A place where artists leave a trace

A place for meeting and inspiration. Source of development of artistic and creative activities of great quality, with communication back and forth from various art diciplines: visual arts, music, dance and theatre.

Centre for Art and Culture Droiteval

A creative adventure in a magical environment

The Artscentre, located in the French Vosges in the Hamlet Droiteval, (municipality Claudon) offers many opportunities for an artistic stay residence in an eminently inspiring area. The Centre d'Art et Culture Droiteval is housed in an old listed building. formerly part of the Cistercienze Abbey Droiteval, dating from the 12th century and later turned into a monastery complex.



The Abbey of Our Lady of Droiteval is an ancient abbey of the twelfth century located in the French town of Claudon , in the southwestern department of the Vosges , in the heart of the forest of Darney .

• 1130: Foundation of the Abbey Cistercian of Droiteval by Lord Aubert Darney. First abbess: Elizabeth until 1144.
• 1426: Last abbess Sister Jeanne, surnamed Bourgeoise of Besançon and temporary abandonment of the abbey.
• 1450 Droiteval became a priory with John as first prior to the March.
• 1709: Appointment of a new prior Dom Antoine Girard who almost entirely rebuilt the priory and installed in the abbey a glass factory.
• 1767: Appointment of the last prior Dom Etienne de Fontenoy (deceased in 1792) and to assist the Dom Louis Francis of Hennezel, son of master glass-blower of La Rochère.
• 1790 Nationalization of Church property during the Revolution .
• 1792: Sale of domain Droiteval for 28,000 pounds to a farmer Joseph Drouot Darney .
• 1796: Acquisition by Louis Alexis Irroy of Fontenoy-le-Château who will create an iron forge in the old mill of the monks. The churchserves as a warehouse, the priory and outbuildings are used as accommodation for the workers.
• 1816: Acquisition by Jean Baptiste Jacquinot. Transformation into a factory producing scythes and gradually becomes a true industrial empire.
• 1850: Complete restoration of the church.
• 1905: Sale of the domain to Louis Tinchant and new restoration of the priory and church.
• 1935: Installation of a minor seminary .
• 1939-1945: Requisition of buildings to serve as a hospice .
• 1946: Boardingschool of the Committee of social work of the French Resistance  Organizations.
• 1987: Droiteval becomes completely family owned.
• 2000: Inauguration in the church of a Haerpfer organ consisting 3800 pipes, formerly installed in the Poirel room in Nancy .
• 2004: Transfer of a part of the assets where several painters and sculptors are settled.
Foundation of the Center for Art and Culture Droiteval (association) Subject: maintain, enhance and support a part of the site through artistic creation. The Studio l´Oiseau Libre: Home with accommodation for painting courses, sculpture, engraving, mosaic, etc.


The art center organizes during the summer exhibitions and installations of modern and contemporary art, in the exhibition halls, crypt and in the sculpture garden.

Courses: painting, graphics, mosaic, sculpture, land art, etc., for adults, locally, nationally and internationally, with or without overnight stays in the guestrooms on the spot.
The art centre welcomes artists in Residence to acquire a personal task, individually or in groups.

Over the whole year, the art centre organizes weekly painting courses and in the crypt: concerts, music bar, open stage and art fairs.
The crypt is a vaulted hall, suitable for 50 people, with a small stage with lighting and a modest sound system.

This hall and the activity halls are for rent. For more information, please contact us!

The Inner Artist (14 day art retreat in France)

Inner World 2019

The Inner Artist

Your inner artist needs attention, space and affirmation.  Each and every day. It can give substance to all you do. This invisible source of energy, satisfaction and meaning will slowly and quietly retreat if you are no longer listening. When you only pay attention to the outward appearance of things and turn your back on your inner world, you slowly remove yourself from this part of you. This part is nothin less than your soul.

  • How far is your soul removed from your day to day life?
  • How much of what you do and contribute comes from your inner sourc?
  • What does your soul long for?
  • Do you think you need a change of direction while in fact you just go on?
  • Is there a deep craving to express yourself, but it does not surface?
  • You procrastinate, circumstances and obligations are workin against this, you don’t have the courage, you are stuck, your don’t know where to begin, you cannot choose from all the available options, you doubt your talent, or it is just plain inconvenient…

Sound familiar? Then this ‘holiday’ is for you. In this relaxed environment we will no longer hesitat but just start. Giving yourself permission. And then having the time to make it really sink in. Finding out that doubt is usefull in many cases, that planning is great for a lot of things, except for your inner artist. It only needs permission from you. This is not about completion, not about solutions. Not about achieving goals. It is about beginning. This revolves around listening, observing, moving, sensing, receiving without judgment, letting go, being quiet, playing, making, improvising.

