The Gardarev Center was born out of the desire to support socially engaged creatively artists and thinkers who can benefit from the extended silence found on spiritual retreats and uninterrupted time to focus on their own projects. I have had the good fortune to be invited to many artist residencies. Each time, isolated from everyday distractions, I have been able to produce some of my best work. While the Gardarev Center operates on a limited budget offering a small number of very simple accommodations, we hope to create a similar experience for our fellows, and to dialogue with the public about the role that their work, and the arts in general, can play in creating social change.

About Founder Toni Lester. Toni Lester is a writer, activist, and creative artist whose written work explores the interconnections between various forms of marginalized identities, spirituality, creativity and nature.  She has produced features for National Public Radio, and written for many publications, including Inquiring Mind and Turning Wheel – The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism.  Lester has degrees from Georgetown University, the New England Conservatory, and Northeastern University.  With a plus 40 year meditation practice, she has offered workshops on mindfulness and our connection to nature, creativity, activism, technology and artistic creation at such places as East Bay Meditation Center, Washington DC Insight Medication Community, Nirodha Insight Meditation Community, the Unitarian Church, and Spirit in Action.