La Muse writers' and artists' retreat in Southern France offers creative individuals a peaceful, inspiring, mountain setting in which to pursue the work they love. We aim to encourage artistic exploration, nurture creative thought, and forge bonds between diverse thinkers. Our greatest hope is that our attendees find inspiration and make progress on their work within the walls of our home.
Since opening in 2001, we have hosted poets, novelists, non-fiction writers, scholars, jewelry designers, screenwriters, artisans, memoirists, painters, visual artists, photographers, chefs, therapists, sculptors, film and theater directors, healers, and more. We welcome people of all ages and nationalities, and at all stages of their professional development to apply. Open year round, we are here whenever you are ready to do your work.
We are Kerry Eielson and John Fanning, two young writers from NYC, who bought and created La Muse in our twenties with credit cards and loans. Since La Muse launched in 2001, we have welcomed creative individuals and groups at low prices for three-week retreats. We have invested in La Muse, to make it a more than comfortable place for our attendees. In the last two years alone, we have added a new roof, non-fiberglass insulation in their 450 meters-squared attic, three wood-burning stoves, 100 yards worth of upholstery-weight fabric for curtains, more than double the amount of radiators, a new oil furnace, a new industrial cooker and sink and appliances in the attendee kitchen, a new dining room, two new art studio, an expanded library, WIFI, a separate workspace for those attendees who don't have WIFI but can use ethernet, reading chairs and desks in all the rooms, a bigger washing machine and a newly renovated laundry room, and more. The list grows every year. La Muse has also added community-oriented cultural events that it organizes for its neighbors and attendees alike.
What we offer is quite specific: time and space to create among peers; access to nature, culture and good food; and an opportunity to focus solely on your creative pursuits.
We believe art and its pursuit is a universal language and with this in mind we provide a bridge between the growing local arts community (many of our neighbors are artists and writers, and former attendees), the traditional local French community (many of whom are artists), and our attendees. La Muse organizes community cultural activities, nature walks, art shows in the La Muse art studio, readings, and other social gatherings to bring our communities together through art, and to celebrate the richness of the Cabardes region. Please check out our blog for more details.
At present, with the exception of several fully-funded residencies, we offer our rooms for low prices. In the future we see La Muse as a fully subsidized creative community. Being writers ourselves, we understand the financial constraints of the artistic lifestyle and wish to give our fellow artists what we would like to have ourselves: an opportunity to focus solely on our creative work without worry of a dwindling bank account. We hope to broaden our residency program and support more artists through generous donations made to our non-profit association.
In the interim, La Muse's mission is to keep La Muse accessible to both emerging and established artists and writers and to provide for them an environment designed to foster and inspire. Because La Muse is not supported (at present) by any foundations or grants, it cannot afford to offer more than a few residencies a year. Those presently offered are not underwritten (except for the annual An Foras Feasa fellowship) ; La Muse is simply providing a room free of charge to support the work of writers and artists who they believe in.
If you are someone who needs a space to create, please consider visiting us in the inspiring hills of Southern France. If you are an arts supporter, please consider a donation to our nonprofit foundation.
In a society that does not give much support to scholarly and artistic work, La Muse does, and hopes to keep doing so well into the future.