Most “creative retreats” take place precisely where you’d expect: near the mountains, in the woods, by bodies of water. These areas blessed by Mother Nature are, well, naturally inspiring for artists, makers, and otherwise imaginative people. Helen Rice, owner of Willow – An Artisan’s Market in historic downtown Littleton, doesn’t believe you need to travel that far to get the creative juices flowing. She founded Art Makers Denver, an urban art retreat (September 14–16), to “rebrand” the traditional art retreat into something closer to home.

Fifteen instructors—nine are Colorado-based artists (among them: Lonnie Hanzon, who is responsible for the “Evolution of the Ball” arch near Coors Field)—will lead three days of workshops at McNichols Civic Center Building. Each day’s seminars will be slightly different, so if you’re enamored with one artist and attend his or her class three times, you’ll learn something new each day. The wide variety of workshops will cover everything from basic 3-D drawing to watercolor to building mixed-media works. “I’m not an artist, but I like being creative,” Rice says. “A lot of people who do [these retreats] are artists, but they get in a creative rut. This is an artistic broadening.”

Art Makers costs $595 for the full three days; the price includes lunch and end-of-day soirees. (People who can’t commit to the full experience can also sign up for single-day registration for $225.) Registration is open through June 30.

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Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at