Camp Wonder Wander: Residencies - January - May 2023

Associated Residency Program

Let your creativity FLOW like the BUFFALO on our 17 acre slice of beauty in the rural rolling hills of Mid-South Tennessee. Is nature your muse, inspiration, or collaborator?

For all those who are inspired by nature, the Sarasvati creative Space residency program is open year-round allowing you to coordinate a time that best suits your own needs and seasonal preferences to get the most out of the natural surroundings. Coordination of participants based on discipline is typical to be able to provide the type of space each person needs. It is highly likely you'll find an interdisciplinary array of fellow creatives on site during your term.

Embracing the immersive atmosphere, an extensive amount of time may just be what you crave. Sabbatical style schedule isn't exclusive to academics.

Therefore, we are now offering longer term residencies - Jan - Apr, May - Sept, Oct - Dec with options to extend or overlap depending on needs, goals, projects, circumstances. Long term applications receive priority in scheduling and others who have at least two weeks to 1-3 months will be assigned based on room availability in negotiating the time of year you feel would be best. Those interested in less than two week options will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Will be reviewing applications for the calendar year 2023 on a rolling basis. Must submit a security deposit to reserve your spot. Applications for longer term stays will receive priority. Two weeks minimum preferred, however, under certain circumstances may consider less.

All participants with at least a two week term will receive a complimentary Forest Therapy guided session with a certified guide as an introduction to the terrain.


As society emerges from pandemic, you'll likely relish the opportunity for this area with lots of fresh air and very limited interactions with outsiders unless you need to grocery shop. A variety of lodging options include private rooms, some with an en-suite bath, as well as a dorm style loft in the Lemon Lodge. The workspace is varied in size and scope which will be assigned based on your medium and space needs. We prefer that you provide vaccination status upon arrival and/or a negative test, and that you agree to wear masks while in public social settings off-site.




The namesake – Sarasvati – is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and nature. In Japan, her name is Benzaiten and you will see a variety of Japanese objects scattered in the lodging.

Camp Wonder Wander is a nature immersion creativity retreat center established by a former tenured Graphic Design Professor seeking a more balanced life on an unpaved path.

The Sarasvati creative Space at Camp Wonder Wander offers a safe, comfortable and creatively designed space in a rural setting for participants – designers, writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, storytellers, performers, environmental artists, ecology arts, architects, scholars of various backgrounds, stem/steam teams, educational groups, 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 art, design and creative process.


This burgeoning creative space offers affordable short term and longer term opportunities. As an emerging residency program, we offer very affordable lodging and would be interested in partnering with you on grant proposals, but do not currently have any foundational funding to provide stipends, etc. Based on scheduling you may or may not be sharing the various communal spaces with others (if you want to reserve more than one space to assure no others in your space, that’s an option too). A total of 7 private rooms plus a dormitory style loft space (seasonal) available in three houses that are spread out over a 5 acre plat. Each house has a kitchen and living space. More info and pictures on our website and follow us in social media (IG: campwonderwander). Your room rate covers the furnished accommodation and the utilities. An expectation of volunteer time to contribute to the space is part of the residency arrangement. We are working towards improving our access accommodations to update the old house, but note that this is a rural landscape with gravel and grass.


Your private bedroom includes bed, linens/towels, lighting, storage space, and in most cases a work surface as well as creative interior design for inspiration. The communal living rooms often double as working studio space and there are additional seasonal interior spaces to set up your workflow. For example, one of our residents even set up his own portable darkroom on the back deck of the residency house. As an organic space, things are changing and being updated or modified as people use the space. Please visit the website for images and info on the work space options. You have access to our 17 acres on the edge of the Buffalo River. You can wander and set up plein-air, experiments in the habitat, or even hang out on the bluff overlooking the river.


One of the best features of our site is our animals for your inspiration and enjoyment whether it be a lap cat visit or watching the donkeys meander or frolic in the field. Farm fresh organic eggs are available. The farm stay environment includes 12 donkeys (miniature, standards, and small standards), a peafowl pair, an assortment of rare breed chickens including a lovely rooster, camp cats on mouse patrol that may want to check out your activity, a tripod Pyrenees and his new pal Fern (a growing mutt puppy 2022), and a black rabbit in the pottery studio.


We have amazing fresh water from a well filtered naturally by the geology of limestone. The garden may have items to share depending on the season. Working within the constraints of the county trash disposal system, the recycling options are minimal therefore we are keeping all glass bottles and plastic bottles/containers for use in future up-cycle projects. Plastic wrapping and anything not 1 or 2 designation are not recyclable so just do your part in consumption to lower that waste. Tin is collected for recycling. Food waste is deposited in the compost. For a full list of recycling options, please message or talk to Val.

Storms can be dramatic here. Make sure to bring shoes that can get wet or muddy.

Be prepared for the phone to not have good connection. The wifi is now broadband, but the log in across the land is through an ethernet antennae. If you need better connection while on site, just ask for a spot to sit closer to the modem.



  • a complimentary Forest Therapy Guided Session per participant with at least two week stay. Val is certified by ANFT as a guide and would be delighted to work with you in this process.
  • Naturalist walk. During pandemic, Val participated in the Tennessee Naturalist Program.
  • Kayaking. Seasonal May until mid-October. or bring your own.
  • Hiking or even biking on the camp property or in the region. (bring your own)
  • Gardening experience and animal care if you are interested.
  • Cooking class and/or assistance with meal prep or food shopping.
  • Transportation services (fee may apply) for airport or a tour of the area including visits to thrift, antique, or flea markets.


