artvamp’s eco-friendly artist retreat

Artvamp founder Kristie Alshaibi is making plans to open a new artist retreat on her family’s 92 acre farm in northwest Missouri. The hope is to have the place running on 100% renewable energy within five years. The land is just outside the site of Missouri’s largest and most profitable wind farm.

There’s a clean natural spring running under the property, and the farm itself is a part the CRP conservation program set up to keep ground water clean and the land viable for future farming. The land has been farmed by Kristie’s family for over 100 years. It is the place that inspired Kristie as a young girl to begin shooting photographs – dressing dolls in her great grandmother’s dresses from the 19th century and setting them against a wild, rustic, magical backgrounds. It is the perfect space to find inspiration and solitude.

The materials from the old collapsed barn will be reused to build a large studio and rehearsal space, and the house will be remodeled with energy efficiency in mind. Volunteers are already lining up to help plant a large organic garden where vegetables will be grown and served fresh to artists in residence. Cherries and mulberries are among the fruit baring tress that dot the landscape.

The hope is to continue to develop the retreat to house up to eight artists at a time (for residencies lasting from two weeks to several months), in the main house and in several small cabins. More and better facilities will gradually be added, from kilns to multimedia computer suites. The site may also become home to seasonal celebrations (think all night bar-b-ques featuring a pit for cooking Masgouf – an Iraqi specialty).

A non-profit organization will be created to oversee the management of the artist retreat. There is currently a lien on the land because of of medical bills left behind by Kristie’s grandfather upon his passing. $100,000 still needs to be raised to release the lien and secure the deed. When this first step is accomplished, there will be nothing to stop the business plan from moving forward. Several organizations have already offered their assistance and resources to help bring this project into being. It is this initial hurdle that will make or break this dream.

Investors, loans, and fundraising ideas are all welcome at this time. Become a part of a project that benefits both the environment and the arts. If you know of a way to help, please don’t hestitate to contact Kristie at

nice bombs opens this week

Just a reminder that the Artvamp and Benzfilm Group documentary Nice Bombs opens in Chicago and New York this week! See below for theaters and showtimes.

The Pioneer Theatre
155 East 3rd Street- NY, NY
Tel: (212) 591-0434
Weds., July 11 @ 7pm & 9pm
Thurs., July 12 @ 9pm
Fri., July 13 @ 7pm & 9pm
Sat., July 14 @ 7pm & 9pm
Sun., July 15 @ 5pm & 9pm
Mon., July 16 @ 9pm
Tues., July 17 @ 9pm
Weds., July 18 @ 7pm
Thurs., July 19 @ 7pm
Fri., July 20 @ 7pm
Sat., July 21 @ 7pm
Sun., July 22 @ 7pm

The Gene Siskel Film Center
164 North State Street Chicago, Illinois 60601
Tel: 312-846-2600
*Director Usama Alshaibi will be in attendance for Q & A
Wednesday, July 11 @ 8:30pm
Monday, July 16 @ 8:15pm

For more info visit
nice bombs