Artist Residency in Provence Creativity in an Olive Mill
Provence Invites Creativity
Driving through towards Moulin de Gréoux, a soft evening light brushed the limestone spires of the Alpilles. At the same time, the olive groves and vineyards near Les Baux de Provence and Maussane created a multi-hued quilt of green vegetation. I did wonder how one might capture those shades on canvas and was about to find out.
Moulin de Gréoux, a 17th-century olive mill, is now a centre for artist’s retreats. In the heart of this place that so inspired Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gaugin, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and many others, the NG Creative Residency invites artists worldwide.
NG Art Creative Residency is a not-for-profit association founded by Nicky Ginsberg. Working alongside Nicky Ginsberg is Edwin Holder-Vale, a talented emerging artist who loves to bake bread. Together they aim to provide a venue that nourishes the five senses and inspires creativity within each visiting artist/writer/photographer.
Multi-disciplinary artists are encouraged to apply for residency at Moulin de Gréoux. The recommended length of stay is 3, 4 or 6 weeks. However, there is always flexibility for special projects and travel schedules.
Moulin de Gréoux supports a maximum of six (6) residents in a combination of private rooms, shared accommodation and a self-contained stone cottage aptly called “maison des ami” (house of friends). Please note, with Covid-19 protocols, the number of residents is reduced to a maximum of four (4) to allow for appropriate social distancing.
While in residence, artists are encouraged to dedicate their time to the project(s) that they identified in their applications. However, Ginsberg urges residents to explore the region and scenery that has inspired so many famous artists over the years. During each artist’s stay, they can expect “Mentorship – Nurturing creative expression and the ongoing guidance and support of Nicky Ginsberg.”
Included in the cost of the residency are delicious Provencal-style meals (breakfast and dinner). According to Ginsberg, meal planning, preparation and presentation are her blank canvas. Developing creative and delicious menus for the dining table is a food lover’s challenge that she gladly assumes with ease leveraging her experience of launching and operating several Sydney, Australia restaurants. Having sampled her creations, I confirm that she is indeed a very accomplished cook.
By design, Moulin de Gréoux does not look like much from the road. Located on Route de Gréoux, a route leading to Maussane-les-Alpilles, it would be easy to miss the fact that a beautifully restored home sits behind what looks like a rustic agricultural wall. Just a 2o-minute walk from the charming village of Maussane, the olive mill was operational until 1914. Subsequent owners converted utilitarian farm structures into a grand home with a gourmet kitchen and indoor swimming pool. The artist’s atelier was, until very recently, a shelter for farm animals.
Step through the impressive wooden doors into a bright gallery with vaulted ceilings and limestone walls. A filtered natural light creates the perfect setting for displaying artwork. It’s been a little over a year since Ginsberg and Holder-Vale purchased the property and began filling the rooms with vintage finds from brocantes. The common areas are available for artists to use at their leisure.
Artists in residence have ample workspace within the workshop. The studio is bright with adequate light and wall space for mounting work-in-progress. In addition, the atelier has a small kitchenette for use by artists needing a quick meal or hot drink. Finally, should anyone wish to work en plein air, the possibilities are endless.
A Good Night’s Sleep
Although one of the artists we met was experimenting with painting in the plein air at night, most seemed to prefer early to bed and early to rise routines. Several room options exist at the Moulin, from a self-contained cottage (Maison des Ami – The Forge) to Olive, a private room with an ensuite to Rosemary and Thyme that share a bathroom. Each room is equipped with comfortable furnishings providing the promise of restful sleep.
NG Art Creative Founder
Involved in the art world and emerging artistic talent for over 30 years, Nicky Ginsberg brings her expertise to Provence. Born in the United Kingdom, Ginsberg ended up in Sydney, Australia, after a stint in France. Over that period, her art history background, understanding of the commercial aspects of buying and selling art, and marketing talent led her to establish Sydney-based NG Art Gallery.
However, nurturing up-and-coming artists was only part of the puzzle. Ginsberg was the instrumental force behind a visionary group of residents who changed Sydney’s Chippendale Precinct, an underwhelming inner-city neighbourhood, into a thriving art and cultural district. Today, the Chippendale Creative Precinct is a “must-visit” destination in Australia for art, food and history lovers.
In 2016, during some holiday travel, Ginsberg decided to visit two artist residencies where recipients of the Chippendale World Art Residency Award had chosen to spend their time and advance their work. Located in Assisi, Italy and Kefalonia, Greece, the two residencies were utterly different. Yet, both sites influenced Ginsberg to take the personal and professional leap and build her artistic incubator ~ NG Art Creative Residency.
NG Art Creative is an incubator where artists gather for creative inspiration in the Alpilles. This artist residency in one of the most beautiful areas of Provence is a continuation of Nick Ginsberg’s desire to impact the global art scene.
Explore the Details
NG Art Creative (website)
Moulin de Gréoux,
Application details here
NG Art Creative is open all year round.
There are four different subsidised packages available with a preference for 3-, 4- or 6-week residencies. Travel expenses and creative project supplies are the sole responsibility of the artist.
What’s included in the residency?
- Comfortable accommodation
- Ground transportation – Pick-up/drop-off service from Avignon TGV to Maussane
- Full use of a car for the duration of stay
- Bicycles are provided for use as desired
- Wifi internet access
- Access to a laundry area
- Home away from home facilities – Gallery, living room, dining room, piano room, study, arts library, kitchen, indoor swimming pool, terrace and garden, a large, shared studio and outdoor area for en plein air activities.
- Generous studio space includes workstations, a projector and easels.
- Half-board meal program (breakfast and dinner) with a farm-to-table approach. This includes communal dinners, 2 x week hosted dinners, buffet and special breakfasts.
- Regular soirées and performance evenings
- Professional development and mentorship
- Commercial art world guidance
- Participation in seasonal studio exhibitions
- Gallery exhibitions by special invitation (solo)
- Networking and collaboration
- Cultural exchange and international exposure
- Residency outings to cultural places of interest
Image credits: The photos provided by and published with the permission of NG Art Creative Residency.