Nature and the Arts workshop gathers diverse artists around a common love of nature

dewberryWorkshop: “Nature and the Arts” workshop
Date and time: Friday, April 4, 7 p.m. through Saturday, April 5, 8 p.m.
Location: Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center
Cost: $95 per person includes meals and lodging at Merry Lea’s Rieth Village, as well as instruction.
Please register by March 25. To register, email janiebk@goshen.edu or call (260) 799-5869.

If you’ve secretly dreamed of taking a weeklong artist’s workshop in an exotic location, but have never had the time, the money or the courage, the Nature and the Arts weekend at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College is an appealing alternative.

This 25-hour immersion in the arts, which takes place Friday, April 4, 7 p.m. to Saturday, April 5, 8 p.m., features three tracks: Nature Photography with Paul McAfee, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Dave Dornberg, Highland, Ind.; Creative Nature Writing with poet Ann Hostetler, an English professor at Goshen College; and Drawing to Printmaking with Dr. John Blosser, professor emeritus of art at Goshen College.

“We hope to cultivate a welcoming atmosphere that encourages exploration and allows for interchange between artists working in different disciplines,” said Janie Beck Kreider, the workshop’s organizer.

While the workshop welcomes dabblers, group sizes are small enough that instructors will have time to help more advanced artists perfect their craft as well.

The weekend kicks off with an artists’ showcase Friday evening. Here, the instructors will share some of their work and discuss the ways they find inspiration in the natural world. Saturday includes a full day of instruction and culminates in an opportunity for participants to share their work with students in all three tracks.

Time outdoors immersed in Merry Lea’s wetlands, woodlands and prairies will be an important part of the weekend, since participants in each track will be working from direct observation of nature. In early April, Merry Lea’s Kesling Wetland is alive with migrating waterfowl and the calls of redwing blackbirds. Tree swallows swoop over the surface of the water and frogs call for mates. In nearby Thomas Woods, it is difficult to walk without stepping on cut leaf toothwort or spring beauties.

The cost of $95 per person includes meals and lodging at Merry Lea’s Rieth Village, as well as instruction. Each track needs a minimum of four people to run. Please register by March 25. For a schedule of events, registration form and instructor biographies, call (260) 799-5869 or visit http://merrylea.goshen.edu/news-events/events/nature-and-arts-weekend.

Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College is an 1,189-acre nature preserve in north central Indiana, midway between Fort Wayne and Goshen. The center is known for its ecological diversity, its quality environmental education and its efforts in the area of sustainable building and land restoration. While prairies and woodlands are also part of the landscape, the diverse wetlands at Merry Lea are its greatest treasure. To learn more, see Merry Lea’s web site at www.goshen.edu/merrylea.

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