What is Meristem Artists?
Meristem Artists is a community, founded by Camila Agosto in 2020, working to support artists of marginalized genders, including women, trans individuals, femme-identifying, and nonbinary folks. Together we create a welcoming, supportive, and trustworthy atmosphere in which to connect, learn, share, and work. Through our retreat and community events we engage in open discussions, artist talks, yoga and meditation classes, and activities that energize the mind, body and soul. These holistic activities give us the opportunity to discover what speaks to us in life.
We are each committed to maintaining this community space from the perspective of a mutual-aid mindset in which each member of the community is actively engaged and participating in its growth and development. There is not one person who is valued over another, nor one person who is the "leader" and the others the "followers". As one of our core members has said in the past, this is "a space that doesn't force us to lose energy working against societal presets or power dynamics. It is a haven for artists of marginalized genders to share values, intimate expression, and facets of their being as humans and artists without fear of judgement or exploitation." This is a non-commercial space in which we are not boxed into societal norms or constructs, identity labels, or other things that we have to deal with on a daily basis. This is a space where you have value just for being present, for who you are, and not what you do. It is a space where each member is allowed to define themselves or choose to live without definitions, not for the sake of any "brand" but for the sake of just being who you truly are. Most importantly, this is a voluntary space in which each member chooses to be present, engaged and honor our pledge in how we choose to use this space and how we agree to treat ourselves and each other.
At this time, Meristem Artists is in a season of rest and currently focusing on nourishing our current garden and creating regenerative and restorative spaces through conversations, collaborations and other community activities.
What is the Meristem Artist Retreat?
The Meristem Artist Retreat is a virtual space for artists of marginalized genders, including women, trans individuals, femme-identifying, and nonbinary folks, to gather and collectively grow. This retreat is unique because it allows artists to participate flexibly and from home, it focuses on developing wellness practices in conjunction with creative practices, and it encourages solo work and mutual support in the same virtual space. Our mission is to instill artists with experiences and practices that promote wellness within their artistic lives by offering classes, activities, and discussions centered around wellbeing. We aim to counteract the trope that artists need to suffer to create great art, instead facilitating each artist’s process of discovering what they can do when they feel wholly balanced, nourished, rested, and healthful. We offer a variety of sessions to cultivate positive community building and personal exploration as artists develop healthy mindsets and habits to integrate within their creative practices.
The Meristem Artist Retreat is intended for early-career artists of all disciplines and focuses on artists of marginalized genders. All Meristem artists work in a professional capacity in their respective fields and are interested in the process-oriented community our retreat offers. Currently many of the retreat’s affiliate artists are based in New York City, but the virtual format has allowed artists to participate from disparate regions of the United States as well as internationally. In the future, as public gatherings become possible, we hope to create an in-person component of the retreat while maintaining the virtual community.
The application for the 2021 Meristem Virtual Artist retreat has closed. If you would like information on how to participate in future events hosted by Meristem Artists, please contact us at:
Our Past Retreat Offerings:
Our wellness classes are an integral component of our retreat experience. We offer various classes multiple times a week for each artist to participate in depending on their personal interests and availability. Artists have agency in choosing which classes they would like to participate in during each session.
Group Yoga and Meditation Classes
We offer group yoga and meditation classes led by a certified yoga instructor who crafts personalized lesson plans for the artists within our retreat; creating classes that are directly beneficial and applicable to their lives and practices as artists.
Taking Yoga off the Mat, Community Discussions
We work with a certified yoga instructor on delving further into the yogic philosophies and principles behind their physical asana practice to provide our artists with tangible ways they can take yoga off the mat into their daily lives.
Group Coaching Sessions
We partner with a certified Executive Leadership Performance Life Coach who works closely with artists and professionals of various disciplines to provide personalized group coaching sessions to the artists in our retreat. These sessions include various exercises to help our artists become more aware of their respective purposes and paths, remove the mental and emotional clutter to establish a deeper understanding of their intentions and align with their values. Artists are also invited to arrange private coaching sessions to discuss more of their personal goals with the coach.
Connected Working Sessions
Each artist can sign in from their home studio and work at the same time on their respective projects or work together on a collaborative project. This is a dedicated time for artists to incorporate into their personal schedules to focus on their work, working alongside other artists to foster a productive atmosphere.
Tea Times, Artist Shares & Studio Classes
These gatherings are reserved weekly spaces for our artists to gather and participate in a variety of activities with one another to foster community building and networking. Tea-Times can involve in-depth topic discussions from a list of topics of interest we build together during our first gathering, Listening/Watching Parties which are curated on a rotation so that each artist can present an artists work they are interested in and share it with their cohort, and casual chats and opportunities to catch up with one another and discuss their work. Additionally, some weeks we will offer the artists an opportunity to open their studios (during our Studio Class periods) to the group and present/share what they have been working on and get feedback from the other artists in their cohort both in and outside of their disciplines.
Invited Artist Talks
Twice a session, guest artists join us for a community talk in which we engage in an in-depth discussion on their work and life as an artist. These artist talks are open to the public, though all are required to register in order to attend. Following the talk, the artists within our retreat have the opportunity to engage more closely with our invited guests in masterclasses between themselves and their cohort. These are private events for the artists participating in the retreat. They will also have the option to have 1:1 lessons or conversations with our artists, to be scheduled based on our invited guests' availability.
We like to incorporate a variety of different activities to foster community building amongst each cohort and give each artist the space to interact with one another outside of their work. These activities are flexibly scheduled, and in the past have included movie nights, game nights, bake-a-longs, cook-a-longs, and more!
WHAT OUR PARTICIPANTS SAY
“Meristem has provided a beautiful support system for me and an inspiring space for introspection. I am grateful for the ways in which we can exchange ideas with one another, including thoughts and feelings around our own wellbeing, our creative aspirations and our personal growth. Embracing self care within this community is so freeing. Meristem has also illuminated ways for me to discover my creative flow-state and self-motivation.”
— Raquel Acevedo Klein, Conductor, Vocalist, Visual Artist