SMAC 2022 Annual Artist Retreat


Did you miss our annual Artist Retreat in 2020 and 2021? It’s finally back! On May 6th & 7th join artists from across Southwest Minnesota for 1 & 1/2 days of networking and arts inspiration. Workshop sessions are being created to appeal to artists of many disciplines.

The retreat will be held at Danebod Folk School in Tyler, MN for a “get-away” learning atmosphere. Overnight accommodations will be available, but not required; you can choose to come for one or both days! Watch for updates through our emails, social media (Facebook & Instagram) and our website.

Register here!

Deadline to register is April 29, 2022

Workshop Topics Include*:

*You only have to 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! 

View pdf schedule

Friday, May 6

  • Collaborative Mural Painting (and Canvas Painting) with Bobbie Alsgaard-Lien. Friday, May 6, 1-5:30 pm (session 1 &2; there will be a scheduled break).
    Participants in this workshop will create a collaborative mural painting for the SW Minnesota Arts Council. This mural will be exhibited in the Arts Councils Marshall office upon completion. Each attendee will have an opportunity to create a canvas painting of their mural image to take home and add to their art collection.


  • Write your own Personal Myth with Saara Myrene Raappana. Friday, May 6, 1-2:45 pm.
    Legends, myths, and fairy tales often get lumped together, but a myth, specifically, is a piece of folklore that explains an early history or natural phenomenon. From the origin myths of societies or superheros to the stories we tell about where grandma got her recipe for apple pie, myths play a big role in all of our lives. In this session, you’ll learn more about myths in history and contemporary culture. Then you’ll be guided through the development of your own myth using a combination of fantastical characters, your own personal history, and your imagination. You’ll also receive guidelines to take that myth home and polish it into a refined draft; and replicate the process at home in order to begin or enhance your writing practice.


  • Nature Mandalas with Mary Jo Schimpelfenig. Friday, May 6, 1-2:45 pm.
    Description: Nature Mandalas are a form of art using natural objects, such as flower blossoms, petals, leaves, feathers, pebbles, twigs, pinecones, berries, bark, seed pods acorns, etc.  I will have many natural items that you can use, but we will also go for a treasure hunt and collect nature items around the Folk School. There is no right or wrong way to make a nature mandala, you play with items of nature and make a beautiful creation. It is ephemeral, temporary, but we can take a picture of it for you to keep. Get ready to have some fun, but be forewarned, “Making Nature Mandalas” is addictive!! P.S. You can also bring some of the stones, shells, feathers you have collected over the years.


  • Muévete!! Merengue Rhythm with Purpose Artisans (John Salgado Maldonado & Nicole Arnhold). Friday, May 6, 4:30-5:30 pm.
    Learn the basics of this Latin dance. Moving the body has the power to connect with your energy and express yourself. Come practice with a South American instructor. No experience needed, for all levels and abilities


  • “Cartoon You” with Krystl Louwagie. Friday, May 6, 3-5:30 pm.
    Are you curious about making your own comics, but don’t know where to start? How about with what you know best: you! In this introductory session, artist Krystl Louwagie will supply exercises to help you visualize how you can make your own cartoon version of yourself (or those close to you). You don’t have to have traditional drawing skills, just an open mind and the right tools (have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously)!


Saturday, May 7

  • “Cozy Mystery” writing session with M.E. Fuller. Saturday, May 7, 9:15 am – 12:30 pm (with break included).
    Description: “How To Write a Cozy Mystery (and anything else)”: Open the door to your imagination as we expose secrets of murder, mystery, mayhem, and all manner of suspense! Writing sprints and discussion will get you thinking in mysterious ways plus plotting tips will help you keep readers engaged.  Fun for all skill levels. What to expect: writing sprints & discussion. What to bring: paper/pen or pencil (use of laptops is discouraged!)


  • “Jumping off the Coloring Book to the Mandala” with Monica Villars (15 student limit, sign up with registration). Saturday, May 7, 9:15 am-10:45 am.
    Participants will be guided to create a multi-circle design on black illustration board using repetitive shapes. Colored pencils & gel pens will be used to fill in and/or blend the shapes. All materials will be provided but you may want to bring your own pens & pencils to use as well. The class is designed for beginning artists but also allows for more complex designs for those artists that want more of a challenge. (Participants may need extended class time.)


  • “Putting the Play in Place! Celebrating Rural Stories through Site-Specific Theater “ with Ashley Hanson. Saturday, May 7, 9:15-10:45 am.
    Join Ash Hanson, Director of PlaceBase Productions – a site-specific theater company that celebrates small town life – for an interactive workshop about community engagement, storytelling, play and place. Participants will learn about the PlaceBase methodology through examples of past projects, gain skills in developing original community-driven storytelling / theater productions staged in significant spaces, and be invited to engage in theater and writing exercises to co-create a short piece. No experience necessary!


  • Drum Up Your Community by Purpose Artisans of Willmar (John Salgado Maldonado & Nicole Arnhold). Saturday, May 7, 11 am – 12:30 pm.

    Experience your community through drumming and have a sense of belonging. Basic skills will be taught and the opportunity to flow with the people around you. No prior drumming experience needed, for all levels. Drums and instruments will be provided.


