2010-11 VANS Mentorship program on retreat

July 29, 2011 – From July 8 – 10, 2011, the 2010-11 VANS Mentorship Program participants and VANS personnel went to Windhorse Farms in New Germany, NS for a program retreat-intensive.

Windhorse Farms is a unique community providing group accommodation, workshop facilities, meditation instruction, recreational activity, all in an effort to encourage reflective work in a nurturing, natural environment.

Overall, the retreat offered an opportunity for current program participants, Ruth Marsh, Kyle Cunjak, Matthew Carswell and mentors Cathy Busby and Adrian Fish (Melinda Spooner was unavailable), to intensively reflect on and share their experiences in the program as well as their professional practices, goals and resources. Susan Gibson Garvey provided a supportive space, asking critical questions through a facilitated group discussion; such questions included, “how do you define success?”

Unlike previous programs and group meetings, the retreat-intensive provided focused time, the sharing of resources and knowledge among the whole group as well as time to consider more advanced strategies and practices for participants once the program is complete.

In addition, the retreat offered time for respite in sitting and walking meditation (through old growth forests), saunas and swimming in the lake and canoe rides as well as nurturance through delectable meals prepared by Becky Welter-Nolan, VANS Programming Coordinator. Getting time away from general day-to-day responsibilities, generally allows for added reflection and insight, VANS saw the retreat-intensive as a critical way to enrich and further support the professional development of program participants. Please visit our website, to view additional pictures.

During the retreat, program participants mapped out a collaborative artist book project. The book titled x2: 2010-11 VANS Mentorship Program will be on view at the program exhibition (same title as book) August 25 – September 3, 2011 at Eyelevel Gallery. Join us at the Opening Reception on Friday, August 26th, 2011 at 7pm. The book is also available for purchase or for viewing at Blurb.com.

The 2010-11 Mentorship Program Retreat was made possible through a Professional Development grant available to Small Organizations through the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

Since 2006, the VANS Mentorship Program has tailored to meet individual artistic concerns, concepts, working methods and ambitions for emerging artists. By investing intensely in a few individuals, for the last 4 years, the VANS Mentorship Program continues to contribute on a wider scale to the overall strength, sustainability and vibrancy of the visual arts community in Nova Scotia.

The VANS Mentorship Program is supported through the RBC Foundation and the Craig Foundation.


Please visit the VANS Mentorship program,  for more general information or contact:

Becky Welter-Nolan
Programming Coordinator
Visual Arts Nova Scotia
1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS B3H 4P7
t:902.423.4694    1.866.225.8267   f:902.422.0881

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