermanence where you may be yearning for the time to settle into a routine for your practice while being hands on in a nature retreat farm environment? Are you concerned about climate change and want a chance to connect to nature more intentionally as a personal shift into the future? Are you ready to put the social media away to be able to reconnect to a simpler life that is still available, but may only feel nostalgic right now?

Escape to a happy nature oasis where time is flexible and life's demands are organic. Have a dream to live short term in a cat cafe? You will love the friendly rescues and strays who want lap cat time.

Spend ONE to FOUR MONTHS in an evolving live/work residency retreat environment where your art practice can thrive and you'll enrich the landscape and retreat with your ingenuity and physical activity. Be a part of the longer ebb and flow as creative people interested in nature looking for the pit stop between your past and your future. Watch how nature can change in an instant and definitely daily with more or less minutes of daylight. Spend time away from normal doom-scrolling distractions and go for walks to just notice what you are noticing.

Be a part of the sprouting of a unique residency established and managed by a multi-faceted artist (former graphic design professor) who has chosen to walk away from the h.o.v. lane to forge a metaphorical unpaved path in the rural rolling hills of Tennessee. One may consider this better than a post-bacc or even grad option. One may consider this as the space between life as an educator and life as an arts entrepreneur or other endeavor. If interested, Val is able to be a coach and mentor.

The live/work space is fully furnished and creatively decorated to encourage your immersive mind-wandering. You'll reside in the camphaus (a Queen ensuite) and participate in the shared economy communal aspect of the residency program. One RV spot is available for those who have transitioned to nomadic camper life.

Start and end dates are negotiable based on availability. If there are certain life circumstances affecting your plans, definitely reach out to discuss.

Camp Wonder Wander woodstove fire burning


For those that are using your pandemic experience as a catalyst for change, this long term residency of 1 to 4 months is an opportunity to travel slowly in an alternative lane, sometimes forging your own unpaved path to the future with several others of like mind, drive, and determination.

Nature should probably be your muse, inspiration, collaborator, or co-conspirator.


History has given us numerous movements including the anti-academic Bauhaus which we can channel in our own unique way as a random group coming together for a common cause of camaraderie in uncertain times.

What would you do surrounded by nature and animals where you can see the stars on a clear moonless night, watch the pace of nature in going slow, wander into the bamboo grove or sit by the lazy Buffalo river, listen to variety of sounds from birds to wind, smell the earth after rain, and follow the seasons into a new year?

The guild movements of Arts & Crafts along with the Bauhaus can be an inspiration for an eclectic group in this camphaus process. Application will include an interview via zoom to ensure that personalities will all jive.



EMBRACE A PHILOSOPHY OF WONDER WANDERING. Engage in Forest Therapy and all that comes with an escape into a rural location 20 minutes from civilization (with only a few neighbors in visual distance). When would you have time to stare at a snail for more than 10 minutes or intentionally embrace happy accidents in your own craft? An introduction to the land will be a complimentary Forest Therapy session with Val, certified by ANFT.

Being physically active on the land can nourish your spirit and help you in your creative pursuits. Take a walk whenever you want. Visit the donkeys. Talk to the chickens. Hang out with the tripod Pyrenees. Let your mind wander as you wonder about whatever you notice in the landscape.

"Expect three main benefits from nature: restoration, contemplation and inspiration. All of them are crucial for creative leaders. Nature restores us. It gives us physical and emotional health—when it comes to stress relief, breathing fresh air is as close to medicine as you can get. Being in the mountains or near the ocean directly affects our health in a good way. After just 20 minutes in a natural setting, our levels of cortisol, which is a stress indicator, decrease significantly." for the full article click here to read "The outdoors prescription: how nature ignites creativity" by Kate Inglis

Scientific reasons support the philosophy and methodology of the Sarasvati Creative Space at Camp Wonder Wander. Learn more: NPR's On Point with Tom Ashcroft original airing July 24, 2015.

Tips for an aging brain include Be Social!, Engage in New Experiences that challenge your way of thinking and allow for sense of Wonder, Don't Multitask - put the phones away, Eat Healthy Real Food.... and more in a delightful conversation.


"Take two hours of pine forest and call me in the morning" also discusses the need to put away phones and get into nature to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and more.


No more than one person in this sabbatical style residency at any time.


Must not be allergic to cats because you'll live in a private room in the Camphaus which is fully furnished and creatively designed. You have access to living and dining/kitchen area.


Option to join in the group dinners if there are other residency people on site.

Priority will be given to those who have a definitive creative practice that is articulated in formal ways - a body of work, an approved sabbatical project by your institution, a goals statement in lieu of a sabbatical project as to what you would be working on during your time.

This longer term situation requires a commitment to possibly a different way of life:

- best for people who use daylight hours to either explore the natural surroundings or do your work. If you are a night owl with your creative time after midnight, that's great, but that's not a good fit here. This place is great to sink into a sleeping pattern and circadian rhythm where you can find a great flow.

- be relatively healthy in your food choices. willingness to share the kitchen and also have your own small refrigerator includes helping to wash dishes and keep the kitchen tidy as well as composting and separating your trash. Be honest in your application and if you are more likely to eat junk food, processed food, microwave meals, this may not be a good place for you. There are some items that are not allowed to be cooked including bacon and other super smelly things. Must not leave food open overnight or 

- interest in learning or contributing to the garden and other weird land maintenance stuff that may come up like loading trash to be taken to the landfill, sorting recycling (you can even use the upcycle pile for your projects), picking up sticks or raking leaves.

- not required to spend every night socializing, but it's possible to have interesting conversations - even about your work. Random conversations may occur about your current work or even just current events. Maybe movies or social over meals.

- be willing to significantly reduce your interest in normal society and regular habits such as restaurants, fast food, social media, coffee shops, or even regular trips (more than once a week) to socialize in Nashville or other places. Should be focusing on your work and research, rather than a remote work and pitstop to think about relocating scenario.

- no alcohol (or extremely limited), no weapons, no smoking, no drugs, no vaping, sorry no pets (cats inside and dogs outside plus the chickens, etc.)

- not allergic at all to cats

- room is completely furnished including some artwork so you will not be able to bring your own stuff - no personal furniture, etc to fill up the space, no moving things around or storing things you don't want to look at. The room has a private bathroom and has been slightly rearranged from one of the photos below. Bring your personal clothes and items, but don't pack to move into an empty apartment.

On the application, please declare any accessibility needs, general food preferences, and any other personal information you are willing to share that will help evaluate the fit. For example, those with diagnosed ADHD and Seasonal Affective Disorder have not done well at this remote rural location so it's important that your own health and wellness is a priority in figuring out if this really is a good fit.

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