Alcona Arts Retreat kicks off Thursday at Lost Lake Woods

Courtesy Photo The Alcona Arts Retreat happens Thursday to Sunday at the Lost Lake Woods Club in Lincoln. Watercolor instruction is one of the five classes offered during the retreat.

LINCOLN — Inspiration Alcona is holding the seventh annual Alcona Arts Retreat Thursday through Sunday.

Inspiration Alcona is a nonprofit arts organization that aims to develop the county through art and cultural activities centered around the beautiful scenery and welcoming community. The organization started after a local leadership conference hosted by the Michigan State University Extension encouraged participants to actually initiate a project and see it through. Inspiration Alcona was born with a nine-member board and many sponsors that have helped support their cause.

In 2012, Inspiration Alcona held an arts retreat as its first-ever event. The president of the organization, Will St. John, said the event has grown to include a variety of media.

“After some evolution, we now have visual arts in the retreat each year,” St. John said.

Hosted at the Lost Lake Woods Club, there are room packages available for interested attendees. St. John said many of the participants come from across the state to take one of the classes offered at the retreat. The instructors provide in-depth experiences meant to teach art lovers new skills to create their own masterpieces. This year, the retreat offers five classes. The dedicated curriculum allows particpants to sign up for only one.

Joan Schwartz will teach a class on mosaics, particularly focusing on wall relief. Participants will receive instruction on design elements as well as color choice and materials.

A pastels class will be led by award-winning pastel painter Helen Kleczynski.

Founder and Director of Plein Air Artists of West Michigan Richard Jordan is instructing plein air course for all mediums. This method focuses on working outdoors in order to encourage creativity.

Jewelry-making will be taught by certified instructor Colleen Wilson, and she will guide the class in making pendants, earring sets, and other small jewelry pieces.

Laura Whitesides will be teaching the popular experimental watercolor class, which is currently full.

There is still available space in four of the classes with a registration fee of $225 and an additional materials fee for some. All skill levels are welcome to join.

The retreat will start Thursday evening with a mixer at 7 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, workshops for each class will run from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. On Sunday, there will be a final session in the morning before a farewell cookout at the lakeside. St. John said the retreat is a wonderful way to enjoy the last days of the season.

“It’s a great way to extend your summer and learn something,” he said. “And it’s a beautiful setting.”

Those who want to attend can sign up and pay online at or call 989-736-3000 for more information.

To make lodging arrangements at Lost Lake Woods, call 989-736-8197.

Kaitlin Ryan can be reached at or at 358-5693.