Downs in the Desert: An Artist Retreat

Posted On July 21, 2017

In early July, Welch faculty William Downs flew out to New Mexico to lead a workshop at Takoja for their annual artist retreat.  Takoja’s mission is to be “a sanctuary where all individuals are welcome to explore their path of personal, spiritual, and social growth through creativity, sustainability, and respect for all traditions.” A site of grand, natural beauty, Takoja offers artists retreats, workshops, and camps that place an emphasis on creativity and connection to the land.

Downs was invited by a friend to lead a workshop titled “Drawing as Spiritual and Ritual.” The workshop is designed to be a rich experience, a collaboration with all of the five senses of the body. Downs focused his instruction on drawing in dry and mixed media, and work that responded to the landscape of the desert. He hopes to bring more artists to Takoja for next year’s iteration, but he also shared bigger plans for the site: “I am working and brainstorming with the organizers on making a residence program that is very much like the Headlands Center for the Arts. We want artists to be here year around.”

To learn more about the institute and Down’s workshop, visit the website.

William Downs was born in Greenville SC, his works in a range of mediums, but he focuses primarily on drawing. Currently he is a Lecturer in Drawing and Painting at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta GA. He received a Multidisciplinary MFA from the Mount Royal School of Art at Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA in Painting and Printmaking at the Atlanta College of Art and Design. Downs taught Foundation Drawing at MICA 2003-2010. He has also taught at Parsons/ New School for Design, The Cooper Union and Tulane University. His work has been presented at numerous venues in the Us and abroad. Downs is apart of three Major exhibitions Black Pulp! which is traveling to the Contemporary Museum in Tampa FL, Art Aids America which is showing at the Alphawood Foundation in Chicago IL and Third Space: shifting conversations about Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. | IG: @repair374