Thursday, September 23, 2021

Win a Three-Week Stay in Provence!

Having led art retreats in Provence for four years now, Nicky Ginsberg has just moved her NG Art Creative Residency & Gallery into a beautiful new space...and she’s giving away a three-week residency in Provence to celebrate. The deadline is October 1 and all the details are below.

Previously based in a lovely old farmhouse in Eygalieres, Nicky’s international non-profit arts association is now permanently settled into a renovated 17 th-century olive mill, nestled in the foothills of the Alpilles mountains. It’s just outside the village of Maussane, a stone’s throw from the historic medieval hilltown of Les Baux.

Christened Moulin de Gréoux some 400 years ago, the grand old property offers international artists, writers, poets, musicians, performers, filmmakers, photographers, academic scholars and other creatives “a place of respite, nourishment and enlightenment to enrich their creative process.”

Moulin de Gréoux was lovingly renovated by previous owners to retain many vestiges from its agricultural past, such as vaulted ceilings, wooden beams, stone troughs and its original olive press. The old stone walls and cathedral-like interior are now home to five guestrooms, a large kitchen, shared studio/atelier, gallery, arts library, piano room and indoor swimming pool. For artists working with clay or other materials, there’s a covered outdoor wet area along with shaded terraces, landscaped gardens and more.

Artists in residence enjoy quiet time to work but also the opportunity to mingle with the public and international visitors at festive dinners, musical soirées, cooking workshops and exclusive vernissage (art opening) events. This open-door philosophy allows residents to showcase their work to a local and wider global audience.

Residents can also participate in communal dinners, cooking workshops with local and international chefs, soirées and performance evenings, professional development and mentorship, seasonal studio exhibits, gallery exhibits, outings of cultural  interest and various networking and collaborative opportunities.

Nicky, a long-time gallery owner, entrepreneur and creative director, founded  the program and now runs it with her partner, aspiring artist Edwin Holder-Vale. (The couple met two years ago in a cooking class in Greece...awww!). You can read Nicky’s bio here and follow Edwin on Instagram here.

For residencies at Moulin de Gréoux, there are four different pricing options starting at €500 a week per person. The program includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner daily, transportation to and from the residency and use of a car and bike for the duration of your stay. If needed, you’ll also have studio space including work stations, easels, professional hanging systems and projectors.

There are also subsidized residencies and a number of sponsorships and prizes offered throughout the year.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in your work amidst spectacular, natural surroundings, I can’t think of a nicer place to do it. Steeped in Provençal history, the area boasts olive groves and mills, vineyards and wineries, a large sheep farm, picturesque town squares, scores of restaurants and cafes and myriad historic sites dating to Roman times and beyond. And it’s all bathed in that famous light that inspired Van Gogh, Cézanne and so many others.

Ok so...on to the contest! The giveaway includes a three-week complimentary residency, breakfast and dinner daily, full use of the arts studio, professional development and mentorship, use of a car, en plein air activities, meeting art enthusiasts and like- minded creative folk, the opportunity to exhibit in a dedicated gallery and more.

To enter, you must be on Instagram so this is a great time to sign up if you haven’t. Then follow @ngartcreativeresidency, share their latest post (dated September 19) to your stories and tag them. Finally, leave a comment about why you want to win! The winner will be contacted via Instagram on Friday October 1. (And while you're at it, please follow me too! I'm here.)

If you miss this chance or don’t win this time around, you can learn all about the residency program and application process on the NG Art Creative website. Future contests and news will be announced via social media and in Nicky’s newsletter, so be sure to sign up for it by clicking the subscribe tab on the website.  

Bonne Chance...and hope to see you in Provence!

