“At The Bardolino Artists Retreat we have various forms of creativity,” Jennifer Schormann, creator of the retreat explains. “The vision is healing through creativity,” she adds. “It doesn’t mean you need to be broken, it is really just about personal development and self-expression.”
The purpose of the retreat is to create a space for diverse artists to live and work in one environment. Bardolino promotes a conscious and sustainable lifestyle by offering everything from dance, storytelling, music and art therapy to meditation sessions and personal development workshops.
Jennifer collaborates with various artists and provides them with a space to run these workshops. “Wynand Marais, for example, runs the dance studio offering Ballroom and Latin dance classes. He and his wife Ilse, from the band Havanna; live on site and also offer the drumming, singing and piano lessons.”
It is obvious that Jennifer has a passion for arts, crafts and sustainable developmental work. She has a tourism background and has offered tourism development training and facilitating for a wide variety of students. She has trained over 7000 people; young and old, from all walks of life.
Bardolino is currently moving towards an off the grid farm; they have their own organic veggie garden and they are looking into water catchment options. They already offer nature walks to the labyrinth, and would like to start a little nature reserve soon. “We are wanting to plant more indigenous trees and medicinal plants – labelling them, so that it becomes an informative nature walk – for kids, but also for other people who come out to the retreat.”
Jennifer also has a big interest in early childhood development. She believes that it is important to have the tools, like creativity, available in order to unpack trauma; whether you are a child or a grown-up.
Bardolino is also jumping on board with Spark Festival 2018. Jennifer is overseeing a school art project where the Crocodile Catchment Basin will be represented by a life-size three dimensional interactive art installation, made out of recycled plastic bottles.
The artwork will be roughly 10 meters in length, 4 meters wide and 3 meters high and will allow people to walk through the river, underwater, as the components are loose elements that are hung into the instillation. Jennifer is tackling the artwork as part of The Bardolino Foundation, the outreach section of The Bardolino Artists Retreat, and she will be assisting school children from local schools in making water plants, animals, fish, crabs and currents – the entire river – all from recycled plastic. Pupils from Pro Gratia Learning Centre, the special needs school on the property, will also be involved.
For a previous project in 2010, Jennifer worked with 200 children to create a 40 meters long and 2,3 metres high art mural made from broken glass at Mbombela Stadium, which they completed in one month. “I still get phone calls from kids who worked on that project at the stadium,” Jennifer explains enthusiastically. “And they say: ‘I am standing in front of OUR wall!’. There is a sense of ownership and longevity in that, it will be there for years.”
“A lot of what we are doing here focuses on personal growth, using creativity,” Jennifer explains. She adds that it is about making use of both the left and the right side of the brain to carry messages and lessons across. “It is also about using practical art making to teach children about environmental issues,” she continues, with a sparkle in her eye. “It is about creating a platform for opening up discussions”.
Be sure not to miss Bardolino’s school art project at Spark Festival, from 2 – 4 March at Penryn College. Buy your tickets here: http://www.sparkfestival.co.za/buy-tickets/