SW MN Arts Council 2024 Artist Retreat

Join artists from across Southwest Minnesota for 1 1/2 days of networking and arts inspiration on May 3 & 4, 2024. Workshop sessions have been created to appeal to artists of all disciplines; register for one or both days. The workshops will be held at Danebod Folk School in Tyler, MN for a “get-away learning atmosphere.

Danebod Folk School
140 Danebod Court, Tyler, MN 56178
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May 03, 2024 12:00pm – May 04, 2024 05:00pm

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Friday afternoon/evening, May 3 and all-day Saturday, May 4. You may choose to attend just Friday, or just Saturday… or join us for the entire event along with overnight lodging at the historic Danebod Folk School.  Overnight accommodations will be available, but not required.


  • -Friday afternoon only: $20 for workshops & meals*
  • -Saturday only: $20 for workshops & meals*
  • -$40 total for both days
  • -Overnight Lodging-Private Room: $35
  • -Overnight Lodging-Private room with private bath: $75 (SOLD OUT)

*Attendees living outside SMAC Region: $30/day

Registration deadline: April 26, 2024


 **Registration is limited to the first 60 people**


(We will be filling in class descriptions as we get them)

FRIDAY May 3rd, 2024

12-1 pm: Check in/Room assignments/Light Lunch (Held in Dining Hall/Basement)


  • “A School of Fish” Reverse Acrylic Painting with Kathleen Marihart (*Class limited to 14 participants) (3-hour class is from 1-4 pm)
    • Class description:

      The simple and magical shapes of fish are created by using the technique of painting in reverse using acrylic paint. Students will start out creating an abstract painting, use mark making technique, paint in reverse and use light and shadow to create depth. Students will have the choice to paint simple fish and have a completed painting in about two hours or learn the basics of using light and shadow to create fish with more dimension taking around three hours. 


      Kathleen will instruct the students regarding color blending, mark making, reverse painting as well as creating light and shadow on canvas. Students will have the opportunity to work on their canvas using these painting techniques. Students will leave the class with a completed painting. 

  • Handbuilding with Clay with Sarah Bednarek (option for this class to take up both sessions on Friday, 1 pm-5 pm)
    • Class description:

      Come, join me in an open-studio style session to learn about handbuilding techniques that have been around for thousands of years!  Whether you’re an experienced ceramicist or a beginner, this session is fun for all ages and abilities! 

      I will offer demonstrations throughout the session of slab, coil and pinch building with air-dry clay.  I will teach you the “rules” of clay that help you produce a successful piece. Stay as long as you like and enjoy trying simple tools, and using your hands to create your own container that you can take with you! 

  • The Way of the Masters: The picture book as structure and poem / how to learn from mentor texts with Daniel Bernstrom (3-5 pm)
    • Class description: As Stephen King famously said, good writers write and good writers read. But how does one read? Reading as a writer is the untold secret of writing. In this lesson, learn how to read as a writer, find universal story structures, unpack patterns, and extract the devices children’s book writers use to tell unforgettable stories. 
  • Needle Felting with Kristen Brichler (*Class limited to 15 participants) (class Friday from 3-6 pm and continued from 9:15-10:45 am on Saturday)
    • Class description: Learn to create unique and textured 2D art using only wool felt and barbed needles! This course will introduce participants to the basics of creating a 2D felt “painting”, using a variety of needle types and wool colors. Participants will have the opportunity to play with the texture and colors of dyed wool to bring their art to life with an art form that has opportunities for beginner and advanced artists alike. 
  • Photographic Alchemy Workshop with Jessica Stölen (3-5 pm)
    • Class description: An exploration of creative expression utilizing tools in our environment to produce unique photos. During the workshop, attendees will depart from traditional, formulaic approaches in favor of more exploratory methods surrounding the act of creating. The group will engage in a brief discussion period before heading into a hands-on experience, photographing utilizing the discussion skills with a model. This immersive experience will cover topics of natural light methods, guiding posing with inexperienced models, and utilizing what’s in your environment to create

((More classes may be added))

2:45-3 pm: Snacks/break

5-6 pm: break

6-7:30 pm: Supper Provided


Enjoy the music of Betsy Pardick and Tim Pehrson — Open to the Public! (7:30-8:15 pm)

8:15 pm Networking with fellow artists at your leisure

Continuing evening options of:

  • Open Mic in the basement of the school
  • Open Visual art (Folk School sunny porch)

SATURDAY, May 4th, 2024

8-9 am: Registration for Saturday-only attendees/Breakfast

9 am: Welcome (Held in Dining Room/Basement)


  • Canvas Creations Open Class with limited instruction (9:15-10:45 am)
    • Class description: SMAC will provide supplies like canvas bags and canvas boards and various art supplies to let participants get creative on their own!
  • Fiddling for Beginners with Darlene Schroeder (CLASS IS FULL)*Class limited to 5 participants – instrument provided) )(11 am – 12:30 pm)
    • Class description:

      This is a “hands-on” workshop.  We’ll be learning a bit about the violin and the bow.  We’ll also learn a fiddle tune.  The only rule in this session is to “have fun.” Instructor  Darlene Schroeder is the Music Director of Sunburg Community Music comprised of 45+ fiddlers and other musicians ages 3 – 86. 

  • Choral Singing with Reggie Gorter (11 am – 12:30 pm)
  • Zine Making Magic with Brian Paco, Oak Kelsey & Josh Tedrick (11 am – 3 pm with break for lunch)
  • Community Painting with acrylics (Latisha Wade) (1:30-3 pm)
    • Class description: Everyone can paint… everyone. Painting within a group allows for good conversation and promotes ideas and inspiration. In this class you’ll experience working with gouache (“opaque watercolor”) and/or acrylic paint for this easy entry session. 
  • The Creative Process & You with Maria Novak (1:30-3 pm)
    • Class description: Join visual and stage artist Maria Novak in this exploration of the creative process. Define creativity in yourself and practice a wide variety of skills to help you tell the story of your own artistic journey through theatrical interpretation. Participants will walk away feeling more confident in their ability to share about themselves in an informative and engaging way. 
  • Grants for Artists with Nicole DeBoer (1:30-3 pm)
  • Show & Tell networking/sharing (3:30-5 pm)

10:45-11 am: Break and network with other attendees

12:30-1:30 pm: Lunch provided (Dining Room/Basement)

3-3:30 pm: Snacks & more networking

Register Now!       

**Registrations is limited to the first 60 people**       

*During registration you only have to specifically register for classes that have a limited size; for the others, as long as your registered for the retreat, just plan to show up for your class of choice on the day of! 


This activity is funded, in part, by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from its arts and cultural heritage fund that was created by vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.


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