The Keys 4 Art - my take

I have been sending you to other sites to read about this art retreat, knowing that other people could tell you about the art and the excitement and show you pictures way better than I ever could. However, there are a few things I would like to say that no one else is saying.

First of all, I want to make clear that The Keys 4 Art is not an ordinary retreat that just anyone can go to if they have the time and money, like a Teesha Moore Artfest or a Tim Holtz cruise. This was more like those Agatha Christie novels where the titled lady invites a curious collection of amusing guests to spend the weekend at her country estate, except instead of being at an English country estate, we were in Elena’s home in Key Largo, and instead of getting murdered one by one, we made art all together. Being invited was a privilege extended to a precious few who all feel very lucky for being chosen, and I can’t think of a surer way to guarantee that I never get asked back than to demand to come to the next one. If you have been emailing Elena and saying, “Pick me! I want to come next year!”, I’m pretty sure you just shot yourself in the foot.

I have to say that Jacquie and Elena are two of the most gracious, expansive women I have ever met. I really enjoyed the private time I spent chatting with Jacquie in her Miami Beach apartment while all the red-eye fliers were catching naps. I enjoyed meeting Al (Jacquie’s husband) and Bernie (Elena’s husband), and the other members of Elena’s family, too. There was never a moment when I was allowed to be hungry or thirsty or hot or cold or bored. The only disagreeable being I met the whole time I was there was Pancho (the parrot), but he reminded me of my youngest, so that was okay, too.

I could not have asked to be a part of a nicer group of ladies, either. Eileen got the coffee brewing first thing in the morning, and Gina worked her mad blender skills (margaritas!) in the evening. Everyone shared what they had, whether it was skills like Jen and her drawing or Elena and her bookbinding, or supplies and ideas, and I must have heard a hundred stories, from Patty and her chickens to Jacquie and her orphans (no, I’m not comparing chickens to orphans). Valerie filled every possible spare moment with more projects and more ideas. I was buried under an avalanche of gifts, physical and emotional and intellectual, and struggled to express my gratitude. Inspiration flowed like Cuban coffee, and all I wanted was more time to do everything that was spinning around in my head. I was very much awed by everything that was being created around me, and wondered how I ever got to enjoy the company of such brilliant souls.

These were four days of my life that will have no equal. The very worst part was that it had to end.

Juliet Arrighi


Beach Cat ! said...

I really enjoyed reading the details of your incredible weekend.

Vicky said...

wow! how fun that sounds :)

Shelly Schmidt said...

I did jot over and read the link you gave with pictures- WOW- looks like just what you are describing-paradise plus art!!! You are very talented- I know that and so do they- I am not suprised they chose you either. Glad to hear it was fabulous and I really enjoyed reading the write up! Welcome home. I look forward to catching up with you once you catch up and laundry and all.....