We are all artists or creators in some shape or form. Who doesn’t have dreams and visions to make something happen or materialize? When we are in “the zone” of inspiration, we lose all sense of time and are at our happiest. It’s strange that most people don’t make space in their lives to be creative; when artistic creation becomes something we do only during our spare time, it means we don’t do what we most love nearly enough.
Imagine going somewhere which puts creativity as its number one priority. We have scanned the globe and found 8 Workaway hosts which offer distinct artistic opportunities in different parts of the world: Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, Oceania and the Middle East. These are initiatives which are sure to inspire you and rejuvenate your artist’s soul: circus and theatre, script writing and film-making, interior design and decorative painting, sculpture, music and dance.
Asia: A passage to India and the city of dreams
Take your imagination onto a whole new level by turning your wildest dreams into something tangible!
Mumbai, previously Bombay, is the birthplace of Indian cinema and home to the Bollywood industry. Where’s better than to collaborate with workaway host Amrit, film maker and creative writer? It is a place of extremes and contrasts, the Indian city with the highest proportion of millionaires, but with also one of the largest slums in the world (Dharavi). It has left a marked impression on so many authors and producers. In Amrit’s words, “magnetic Mumbai is known as a busy city, and a city full of dreams to live and fulfil. So you can have the best of the city has to offer in art, theater, movies, poor, rich, culture, food, and of course party! 🙂 It’s like a country in one city you find no where else in the world.”
Let India work her charm on you as only she knows how to!
Europe: Once upon a time in fairytale land
A flight of fancy made reality at a fairytale castle by the river which could have been dreamed up by the brothers Grimm…
Head to the fine wine region of Mosel, Germany this autumn and use your creative flair and fantasy to add to its shabby chic charm. This multi-national team needs artists to paint baroque and “Jungendsil” art nouveau inspired designs on the walls and ceilings and to upholster chairs with velvet, in preparation for becoming a hotel this winter. The national treasure was in ruins and now that it is back in shape it is ready to be dressed for the occasion.
Let yourself be surrounded by vineyards and good food; sip a glass of Reisling and let the breathtaking house and grounds inspire you to adorn it as it deserves.
North America: Creative musician and artist hippie haven
Steer clear of the hustle bustle of New York and instead feel the peace and love and musical vibes of the Hopatcong lakeside artist community in NW New Jersey, which follows an early 60’s hippie commune lifestyle. There are often bands, musicians, artists, and writers in residence. Other guests are international and domestic travellers. “There is a real community vibe here and most of all, we want everybody to have FUN and LIVE IN HARMONY!” say hosts Mercedes and Andrew. “We’re looking for positive people with a peaceful vibe.
Musicians are welcome and preferred. If you want to learn an instrument, there are lots of instruments to play with. As part of the exchange they are happy to coach you and give you the experience of playing in a band. Share your melodies and passion for music and enjoy jamming in their full music rehearsal studio. For other artists there are many light and bright areas for drawing and painting too. They do lots of crafts, including decoupage, tie dye, crochet, furniture upcycling, and lots of other craft supplies to make the most of.
The mood here is good for meditation or creativity (writing, playing music, drawing, etc.). Is there a more ideal place to relax and unwind and let those creative juices flow?
Central America: A travelling artist’s favourite retreat space
San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala is a small vibrant community of foreigners living in a village of approximately 3000 Mayan indigenous people. This is an idyllic place in a spectacular setting where you can go swimming in the lake, hike in the hills, nearby villages or waterfalls or even enjoy a night-time temascal (Mayan sauna).
This transformational retreat at Lake Atitlán is looking for all types of creative input. Greg, the organizer, explains that the retreat space is designed to support personal growth in multiple inspirational ways: yoga, acroyoga, dance, cacao ceremonies, teacher trainings, etc. They are looking for artistic talent in a number of fields, needing bloggers/writers, photographers and artists. The principal theme to be explored is space, which includes travel, adventure and transformation! “Come with an open heart, ready to fly, make dreams come true and manifest new dreams…” Now doesn’t that sound exactly what a travelling artist is looking for?
South America: A vibrant jungle centre in San Martin, Peru
Jungles often portray mystery, fear, wonder and exoticism. Head for the deepest darkest Peru and let Chazuta on the edge of the Amazon basin lure you in and stimulate your imagination!
A village famous for its elegant pottery and Inca heritage, Chazuta has a museum where you can attend artisanal workshops. This vibrant cultural centre needs people to help boost their profile by helping them with web design, video and photography. Appreciate the local exhibits and get inspired to do your own interpretation of the weird and wonderful plants and animals, as well as exploring the cultural history on your doorstep.
Africa: Run away with the circus
Throw all cares to the wind and join this travelling street theatre company in Casablanca, Morocco! Here you can use your skills and imagination to entertain disadvantaged kids. Whether you have circus or performance skills, fancy designing puppets, masks or sets or perhaps working on the lighting and sound, this is a wonderful opportunity to live like a nomad, join a colourful parade of street artists and spread love and laughter to areas which most deserve it.
Oceania: Head to Waimangaroa and learn arts, crafts and sculpture from a maestro
Brian, otherwise known as “Woody” is a multi-talented craftsman in New Zealand who sources natural materials from his locality and transforms them into unique pieces of art. He is currently renovating an old dance hall to make it into an art gallery/ museum as well as working on a sculpture garden.
Join him for walks along the coastline, picking up driftwood or stone. As well as his 30 years experience, he has all the materials and tools to make silver jewellery, musical instruments, furniture and sculptures using wood, bronze, bone, jade and mother of pearl. “I believe in the philosophy that if you give me a hand I will give you a hand in return.”
Help him in his workshop and like a scorceror’s apprentice watch him at work – we dare you to not feel moved to uncover your own masterpiece.
Middle East: For those who just want to try out a medley of possibilities and new experiences
Why not lose yourself in the Negev desert and help out at a unique hostel and event space located in the artist quarter of Mitzpe Ramon, Israel? The initiative is called “Me’ever” or “Beyond”.
“This name reflects the atmosphere of our place: our vision is to create a place that allows people to meet and communicate beyond daily matters. This is a dynamic and magical space that aspires to be the heartbeat of spirit, craft, movement and emotion. A space that puts people and creativity in its center.”
Volunteers become part of the “family” and in exchange for taking care of the place they will get a chance to take part in a lot of different workshops- from yoga, dancing, writing workshops, to a range of local music events that they host. As a center for local art and music, visitors will get a chance to get to mingle with some real local artists and perhaps some of the magic dust from the desert will rub off. There is even a jazz club a block away.
In many ways, following your artists soul has much to do with keeping your inner child alive. As Pablo Picasso once said:
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”