The Mudhouse Residency is designed to provide a cultural immersion: living, working and dining in the mountain village of Agios Ioannis. The residency workshop is inclusive to all practicing artists, to benefit studio artists, photographers, writers and filmmakers, students seeking enrichment in the study of visual arts, and those continuing their education. The program is structured for maximum time in the village, utilizing the ruins and the landscape of the Crete. Meals are taken family style at the village taverna and group outings have been organized to tour archeological sites and visit several of the numerous breathtaking beaches. At the end of each session an exhibition is mounted at the Agios Ioannis Cultural Center, with a corresponding reception in which the residents of the village and surrounding villages are invited to celebrate with the artists.
The Mudhouse is structured to offer two types of Residency programs, Studio and Independent, with the opportunity for any resident to choose to take topic-based workshops ala carte. Both programs provide for the artist’s lodging for the duration of the two weeks and suppers taken family style each evening at the village taverna, and includes opportunities to present works in progress, screenings, readings, artist lectures and participation in the closing exhibition.
The village of Agios Ioannis, on the southern side of Crete, dates back to the 15th century. Most of the original residents of the mountain settlement moved to the coastline cities of Ferma and Koutsounari when irrigation systems brought fresh water from the mountains to the coast in the 1950’s. The village became largely uninhabited and many of the original stone and mud structures fell into ruin. In the last three decades international settlers have begun to purchase and restore the ruins, to their own particular tastes. This means, among the ruins, one now finds stately Italian villas and English gardens. Artists-in-residence at the Mudhouse are accommodated in the homes and guest homes of the villagers, and no two are alike. The insular village does not have any stores, but simply a locally owned and operated taverna and a neighborhood bar and music venue. 9km from the sea, it is accessible by car up a twisting mountain road, and at 500m above sea level boasts an impressive view of the Libyan sea. There is spectacular hiking to both the east and the West. The eastern road leads to the village of Schinokapsala and crosses Pshiro hamlet, with a natural spring that winds its way to the sea and the only pine tree forest on Crete. The western road passes through goat grazing lands and olive tree orchards, over the Thripti mountain range where it is possible at the narrowest span of the island to see both the East and West coastlines of Crete, to the even smaller village of Monastiraki, and a fantastic taverna. Shepherds graze their animals in the land around the village and June is the month of the sheep shearing festival.