A change in scenery is vital to creative growth

Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT (1 month)

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“The artistic methods of poetry, painting, photography, and writing share certain commonalities of deep composition: spirit, rhythm, thought, and scenery.”

— Kilroy J. Oldster

Why travel to a remote town in the middle of Vermont during the coldest month of the year? Because a change in scenery can uplift your creative spirit, of course! No matter the creative discipline — a writer or a painter — there is tremendous personal growth and inspiration to come from travel to a new place.

Author Kilroy Oldster describes creativity fusing spirit, rhythm, thought, and scenery. This stands out to me because scenery is not typically recognized as an important element to creativity — yet, it is so vital for creative growth. Just as the architecture of a building dictates behavior and mindset, the scenery of a place influences what and how we create.

There is a common misconception that traveling as an artist is divergent and distracts from the work. At first glance, this seems quite logical. Why pack your studio into a suitcase? Yet, time and time again, I see how less is more when creating in new locations. Limited supplies doesn’t hinder projects, but rather challenges new breakthroughs. Unfamiliar spaces and new relationships stir up new approaches and creative dialogue.

Scenery served as a crucial element to the VSC experience. The snow-covered campus provided time for private contemplation as well as energetic social gatherings, alternating between various workspaces. Our final Open Studio showcase revealed new ways of problem solving, alternative materials, resourcefulness, and subject matter pulled directly from the environment. Thus, the creative outcomes were based on the place of making. For this reason, a trip to Vermont was very worthwhile and transformative.