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March 9, 2023, 3:38 p.m.

The Cultural Cool of Wildacres Retreat

A sunset view at Wildacres Retreat

Perched atop Pompey’s Knob in the alpine-inspired town of Little Switzerland sits the inspirational cultural conference center, Wildacres Retreat. Artists and scientists alike find a deep sense of peace and the opportunity for quiet reflection on the forest trails and in the picturesque surrounding mountains.

Non-profit organizations and other groups are welcomed to this 1200-acre property to cultivate their vision, conduct workshops, and encourage participant connections. There are also opportunities for individual in-residence programs.

Inspired By Nature

Musicians, writers, and artisans find the tranquility here needed to fully focus on their craft. With cell phone service and internet only available in the main part of the retreat, creative minds can flourish in the absence of distractions. There are numerous quiet places to be found throughout the retreat, as well as a pottery building complete with an upstairs art studio. “Creation rooms” within the lodges are also open to you.

Outside work spaces, such as the amphitheater and the barn shelter, offer opportunities for artistic minds to find inspiration in nature. You are asked to provide all of your own supplies.

Down to a Science

Wildacres Retreat is also dedicated to the pursuit of natural science, especially as it relates to the environment, species extinction, and climate crisis. Scientific groups, universities, and hospitals find the space especially conducive to allowing participants to engage with nature.

Workshops can be conducted on the grounds and in the surrounding mountains, and large, well-lit meeting spaces and an auditorium are available. Gem and mineral societies even have access to the lapidary workshops!

North Lodge of Wildacres Retreat on a rainy day

Wildacres Residency Program

Since 1999, the Residency Program has invited about 70 writers, musicians, and artisans to stay on the property every year. Applicants are chosen to begin or continue a specific project, living at the retreat for one week between April and October at no cost.

Participants stay in one of three cabins, one of which is ADA compliant, and can cook in their own kitchen or join other visitors and staff for family-style meals in the dining hall. Two of the cabins are single occupancy, while the third can accommodate two artisans working on a joint project. For more information about the Residency Program, click here.

The Environmental Artist-in-Residence Program

Newly created in 2022, the Environmental Artist-in-Residence Program invites activity-focused scientists, artists, and other professionals engaged in current global environment issues to apply for acceptance. Candidates are chosen for their creative rigor and activism in their creative practice, specifically as it relates to the climate crisis and how it will affect society going forward. If you’re interested in more information, click here.

The entrance to Wildacres retreat

Wildacres Leadership Initiative

Since 1995, Wildacres Retreat has strived to prepare leaders for the challenges of the 21st century through its Leadership Initiative. Named for philanthropist, policymaker and educator, William C. Friday, the Friday Fellowship for Human Relations serves to broaden Wildacres’ influence on North Carolina and its citizens over the next 50 years. More information on this program can be found here.

The Gatherings

While Wildacres Retreat serves as a conference center for groups and organizations, twice a year they host “Gatherings.” Every spring and fall, guests are invited to work on their own creative projects, surrounded by the inspiration they find across the grounds, on the trails and in the mountain wilderness.

The registration fee covers a double-occupancy room, all meals, and artistic workspace. Click here to learn more.