Pets, children and/or partners/spouses may be considered on case by case basis and there’s a minimal additional fee explained on our website. Small groups or teams welcome.

WIFI: We have rural broadband which is available on the 5 acres via an antennae extender.

Phone Service: Some carriers work better than others and usually during morning or evenings are better. There are a few spots on site that are good for 'phone booths'.


Social Media:

#sarasvaticreativespace #campwonderwander #atennesseeretreat #onthebuffalo


As an emerging center, there is no foundation at this time to fully offset your residency. However, every attempt has been made to create an affordable opportunity. Monthly rates range from $250 to $850 a month depending on the room and group size. Short term rates average $25-50 per night depending on room and length of stay. All the details are on the website.


This is an emerging program on a burgeoning farm / nature immersion creativity retreat center. We hope you leave a little bit of yourself behind, whether it's documentation of the large project you have completed during your time with us or make a contribution by leaving a written quote, sketch, photograph, or illustration on any of several contributor spaces such as the walls in the main hall or on the kitchen cabinet doors in the 2nd cabinet that will brighten everyone's day.
Each residency participant is expected to give back each day as part of the creative wandering process with a volunteer role. Some of the previous participants have made trails, cut down bamboo, socialized with the donkeys, general cleaning or an extra hand for random maintenance, organizing, weeding, and gardening.



You’ll discover a really wonderful unique experience in this region of the Western Highland Rim of mid-south Tennessee where rolling hills, swaths of forest and the Buffalo River watershed will nurture and inspire you. One of the best features of this location is that this is one of the darkest spots in the region without light pollution to be able to see the stars, so plan accordingly!

light pollution free map of the region

If a nature escape is what you seek, this location is ideal and easily accessible on a well-maintained state road 20 minutes drive to civilization in either direction are two small towns that represent rural and small town America. Ideal for artists, writers, educators, designers, and those seeking a landscape that has been relatively untouched you’ll find really amazing winding roads of rural rolling forested hills dotted with large swaths of rolling pasture primarily of cattle farms. The 17 acre nature immersion retreat center (camp vibes) edge is on the Buffalo River with approximately 600 ft of river bed to explore the habitat or enjoy the features of water including a swimming hole area or kayaking seasonally. If you love rocks, you’ll love this spot!

Do not let the stereotype of rural America deter you as the camp is relatively isolated and in general people in the south are friendly (yet many find this area because they just want to be left alone). Nearby is a yoga retreat thriving for 30 years, a health fitness spa on a unique geological site of a Natural Bridge, and 40 minute drive is “The Farm” the first intentional community in the country (settled by ‘hippies’ in the 70s and featuring about 300 full time residents with farmer’s market and other cultural activities). You’ll also find small family farms in this area as well as Amish and Mennonite communities. The nearby town Hohenwald - German for "High Forest" - was settled by German immigrants in 1878 and later merged with the adjacent Swiss Immigrant village (New Switzerland).

According to “One of Tennessee's few immigrant communities, Hohenwald began as a crossroads store and house owned by Warren and Augusta Smith. Augusta Smith, a German immigrant, named the community Hohenwald, which means “high forest,” a reflection of the surrounding countryside and its location on the Western Highland Rim.”

This central location allows you to explore much of the region. The creative metropolitan city and capital of the state - Nashville is approximately 90 miles drive (and this is the airport if you are flying). You may be surprised by the creative city of Florence, AL and Muscle Shoals which is only about an hour drive south on the Natchez Trace Parkway. The burgeoning creative town of Columbia with more options for coffee shops and groceries is about an hour drive east. If you want to check out Memphis, that’s a 3 hour drive west.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is one of the best aspects of this area. This historic 440 mile road allowed travelers and merchants a return path after traveling from Nashville on the river with their merchandise all the way down to the Mississippi Delta.  This is now a federal park and has so many spots to explore.

The area has four seasons, but typically mild winters with Jan/Feb the coldest months. Daffodils start blooming in February, in March the cherry trees blossom, and by April leaves on trees emerge. You’ll find lots of bird watching and if you go slow you'll find bees, butterflies and other insects. Summers will provide dramatic skies and seasonal changes actually start in late September/early October.

Check out the listings on our site of all the various places to go for inspiration, art connection or supplies, coffee shops and groceries, etc.

Residency Length
7 days - 12 months
Average Number of Artists in Residence at a Time
Collaborative Residency
May apply as a team
Interdisciplinary Arts
Mixed Media
Visual Arts
Book Arts
Ceramics/Clay Arts/Pottery
Installation Arts
Literary Nonfiction
New Genres
Performance Art
Digital Media
Electronic Arts
Moving Image
Multimedia Arts
Graphic Design
Environmental Arts
Landscape Architecture
Public Art
Social Practice
Art Conservation
Art Education
Art History
Pets (Non-service animals)
Country of Residence
Open to artists based anywhere in the world
Stage of Career
Any stage of career
Additional Expectations/Opportunities
Donate a work of art
Participate in open studio with fellow residents
Meals Provided
Residents have access to shared kitchen
No meals are provided
Studios/Special Equipment
Shared Studios
Electric Wheels
Electric Kiln
Washer And Dryer
Type of Housing
Private bedroom in a shared housing facility on campus
Shared bedroom
Number of Artists Accepted in Most Current Year
Total Applicant Pool in Most Current Year
Artist Stipend
US Dollar (USD)
Travel Stipend/Material Stipends
US Dollar (USD)
Residency Fees
Grant/Scholarship/other Funding Support
US Dollar (USD)
Application Fee
US Dollar (USD)
Application Type
Open application