What is the Gradient Retreat Center?

Gradient is a place for writers, makers, and code writers to take a week away from their regular lives to focus on creative work. The retreats take place in a house and studio perched on an island hillside meadow, surrounded by forest, overlooking the Salish Sea at the border of Washington state and British Columbia.

How do I participate in a retreat?

Attendees must be invited by the retreat host: each week at Gradient will be organized by a different host, who may invite between 2 and 5 others to join them at the center. Anyone can request to host a retreat, but priority will be given to attendees of previous events.

If you’re interested in coming but not in bringing a group with you, we will try to accomodate that where we can.

You may also attend a retreat as the representative of a corporate retreat sponsor.

See here for more information on our current availability.

How does sponsorship work?

Sponsors cover the accommodation costs of the retreat group for the week, in return for recognition during the retreat, and the ability to nominate a single representative to attend. We’re happy to work with you to find an upcoming event that matches your professional development or recruiting interests.

How much do retreats cost?

We hope to keep the retreats cost-free for invited attendees, apart from travel costs and buying your own food while you’re here.

When and how often do retreats happen?

The Gradient space is crosshatched with a retreat center for visual and performing artists, and roughly one week per month is set aside for Gradient retreats. We are currently running a series of beta tests, and retreats will begin in earnest in early 2020.

What activities should I expect?

Gradient retreats are deliberately free of structured workshops, classes, or scheduled activities. We expect attendees to spend most of their days doing solitary work and hiking through the 300 acre park that directly abuts the property. In the evenings, attendees are encouraged, but certainly not required, to come together to cook and share a communal meal.

What facilities are at the center?

The house has 3 single- or double-occupancy bedrooms available to attendees, a large kitchen and dining area on one floor, and a lounging and common working space on another floor. The studio is a 400 sq ft barn-style building which converts between an open-plan office and a performance space for music and dance. There are also (literal) acres of meadow and (figurative) acres of decks, a tiny writing shed in the woods, an orchard, a gigantic charcoal grill, and a programmable 10,000 LED lighting installation in the studio.

There’s perfectly adequate WiFi throughout the property and good LTE reception from both US and Canadian providers.

What kinds of retreats are you looking for?

We’re especially interested in hosting work on novel programming environments, computer-aided design and manufacturing, science and statistical modeling, and intersections between technology and music, writing, or visual arts. We’re also particularly interested in supporting those working on open source, in these or other areas. But you should definitely feel free to propose retreats in other fields.

Can I rent it for corporate retreats or events?

No.

(But see the note above about sponsorship.)

Who’s behind this?

Gradient was started by Avi Bryant, a software developer and Galiano Island resident who has led engineering teams at Stripe, Twitter, and Etsy.

How do I get in touch?

You can email us to express interest in hosting or sponsoring a retreat at info@gradientretreat.com.