Through the Looking Glass to Last Year’s Muse

Muse-lgbt-queer-arts-retreat-workshopIt’s the beginning of spring and in the mornings the fog lays low and heavy across the redwoods. A group of queer artists are gathered on the dining hall deck, coffee in hand, as Rik Lee demonstrates how to create little plaster trolls from some casts he has brought. Inside, Thor and Joe lead a guided discussion on how to talk about impact as artists, looking glamorous in their wigs and lashes. Some listen and take notes while others take it in while they knit or weave. It’s March 2016 and it’s our second annual Muse, a retreat for queer creatives.

Muse-lgbt-queer-arts-retreat-weavingMuse is our first big event of the year, with more than 60 people attending last year. We created it to build a space for LGBTQ* artists of all types to come together, share art, grow skills, and be inspired. Art has the potential to inspire all of us towards a better world, and we feel by helping queer artists grow stronger we can help them create a larger impact in the world. And, it’s been a smashing success. People leave Muse feeling a renewed excitement for their art, with new ideas brewing, and access to new friends and resources.

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Bees & Cheese at Groundswell

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Bees & Cheese
Talk, Tour & Tasting
Sunday April 3, 2016 2-5pm

Join BeeRepair at Groundswell for an afternoon farm experience. You’ll get a tour of the layered animal systems  which include alpacas, llamas, goats, chickens and rabbits, followed by a talk on honeybees and native pollinators, and finishing with a meet and greet and tasting with farm fresh snacks including cultured butter, cheese, jam, honey and mead. $10-25 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds. Purchase tickets in advance at or at the door. Friends from out of town can stay for dinner and sleep overnight at Groundswell on a donation basis, RSVP for overnight stays appreciated.

BeeRepair, a project of natural Beekeeper K.Ruby Blume, promotes the health and well being of honey bees and native bees through education, consultation and hands-on services. Learn more at

K.Ruby Blume is a beekeeper, educator, gardener author and artist working 100% treatment free in alternative hive systems since 1997. Ms Blume is founder and director of The Institute of Urban Homesteading and co-author of the book Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living Ms Blume lives, loves & farms on 1/10th of an acre in Oakland CA.

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An Inspiring Treat for Queer Creatives

Groundswell Institute is  a place for queers to come and be MUSE: Inspire 2016 Queer Creative Retreatinspired. Whether this be inspiration to seek community, creativity, or connection with nature, we hope that to be a space for these explorations. With MUSE, our annual retreat for queer creatives, we will delve deep with our theme “Inspire.”

What gets you all artistically hot and bothered?

Who helped inspire your queer artistry?

Where do you go to seek inspiration?

MUSE is a one-of-a-kind retreat for queer creatives of all types. No matter what your art or skill level you are welcome.

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A look back to the West Coast Communities Conference

Cassandra gives the opening presentation for the conference

Cassandra gives the opening presentation for the conference

We will be working up a series of posts reflecting back on our first year of programs and gatherings here at Groundswell. We decided that we would start not at the beginning, but rather at the end of the year, with our most recent original program, the West Coast Communities Conference. This gathering was unique for us, in that it was both more workshop focused and also our only program not focused on the LGBTQ community (though plenty of the community was there). Read more