2009_05-6_Erickson_Morocco_922

Artists in the Atlas

March 23 to April 3, 2015

Take your creative spirit on a journey into the heart of Morocco; a land of inspiration, exoticism, awe-inspiring scenery, unique culture and graciously hospitable people.  For centuries it has been a muse for famed artists, writers, and designers such as Eugene Delacroix, Henri Matisse, Paul Bowles, William Burroughs and Jacques Majorelle. The heart of the trip will be in the Central High Atlas Mountains where you will discover a fascinating culture and understand the amazing challenges the Berber people face on a daily basis.

An inspiring adventure for creative spirits, and lovers of nature and foreign culture.

A 350 year old saint’s house in the village of Aguddim. Pastel by Ann Justin.

This trip is led by Plein Air artist Aaron Schuerr and Atlas Cultural Foundation vice president Ann Justin.

Read Aaron’s blog posts from last year’s trip here.

Contact: Cloe Medina Erickson, medinamorocco@gmail.com
Adventure Dates: March 23 to April 3, 11 days, 10 nights
Program Costs:

  • Trip: 4-5 people $2300/person, 6-7 people $1950/person, 8 + people $1800/person.
  • Single Supplement: $500
  • Plein Air Workshop Supplement: Series of demos, paint alongs, and evening critiques with Aaron Schuerr. $500 Contact Aaron Schuerr for details contact@aaronschuerr.com.

Deposit: $500 non-refundable deposit is required to secure a spot on the trip.
Final Payment Due: January 15, 2015 (See trip registration form for payment details.)
Active Trip: All participants must be physically fit and enjoy hiking in strenuous terrain and extreme weather.
Community Partner: Atlas Cultural Foundation, www.atlasculturalfoundation.org

Download Registration Form Here.

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Trip Overview
Take your creative spirit on a journey into the heart of Morocco; a land of inspiration, exoticism, awe-inspiring scenery, unique culture and graciously hospitable people.  For centuries it has been a muse for famed artists, writers, and designers such as Eugene Delacroix, Henri Matisse, Paul Bowles, William Burroughs and Jacques Majorelle.  Few places in the world will overwhelm your senses with contrasts as intense as Morocco’s sharp white sun against towering golden limestone cliffs; expansive vistas of palm trees framed in snow-capped peaks; slow-cooked dishes bursting with the flavor of preserved lemons, green olives and cumin; robed and hooded nomads traversing the desert alongside masses of camels, sheep and goats; and narrow, winding medieval streets bustling with merchants, artisans, storytellers and snake charmers. Come with us and we will guide you far from the trodden tourist circuit, deep into the heart of Morocco.  You will be immersed in an unforgettable and inspirational journey.

Cloe Medina Erickson, the president of the Atlas Cultural Foundation, will lead the trip. Erickson has spent the majority of the past decade in rural Morocco and speaks Arabic and Berber. You will be immersed in an intimate experience as a result of Erickson’s comfort in the culture and her extensive local contacts.

The trip starts and ends in historic Marrakesh, where you will not only visit the famous suqs (markets), and eat exquisite Moroccan cuisine, but will have the opportunity to paint landscapes framed by the snow capped Atlas Mountains. The heart of the trip will be in the Central High Atlas Mountains where you will discover a fascinating culture and understand the amazing challenges the Berber people face on a daily basis. Springtime highlights are snowy mountains framing blooming almond and apple trees; lush green valleys; and traditionally constructed mountain villages. You will also have the opportunity to spend a day doing an art workshop with the Atlas Cultural Foundation’s Elementary Tutoring Program in the remote region of Zawiya Ahansal. For those interested, the trip also includes an optional two-night excursion to the remote village of Taghia, accessible only by foot. You will meet the sheikh, tribal leader, of Zawiya Ahansal and take part in a goat slaughter and feast with traditional music.

What to Expect
Zawiya Ahansal is a remote and mountainous region located between 5,000 and 12,000 feet in Morocco’s Central High Atlas Mountains. It is a high desert region with temperature extremes in spring and summer ranging between 32 and 110 F.  Regional equivalents are the City of Rocks in Idaho and southern Utah.  Participants should be prepared and comfortable with hiking in all weather, including rain, wind, and heat and should be physically fit and able to hike in mountainous terrain. In addition, all participants will need to be physically able to work and hike at 6000 feet above sea level for an extended time. Participants will be interacting with locals and therefore should be comfortable with and respectful of Muslim culture.

