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CampWonderWander @ Sarasvati Design Institute

Emerging Program member

a wonderlost|wanderlust welcome

Rewarding experiences occur when we get LOST – lost in thought, lost in a good book, lost in translation, lost in conversation, lost in place.

Born out of the desire by the founder for a quiet inspirational place to commune with nature and be reinvigorated as a creative person on a sabbatical journey, this 17-acre slice of beauty and serenity is the actualization to create a community for camaraderie and artistic endeavors of various forms. Here you will be allowed and encouraged to do so at your own pace or in a more structured session.

The namesake – Sarasvati – is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and nature. The Sarasvati Design Institute offers a safe, comfortable and creatively designed space in a rural setting for participants – designers, writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, storytellers, performers, environmental artists, scholars of various backgrounds, or those just seeking a creative outlet – to get lost; to explore their inner dreamscapes and rejuvenate one's inner spirit; to carve out the time and space needed to start, finish, polish or develop projects or portfolios; to generate ideas, to create and engage in experimentation needed in the design and creative process. Camp Wonder Wander is an entity within the overall institute established for workshops, retreats, and residencies etc.

Val has been a graphic design educator since 2000 and received her MFA from University of Florida in 1999 with additional teaching experience prior to that completion. She has moved from professor to coach and loves to engage in the design process, critical thinking and critique aspects of developing a body of work. That of course is not something forced on every participant, but can become part of the experience whether it be at the dinner table or an invite to your working space. Ultimately, a future goal is to have artists-in-residence while there may be a small class of learners on site studying creativity and graphic design. Therefore, Sarasvati is breaking down the barriers to traditional academic environments and offering individuals from varied backgrounds and ages access to design education in an immersive learning experience. In 1914, the Bauhaus was established to challenge traditional education and created a dynamic learning environment of multi-disciplines related to design with a mentor/apprentice model. The Bauhaus closed because of the social, cultural environment of WW1, but still resonates as an inspiration for all design and creative fields. Val Sloan has been an educator of design and design history since the turn of this century and founded this organization to create an alternative in the current landscape for youth, undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education; professional career development for educators and creatives alike; and as an institution that supports creatives from various backgrounds in residency programs, design and creativity workshops, master classes and individualized retreats.

Seeking a diverse array of creatives to apply for our residencies. In particular, artists interested in the environment, those who need a large space to produce work, those who are interested in using natural materials like bamboo in their projects, and those interested in a collaborative relationship whereby Val will help document your work over time, translate your story visually for print documentation and/or web representation.

Creatives with pets, children and/or spouses may be considered on case by case basis.


near Hohenwald and Waynesboro, Tennessee: United States

17 acres in rural rolling hills of mid-south Tennessee. Access to Buffalo River from property. 3 residential units – one houses camp facilitator and longer term residents, second is for shorter term residents, 3rd is main congregation area and available for workshops or private/individualized programming for groups up to 10. On the main 5 acre property there are also 3 barns for working in an exterior space on 3-dimensional projects and one large workshop garage that can be transformed into a working studio based on your needs. An additional 12 acre plat is across the street with open field and wooded areas providing access to the Buffalo River down a winding trail, over rock beds into an area that is like a large swimming pool. Artist-in-residence may make use of the landscape and various materials on an as needed (and approved) basis such as bamboo from our grove. This is a burgeoning farm property and any green thumbs interested in expanding our garden, tending to bees or chickens are ideally suited. We are halfway between two nearby towns approximately 20 minutes each way, so one would need a car if you were to explore. Natchez Trace Parkway is a beautiful route that can be hiked and explored, as well as numerous state parks in the area. Transportation from Nashville may or may not be available at the time of your arrival, but plans are under way to make this a permanent option in the future.

Contact Information

599 Gaither Hinson Rd.
Waynesboro, Tennessee 38485
United States