Artists’ Mini-Retreat & Salon

Are you an artist who could use some time set aside for your own artistic practice? Would you value the opportunity to build a community of creative folk around cocktails and conversation?

Then mark your calendar, call in sick to work, and dedicate a day to your artistic practice or project at our Artists’ Mini-Retreat and Salon. After an afternoon of independent creative time, we’ll gather together for an informal sharing session and discussion.

Past participants have: cross-stitched, collaged, edited novels, translated plays, read tarot, sketched, danced, practiced falling down stairs in slow motion… anything goes!

Leigh Rondon-Davis at the teacher’s desk in the Port Costa School


Writers – Actors – Dancers – Illustrators – Musicians – You & Others you Invite


You’re invited to spend a creative day at the Port Costa Schoolhouse — away from distractions like your phone, the internet, that pesky day-job, pets, family, laundry, etc. You can write, draw, paint, sing, move, dance, noodle… whatever. Come and go as you please throughout the day. We’ll have snacks and a ‘chatting room’ available; you can also hike or bike the lovely hills along the Carquinez Strait.

In the late afternoon, we’ll gather to share works-in-progress, challenges, delights, and questions. Then we’ll move down the street to the Bull Valley Roadhouse for their Wednesday night pop-up cocktail lounge, the Dram Shop, where we’ll continue our discussion over drinks and/or dinner (please bring extra dollars for the Dram Shop).

Port Costa is closer than you think — about a 40-minute drive from the Bay Bridge with average traffic — but far, far away from all the things you’re “supposed” to be doing.

All art forms are welcome. In order to create an environment with minimal distraction throughout, this retreat is best suited to art practices that don’t need a lot of set-up or make a lot of noise… but get creative! You could practice your monologue, scene, or acoustic instrument outdoors; bring headphones for your amp or electric piano; or take some extra time to set up a mini painting studio.



Port Costa School House, 1 Plaza Del Hambre, Port Costa, CA
(at the intersection of Reservoir Street & Canyon Lake Drive)
Interested in carpooling? Drop a line to and we’ll hook you up.


Dates will be sent via email or Facebook invitation. For your invite, please email or contact us on Facebook. Here’s what to expect on the day:

11:30am – 12noon: Arrival @ School House
We’ll set up kitchen area for snacking & chatting
Find your favorite spot to work
12noon – 4pm: Self-Directed Work / Studio Time
This is your time to be creative! You do you; use the time as you see fit to direct your own artistic endeavors; come and go as you need.
4pm (ish): Gathering & Sharing Session
Those who wish can share some of what they’ve been working on, challenges they’re facing, or pose questions to the group; we’ll also have some provocations / open-ended questions to spur discussion.
5:30pm (approximately): Salon @ Dram Shop at the Bull Valley Roadhouse
We’ll move to the Bull Valley Roadhouse in downtown Port Costa to continue the conversation over cocktails! (the Dram Shop goes ’til 9pm, but you can leave any time)

Please note that it is OK to come and go throughout the day, or to join partway through. If you are arriving after noon, be sure to RSVP in advance so that we can let you know how to find us.


Space – Time – Solitude – Community – Conversation – Cocktails

how much

$15 Suggested Donation to defray the cost of snacks, and to support Idiot String and the Port Costa Conservation Society; no one turned away for lack of funds.

about the space

Port Costa’s historic 1911 Schoolhouse is lovingly preserved and maintained by the Port Costa Conservation Society as a community space. The building has plenty of interesting nooks, passageways and rooms where you can set up yourself and your project. The main rooms are:

  • Two “studio” spaces with wood floors (one with a mirror; the other quite large)
  • Vintage classroom with many old-school school desks
  • Small library with a big table in it
  • Carpeted room (good for yoga or stretching)
  • Kitchen with fridge
  • Meeting room (carpeted) with tables


  • Snacks, Coffee, Tea, and LaCroix
  • WiFi (please note that cell service is unreliable in the school building, however)
  • Folding chairs and tables
  • Some blankets for coziness
  • A spontaneous artistic community
  • Great conversation
  • Space to create


  • A bag lunch (there’s a fridge, but no nearby cafes)
  • Your art supplies, and anything you might need to prevent your making a mess with said supplies (drop cloths, etc)
  • LAYERS! It’s a drafty building.
  • Other stuff for your comfort: such as yoga mat, pillow, earplugs, etc.
  • Cash or credit cards for cocktails and/or food at the Dram Shop


For details, more information, or to RSVP, please email or contact Artistic Director Rebecca Longworth.