Highlights

  • Paint landscapes of the High Atlas Mountains framing the historic city of Marrakesh.
  • Visit and teach an art workshop at the Atlas Cultural Foundation’s Elementary Tutoring Program.
  • Paint remote Berber villages in the Central High Atlas Mountains.
  • Explore the medieval marketplace of Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Meet with the traditional tribal leader, the sheikh, of Zawiya Ahansal.
  • Take part in a traditional goat slaughter and feast with traditional music.
  • Learn from renowned plein air artist Aaron Schuerr in a series of demos, paint-alongs, and evening critiques. (supplemental cost)

DAILY ITINERARY

Download Detailed Itinerary and Trip Details

Day 1 – Arrival Marrakesh, Morocco

  • PAINT: Minarets and rooftops of the historic medina.

Day 2 – Marrakesh Medina Tour
Immerse yourself in the mysteries of Marrakesh’s historic sites and famous gardens on a full-day guided tour with painting opportunities.

  • PAINT: Menara Gardens, olive orchard framed by snowy Atlas Mountains. Jardin Majorell, the home and gardens of the painter Majorelle. Streetlife in the markets.

Day 3 – Foothills of the Atlas Mountains, Zawiya Ahansal

  • PAINT : Cascades d’Ouzoud. Evening in Zawiya Ahansal.

Day 4 – Discover the Life of Rural Berbers, Tradition and Culture

  • PAINT: Traditionally constructed villages, granaries and saint’s houses, landscapes of mountains, rivers and fields.

Day 5 – Understanding Life in Remote Villages, Taghia and Tamdaroute

  • PAINT : Village life, Tamdaroute. Limestone springs, towering cliffs, village life, Taghia.

Day 6 – The village of Taghia

  • PAINT: Springs of the Ahansal River, Mount Oujdad and Taujdad, village life.

Day 7 – The Ahansal River Valley

  • PAINT: Early morning painting along Ahansal River. Afternoon painting in Amezray.

Day 8 – Zawiya Ahansal

  • PAINT: All day painting on your own.

Day 9 – Teach an art workshop at the Atlas Cultural Foundation Elementary Tutoring Program

PAINT: Art workshop at tutoring program, traditionally constructed villages, granaries and saint’s houses, landscapes of mountains, rivers and fields.

Day 10 – Zawiya Ahansal/Marrakesh’s Historic Suq (markets)

  • PAINT: Zawiya Ahansal, Marrakesh

Day 11 – Departure from Marrakech

INCLUDED IN THE COST

  • Private transfers to and from Marrakech airport.
  • 3 star hotels in Marrakech. Double occupancy with private bath and a/c.
  • Maison d’Hotes in Zawiya Ahansal.  Double occupancy with private bath. Single rooms available upon request and payment of a supplement.
  • Overnight in village of Taghia. Double occupancy guesthouse. (mattresses on floor)
  • Meals as indicated on itinerary (B,L,D).
  • Professional English, Arabic, and Berber speaking guides.
  • Private 4×4 or minibus/van transport with a/c.
  • Guided tour by licensed tour guide of Marrakech’s medieval markets.
  • Historic and architectural tour of the villages of Aguddim and Amezray by Cloe Erickson, president of the Atlas Cultural Foundation.

THIS TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Medical and travel insurance. Both are recommended. Proof of medical insurance is required.
  • Sleeping bag or sleep sack. (necessary for overnight to village of Taghia)
  • Alcoholic drinks, laundry, telephone charges and all items of personal nature.
  • Personal snacks (protein bars, jerky etc.).
  • International air travel.
  • Meals and drinks not specified in the itinerary.
  • Bottled and/or treated drinking water. Please bring a water treatment system and 2-1 liter reusable water bottles.
  • Meals in Marrakech. (breakfast is included with hotel)

OPTIONS YOU CAN ADD AT AN EXTRA COST

  • Traditional Moroccan hammam (bathhouse), spa services or cooking lessons.
  • Single supplement.
  • Extensions to coast, cities or mountains. Price will vary depending on extension length, location, and number of persons.
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