Imagine yourself on a Vacation With an Artist

Mauricio Kolenc in his studio in Montevideo, Uruguay

What on Earth beats the relaxing feeling of lying on the beach, soaking in the sun?

As it turns out, when it comes to vacation experiences, plenty of things: How about the texture of clay between your hands as you survey the lush foothills of Slovenia? Or the satisfaction of learning how to speak another language that requires no words -- like the language of tango -- in Argentina? What about practicing meditation as you learn the intricate art of Ikebana in idyllic Kyoto?

For the extraordinary traveler -- the adventurous, curious, fearless, and passionate -- this is where VAWAA comes in.

You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers. Read on to learn about VAWAA, our mission, and how to get more out of your next vacation than a really sweet tan.

1. VAWAA is a super fun word to say, and I love acronyms... but what is it, exactly?

VAWAA stands for Vacation With an Artist. We facilitate vacation experiences with artists all over the world -- everything from bamboo bicycle-making to calligraphy, photography, printmaking, woodwork, music production, writing, and street art. Think of VAWAA as a series of private, mini-apprenticeships with a master artist in an exotic city. Name your passion, and there’s a VAWAA experience that awaits.

VAWAA guests get a glimpse inside the artist’s everyday life while learning a skill and exploring local culture via the lens of creativity. Vacations range from 10 to 60 hours over the course of four to seven days, and they’re typically held in the artist’s workspace.

2. I’m a unique snowflake. Is there a standard or formulaic approach to a VAWAA experience?

One of the best elements of VAWAA is that there is no “typical” experience. VAWAA guests come from diverse cultural backgrounds, and they bring unique perspectives to the studio, which means that the artists with whom they visit learn just as much in return.

As artists, VAWAA hosts know that no two minds or learning styles are alike. Individualism is an artform in and of itself. This means that there is no standardized itinerary. Some people come into a five-day vacation with a specific, ambitious project in mind, while others are seeking more defined direction. Sometimes guests and artists end up collaborating on projects over the course of the vacation, or even after their VAWAA time together.

In most cases, guests experience every stage of the creative process: from accompanying artists to the local market or store to purchase materials, to learning how to work with new mediums, to creating a tangible project from scratch that they’ll treasure for years to come -- a truly immersive way of seeing a work of art come to life.

3. I don’t want to spend my vacation swatting away tourists. How does VAWAA let me experience the world in an immersive way, at my own pace?

Another element that makes VAWAA special is the intimacy of the experience. In a one-on-one setting, artists are able to more effectively adjust vacations to each guest’s learning styles, speed, and preferences.

Currently, VAWAA experiences are intended for solo or couple travelers -- meaning no large groups that will distract from the overall experience of immersing into the artist’s world. Some types of VAWAA events may be intended for larger groups -- stay tuned to the site for updates on these types of gatherings.

4. How is VAWAA different from just signing up for a local class -- and what am I getting for my money?

VAWAA is about far more than simply signing up for an art class. It’s an experience that enables creative travelers and artists to spend quality time together exchanging ideas, learning about one another’s culture, and bringing a small amount of beauty into the world.

The cost of each VAWAA experience varies, based on a number of factors: the amount of studio time, the cost of materials, the location, the duration, and the artist.

It’s also worth noting that most of the money you’re paying for a VAWAA experience goes directly to the artist -- we only charge a small service fee. The price include the artist’s time, use of studio equipment, materials -- and not to mention, you’ll return home with a memorable story and a handmade, creative piece that’s worth far more than something casually picked off a shelf.

In general, accommodation is not included in the price of a vacation -- as VAWAA guests have varying styles of independent travel, we figure it’s best to leave such personal decisions to their discretion. That said, certain VAWAA experiences that occur in particularly remote areas do include hotel or transportation costs.

You can find the price of a vacation, as well as what’s included, when you visit an artist’s profile on the VAWAA site.

5. The last time I worked on an art project was finger painting in kindergarten. Can I still go on a VAWAA trip? 

Absolutely. Vacation With an Artist is an inclusive experience, intended for creatively minded people across the entire spectrum of professional fields and personal interests. We’ve had plenty of guests who work in creative industries -- but we’ve also hosted guests who spend their workdays in a lab coat, with virtually zero artistic experience under their belt.

6. Will I have any free time to explore [nature, museums, dive bars, haunted castles, seedy EDM clubs] during my vacation?

Definitely -- in fact, you’ll likely spend time exploring around town with the artist as you delve into their daily life and creative process. Each vacation is designed to give you enough free time to explore on your own, as well; you’ll spend four to seven hours per day in the studio, leaving the rest of your vacation free for whatever adventures your heart desires -- no judgment from us.

Part of the immersive VAWAA experience is being able to take the learnings from the studio out into the city or country you’re exploring. For example, once you have a grasp of fileteado in Buenos Aires, you’re almost guaranteed to see the artform nearly everywhere you set foot in the city -- and you’ll view it with a greater sense of appreciation than if you’d learned about it in an offhand way as part of a generic tour group.

Art is one of the most authentic expressions of culture -- and experimenting with it firsthand is one way to take your travels to a whole new level of immersion.

7. I’m interested in the concept of Vacation With an Artist, but I don’t see any trips that currently spark my interest. Will you be adding more artists or vacations soon?

We’re so glad you asked. We’re currently in the midst of expanding VAWAA’s offerings, so be sure to check back periodically to see if something that’s more up your alley has been added to our list of vacations. You can also join our email list in order to stay apprised of the latest VAWAA news.

8. How do I book a vacation with an artist?

It’s simple. Pick an artist that piques your interest, and send a booking request with your preferred travel dates. We’ll let you know if those dates are available -- if they’re not, we’ll find a way to work with your schedule. We’ll be around to field any personal requests at any stage of the process.

Pay by credit card to confirm your booking, and start packing your bags.

Imagine yourself on a Vacation With an Artist by checking out a few VAWAA guests' stories, or email us at hello@vawaa.com to learn more.

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