Linda and Chuck Young who produce Art Unraveled, a mixed media retreat, talk with Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

Year 15 for Phoenix Mixed Media Retreat Benefits Children

Art Unraveled turns 15; retreat organizer looks to the future 

“The medical profession has come a long way in recognizing the healing benefits of art. My hope is that someday the arts will be considered as significant in everyone’s lives as breathing fresh air, eating clean foods, and performing physical exercise.” ~ Renée Phillips

Linda and Chuck Young who produce Art Unraveled, a mixed media retreat, talk with Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
© 2016, Linda and Chuck Young, Art Unraveled Mixed Media Retreat

Linda and Chuck Young, producers of Art Unraveled,  know first hand about loss and the healing power of art. When the Young family lost a three-year-old granddaughter in an automobile accident, art worked better than doctors, groups or medications. 

At the urging of family and friends, Linda launched Art Unraveled, a week long mixed media art retreat, in 2003. Fifteen years later, the enthusiasm continues, in spite of Phoenix’s scorching temperatures during the first week in August.

“Don’t worry about the heat – everything you’ll need is in a wonderfully cooled Embassy Suites Hotel.” —Linda Young

Art Unraveled 2017 Details:

  • July 31, 2017 – August 6, 2017
  • 50 instructors
  • More than 100 individual workshops
  • Learn more:

Attendees at AU, as it’s affectionately called, range in age from age 14 to 93 and number in the hundreds. Many return annually. Each year AU revolves around something different.  This, the 15th anniversary of the event will feature a special Saturday evening event, unlike any from the past. 

Linda recalled highlights from other years: the mask-making contest where the mask makers walked the runway to model their masks and one male had everyone in stitches; the year “That Guy” attended; the time AU screened the documentary 1000 Journals and attendees had the opportunity to add their own mark to some of the 1000 Journals. One year AU opened to the public and Danny Gregory was the guest speaker; another time Pokey Bolton,  founder of the magazine Art Quilt, presented the keynote; Kathy Cano-Murillo, the Crafty Chica, was particularly inspirational.  Once she begins talking about AU, stories tumble out and Linda’s passion for the event can be felt. 

Art Unraveled Retreat Benefits Youth Development Institute

“I think that the number one thing of importance to me is having individuals find that art helps to heal.  Several attendees have told me how AU has helped them to move forward.  Since I have not gotten permission to repeat any conversations I won’t specify here,  but I swell with pride and thanks to think AU has helped them.  The number two thing is bringing happiness, learning and friendship to those who attend (I hope to the majority).”

“…I also want it to have impact upon those who could not attend without the scholarship program we have offered in the past as well as have a positive impact on the children who reside at Youth Development Institute, the non-profit that our silent auction benefits (in particular, their art program).”

A mixed media retreat with multiple benefits

The perfect attendee at AU is the artist who takes workshops to learn something new or update their skills and knowledge and then makes the most of their experience by doing as many activities like demos, make ‘n takes, “parties”, and the Shopping Extravaganza as they can and by interacting with other attendees. 

AU offers as many media as possible each year, rotating offerings frequently.  From assemblage to wire working, from bookmaking to jewelry making, from collage to painting (watercolor and acrylic). Ideas from attendees have been the impetus for felting, hat making, and jewelry making (among others) to be added to the schedule. 

The retreat features more than 50 teaching artists and offers individually priced classes 9am-4:30pm daily and 6:30 – 9:30pm.

During our interview, Linda described instances in which attendees expanded their art repertoire and, in some instances, even changed their art focus. 

“Oftentimes participation in retreats leads to bigger and better things – spreading wings and working towards art goals.”

Why attend Art Unraveled?

“You’ll be a part of a like-minded group of individuals who all “get it” and don’t question why you do art, you’ll make plenty of new friends, you will have the choice of many teaching artists who are nationally if not internationally known.  You’ll also have the choice of many different types of workshops”

“There is always something in every workshop that will renew, update or impart knowledge to the attendee.”

How do you find the instructors for AU?

“We find instructors in many different ways: I research via the internet, magazines, books, etc., many teaching artists contact me directly, and attendees and teaching artists recommend instructors to me.  I’m always looking for instructors and am happy to receive suggestions.  We do ask for references and check each one prior to consideration of submitted workshop proposals.  Our goal is to provide a wide variety of excellent instructors teaching a wide variety of types of workshops.  Something for nearly everyone!”


Art Unraveled is a mixed media retreat like no other. Artist Linda Young makes a career out of organizing and executing one of the most successful events in the country. You owe it to yourself to participate in Art Unraveled 2017.

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