Not everyone has to become an (outer)artist. The inner artist is that part of yourself that shapes the world around you. All you do contributes to the whole. A creative core lingers in every act.

This is the workshop were you are not required to work, were you do not have to change. The only thing your soul wants is for you to accept yourself. Just the way you are. How you work is exactly how you are supposed to work. This is not an external demand, but a gift from within. From there every change of direction, all kinds of growth are within reach but maybe no longer needed. Then results are a by-product. Wonderful isn’t it?

Celebrating you are a creator. Dedication to what ignites your soul. Fourteen days of confirmation that it is ok, that all is good. Doing whatever makes sense to you with whatever is available. Can you imagine a more perfect holiday?

July 28th till August 10

Summer Arts Studio Class

Activities and program

There are many methods and ways to let your soul speak, none of them is any better, more precise, more pure or more effective than any other. Each has their own flaws and strengths. Paying heed is the key. And even then you cannot catch the soul. It only reveals itself in glimpses. That’s why we will apply many methods. We will play with the means available. Among some classic inner world activities as Tribalogy (working symmetrically with both hands) and Primal Painting (music-guided intuïtive no-goal painting) almost every aspect of artistic expression will be adressed in some special way. New experiences and feeling like a beginner, for every level. There are no skills required.

Inner confdence will grow through some simple means:
  • Filling an empty page with a chain of letters, words and sentences off the top of your head. Or any kind of word play: grafiti, poetry, storytelling, calling names, absurd dialogues…
  • Applying colour without a plan (you could call that painting)
  • Moving with the world (very similar to dancing).
  • Moving through (journey of discovery).
  • Improvised building (play).
  • Observe and register (drawing, filming).
  • Attentive listening (to crack a safe?).
  • Perspective displacement (shamanic journeying or sometimes called imagination)

As you might have guessed there is no time plan for this retreat. You will not know ahead what you will be doing on ten past three on wednesday morning. Can you stand that? I think you can. Besides, nothing will be expected for wich you are not ready. You are invited and then you decide… how far you will take it. It is not about taking risks or challenges. Going through the motions is done in a safe environment/group so that you can take this newly acquired confidence along on your own journey. Acquiring, letting go and recquire anew. That is the cycle of life. We have become skilled at acquiring and holding on. The soul asks to let go. Releasing to make space for receiving.


  • price including meals, activities and a camping spot € 795.-
  • if you want a shared room on site (two beds) add € 200,- (for 13 nights)
  • a private room add € 340.- (for 13 nights)
  • three meals a day, coffee/tea, some wine and snacks included
  • all activities and required materials are included
  • use of workshops, and fascilities included
  • not included: materials needed for personal projects

Practical info:

– Arrival on sunday the 28th of july from 16.00 hours (let us know if you want to share a car, maybe it can be arranged).

– Cooking/eating will be mostly done together, some lunches and dinners are prepared for us by a cook. Not strictly vegetarian, depending on the group meat and fish will be on the menu. Lots of vegetables from the garden and local produce. On a diet? Then we ask you to help make the adjustment possible. We will do our best to take into account the demands.

– We will be in nature a lot, getting our hands and pants dirty with paint and other stuff so be practical with clothing and shoes. Painting in your walking gear, and yoga in your pajamas; it’s all fine.

Whatever ignites your soul…


Exhibitions 2019

From May 5th to September 22th

Theme: ” Aux Arbres Citoyens!! ”

Call for artists to be inspired by this theme and to sign up by mailing photos and a CV to: artculturedroiteval@free.fr

Registrations before April 15th

Courses 2019

Mai 12 to 18 Mai 26 to June 1 – Juni 9 to 15 – July 7 to 13 – July 21 to 27

painting, sculpture and mosaics, given by Mirjam Bijvank

more info: www.mirjambijvank.com


October 7 to 11 and 14 to 19

ceramics, given by Maxime Defer (French spoken)

more info: www.max-defer-ceramique.fr



Do you also want to experience this beautiful place? Please contact us.

Previous activities



Mirjam Bijvank
Atelier L'Oiseau Libre
2 Chemin des Pins, 88410 Claudon,

E-mail: artculturedroiteval@free.fr