Photos: (1, 2) This 17th-century olive mill in Maussane has been converted into a beautiful live-and-work space for creatives of all types. Win the Instagram contest and you'll stay here three weeks. (3) Communal dinners are fresh, local, seasonal, colorful and, I hear, perfectly delicious. No starving artists here! (4) One of the five guestrooms. (5) Previous owners did most of the renovation and built a large lovely pool in an old barn.  (6) The shared studio/atelier is large enough for four people to work at a time. (7) An artist-in-residence doing his thing en plein air. (8) Come in May/June when the poppies are blooming and you'll get to paint scenes like this. (9) Everyone is welcome to use the large, beautiful kitchen. (10) In its new home, the residency program will operate year round. In cooler months, dinners may be served in the dramatic vaulted dining room. (11) Lovely terraces provide quiet spaces for work, lunches and more. (12) One of the pretty restaurants on the town square in Maussane. (13) The first group of artists-in-residence at the Moulin this summer. (14) Nicky and Edwin met in a cooking class and quickly discovered shared passions such as art, travel and Provence.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Heritage Days are Sept 18 & 19

It's that time again: The 38th annual Journ
ées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 18 and 19, in cities and villages all over France. The program was launched by the French Ministry of Culture in 1984 and has since spread all over Europe (officially it's now called European Heritage Days or JEP, for Journées Européennes du Patrimoine). This year the theme is "Heritage for All" and 20,000 sites or so are expected to participate. This is one the biggest events in France and one of my favorite weekends of the year.

The idea is that a wide range of monuments, religious sites, estates, gardens,  museums, workshops, galleries, ateliers, factories and more are open for special visits, including many that are normally closed to the public. Most sites are offering free entry and will have a guide on hand; some are hosting special tours and events (mostly in French). Some may require you to sign up in advance...but for the most part, you just show up. 
Some villages will have events on Friday Sept 17 as well. 

The main Journées du Patrimoine website is here (or in English here) and the department-by-department listings are here. But I'd wait a little while and then check back; I'm told that final event details are coming in slowly as the various sites decide whether to participate or not...and how to best handle Covid protocols. Local tourist offices will have Patrimoine info on their own sites...or will direct you to it if you call...and in year's past I've found that they have the most comprehensive, up-to-date info. 

For example, as of today the department-listings page on the Patrimoine site mentions just one participating site in my village of St. Remy (in Department #13, the Bouches-du-Rhone) but every year St. Remy publishes its own terrific map/guide and this year I see 22 sites listed. You can see and download the 2021 St. Remy program here. Or you can pick one up at the St. Remy Tourist Office or at the participating sites.

To get you started, here are some listings for the six departments of PACA (Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur): Alpes-de-Haute-ProvenceAlpes-MaritimesBouches du Rhone, the Hautes-Alpes and the Var. For the Vaucluse, try here and here. And here's the Gard (which is not technically in Provence but never mind). 

And here are the programs for Avignon, Aix, Arles Marseille and Nice. But don't forget about tiny villages, many of which offer fantastic tours, visits and programs as well.  

For events and participating sites in Paris, look here and here

The main Patrimoine website will continue updating their full nationwide map and program here. It's a bit clunky but you're smart and you'll figure it out.

Some events (such as concerts, guided tours and lectures) are happening at specific times, on one day of the weekend on both. And many villages are offering additional activities not pegged to specific sites, such as the historic walking tours that St. Remy is offering on Saturday and Sunday at 10 am (reservations required, call 04 90 92 05 22) and four free jazz concerts sponsored by Jazz à St. Remy (three on Saturday, one on Sunday). 

For additional updates, you can also follow the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine on Instagram and on Facebook

Vive le Patrimoine de France!

Photos: Get out there and explore! A few of the many thousands of sites that have offered or will offer Patrimoine events include the LUMA Foundation in Arles, The Unterlinden Museum in Colmar (Alsace), The Museon Arlaten in Arles, The Confectionery Factory Roy René and Museum of Calisson outside Aix, the fantastical houses of Jacques-Emile Lecaron in Clamart, the Théâtre Antique d'Orange, La Cite Radieuse by Le Corbusier in Marseille, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on the Cap Ferrat, the Roman Amphitheatre in Arles, the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, the Jewish Cemetery in St. Remy, the Gare de Reims, the Maison du Riz in the Camargue, the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh in Arles, the Heliport of Paris, The Château Raspail in Gigondas, the Château d'Aujac and the Palace of Versailles.  At the bottom, this year's poster.