  • Eco-Print Scarf Dyeing with Kerry Kolke Bonk (class limit 12, sign up with registration) Saturday, May 7, 11-12 pm (Session 1 of 2; second session is 2:30-3:30 pm)
    “Eco Printing – an Introduction”  This class is for those who want to learn how to print onto a natural fabric using nature itself.  Students will end up with a finished silk scarf to take home.  To participate in this class, you will come to the first session to learn how to lay out/roll the leaves onto the scarf…Kerry will then steam the scarves to be unrolled and rinsed when you come back for the second session.  All supplies will be provided but if you want to bring your own leaves…Oak, Maple, Rose and Black Walnut print well…just be sure to keep them flat.  (Between magazine pages works well for a few days.)


  • E-Z Cut Printmaking with Brad Hall and assistant Krystl Louwagie. Saturday, May 7, 1:30-3 pm.
    (15 student limit, sign up with registration)
    Description: “E-Z Cut Printmaking”: Learn to carve on easy cut & linoleum blocks. Create a 5×7 and print it. All materials are provided. Don’t know what to make? Don’t worry! The instructor will bring a variety of design ideas.
    This is a beginner level class intended to introduce people to the art of linoleum block printing.


  • Ceili Dance with Jess Robinson. Saturday, May 7, 1:30-3 pm.
    Originating in the 1500’s, Irish Ceili (pronounced “kay-lee) Dancing is a traditional form of native Irish folk dance. These are considered social dances, meaning you dance with a partner rather than modern “Riverdance” solo-style dancing. You will learn three Ceili dances including Reels, Jigs, and Long or “Round” dances. We will shuffle, hop, tap, and stamp to Irish Folk Music, so preschoolers to senior citizens are welcome. You do not need a partner to participate, and no experience is necessary. Come explore generations-old set dancing!


  • Southwest Minnesota Arts Council and Minnesota State Arts Board Grant Opportunities for Artists & Needs Assessment with SMAC Staff. Saturday, May 7, 3:30-5 pm.

BONUS: Our SMAC Arty Party for Lincoln County will take place in Tyler at the Danebod Gymnasium from 7-8:30 pm on May 6th, the first evening of our Artist Retreat as part of our festivities! The Arty Party will be a free event open to all. Enjoy performances from the “Lake Benton Opera House Meets Broadway – Redux”! Performers from the Lake Benton Opera House show will each perform multiple Broadway tunes, with breaks in between for networking. Current performances are scheduled from: Aubree Cheadle, Jenna Kor, and siblings Ben & Katherine Kulm!

PLUS: PIZZA PARTY! Pizza and salad will be provided by the Kronborg Inn of Tyler, as well as a cash-bar. 

This will be the 9th county Arty Party hosted by SMAC out of our 18 counties! Like the other Arty Party’s, we’ll have arts entertainment, some tasty treats, and opportunities for networking with artists and arts supporters. SMAC staff will be available to connect with attendees and get the word out about who SMAC is, what we do, and what services and assistance we can offer for our communities.


  • Friday afternoon only: $15 for workshops & meals*
  • Saturday only: $15 for workshops & meals*
  • $30 total for both days of workshops*
  • Overnight Lodging-Private Room: $35
  • Overnight Lodging-Shared Room: $20
  • Overnight Lodging-Private room with bath: $70 

*Attendees outside SMAC Region: $25/day ($50 total for both days)

Food will be catered in from The Country House of Lake Benton.

Register here!

Deadline to register is April 29, 2022

Schedule (View PDF Schedule)

Friday, May 6:
12-1 pm, Check in/Room assignments
Light lunch available. Held in Dining Hall Basement.

1-2:45 pm, Session #1 Workshops
Mural Painting/Nature Mandalas/Write your own Personal Myth

2:45-3 pm, Snack/Break

3-5:30 pm, Session #2 Workshops
Cartoon You/Mural Painting Continued/Merengue Dance (4:30-5:30)

5:30-7 pm, Supper Provided

7-8:30 pm, SMAC Lincoln County Arty Party!
(free and open to the public) Performance from the Lake Benton Opera House

Open Evening:
Open Mic in the basement
Open Art in the library

Saturday, May 7:
8-9 am, Registration for Saturday-only Attendees & Breakfast
Held in Dining Hall  Basement

9 am, Welcome (Held in Dining Room)

9:15-10:45 am, Session #3 Workshops
How to Write A Cozy Mystery/Community Theatre/Mandala Drawing

10:45-11 am, Break & Networking

11 am-12:30 pm, Session #4 Workshops
Eco-Print Scarf Dyeing (Session 1) /How to Write a Cozy Mystery Continued/Community Drumming/Mandala Drawing Continued

12:30-1:30 pm Lunch (Dining Room)

1:30-3 pm, Session #5 Workshops
Eco-Print Scarf Dyeing (Session 2) (2:30-3:30 pm)/Ceili Dance/E-Z Printmaking

3-3:30 pm, Snack & Networking

3:30-5 pm, Session #6 Workshop
Grant Opportunities for Artists & Needs Assessment



Nicole DeBoer
Southwest Minnesota Arts Council
800-622-5284  or 800-622-5284


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