Light Into Matter 2019

DATES: June 4 - 14, 2019
INSTRUCTORS: James Hajicek, Carol Panaro-Smith & Mary Kay Zeeb
LOCATION: Villa San Rocco, Benabbio, Italy
COST: $3,275 private room- 2,975 shared

How do we bring light into what matters? This workshop creates space to imagine just that – personally and collectively. Visual art experiences, facilitated by Carol Panaro-Smith and James Hajicek and experiences in writing facilitated by Mary Kay Zeeb, serve as the foundation of this 10-day workshop. Daily art practices will become a way of connecting to our voice, and each other– all this taking place at Villa San Rocco, a Baroque villa situated in a medieval village in the rural hills of Tuscany, Italy. Included are daily group gatherings along with opportunities to explore the landscape, food, and culture of this beautiful region.

  • The visual art sessions include cyanotype printing, mixed media & pinhole photography. You will be experimenting with a variety of techniques and materials. Prompts and exercises are offered as a way to explore ideas and materials. Dedicated instruction and open studio allow for development of a specific project or an opportunity to play with multiple mediums. No previous visual art experience is required.
  • Small-group writing sessions are simple experiments with content and form. You will experience guided protocols for composing, sharing, and giving feedback. No previous writing experience is required. Various levels are beneficial for this kind of writing community.
  • A morning gathering to inspire, reflect, and move the body.
  • Group shares scheduled throughout the 10 days to share our stories and works in progress.
  • A full day outing to the historic city of Lucca, followed by a pizza dinner in Bagni di Lucca.
  • A full “free day” (meals not provided) to travel locally or work in the open studios.
  • Self serve breakfast & communal lunches each day and most dinners
  • A private room – shared room options at a lower cost are available on a limited basis.
  • Access to a 14th century monastic studio 24/7 with a wide array of supplied materials
  • A final art show to celebrate your work
  • Pick up and drop off at the Florence airport ( airfare to and from Florence not included)


You will be asked to complete a simple application and include a check made out to Alchemy Studio in the amount of $500 as soon as you have decided that you are serious about attending this workshop. The faculty will review all applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Accepted applicants will be notified soon after receipt of their applications. This will reserve your spot in the workshop.

For alumni, we invite you to return to deepen your chosen art practice. You will have the opportunity to concentrate on an area with focus and dedicated time with Carol, James, or Mary Kay. Please contact for details and cost.

If you need financial support, please contact us for more information.

CANCELLATION POLICY All deposits and payments will be refunded in full if the workshop does not make minimum enrollment and is cancelled. If you cancel before March 15th: 100% of deposit less $50 administrative fee will be refunded. If you cancel before April 4th: 90% of tuition will be refunded. If you cancel within 4 weeks of start of workshop refunds will be offered only if your space can be filled.   Adjustments to the above policies can be made if cancellation is the result of immediate personal or family emergencies.