Since 2013 Black Arts Retreat has hosted an annual weekend-long creative gathering in the Northeast United States. This event features a variety of arts and wellness themed workshops as well as hiking, communal cooking, jam sessions, dialogs, an artisan swap market and access to an on-site mental health counselor. Each year has a theme and ties to a particular African Diasporic homeland.
This series began in 2017 with a trip to BAR Foundress, Kelly Thomas’ homeland, the Commonwealth of Dominica. Retreats to Bahia, Brazil (2017) and throughout Haiti (2018/19) followed. BAR Homeland is a travel experience which immerses participants in the creative and cultural life of various homelands within the African Diaspora. Eating local cuisines, exploring Diasporic history and sites, learning traditional and contemporary art forms, meeting artist communities and supporting local initiatives are all ways that we connect to these global destinations. These experiences are often scheduled around special occasions and festivals of a given homeland.
In response to demand from our participants, Black Arts Retreat has expanded our programming beyond retreats to include special events, workshops and affinity groups. Visit us on instagram @blackartsretreat for most updated programs. Typically Black Arts Retreat curates in-person programs and experiences. But in the time of COVID-19, we have leveraged the virtual space in the realm of transnational organizing.