ArtMill is renamed as the Center for Regenerative Art, following the paradigm shift from sustainability to regeneration.
Our Founder, Barbara Benish, officially retired from her position and handed the Directorship over to the next generation.
The Mill closed down to the public to host fourteen refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
A community of twelve students, artists, and farmers moved to the Mill for the duration of the first wave of Covid to spend the quarantine outside of the city. A permaculture garden was created that thrives and provides food for all our residents and programs.
We closed to public for the duration of Covid and transitioned to our first online exhibition.
Hosted at ArtMill, the 'Art in the Global Context' program won the prize for Best Study Abroad Program at University of California, Santa Cruz.
ArtMill hosted its first university-level programs, beginning with California State University at Long Beach. Over the years we've created programs for New York University, Prague College, Suffolk University in Boston, and continue to work with University of California, Santa Cruz on summer study abroad programs. Read more here.
ArtMill was founded and began as an international children's & youth summer camp focused on environmental education and the arts. "Little ArtMill", as the camp is now referred to, ran for 14 years and hosted over 250 children
Artist Barbara Benish and architect Petr Kalný purchased the Red Mill and began reconstruction on the 500-year-old ruin.
ArtDialog was founded by Barbara Benish during the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Benish brought artists and activists from the USA to Czechoslovakia to participate in a group exhibition in Prague. This exchange continued after the revolution, with Czechoslovak artists visiting and exhibiting in Los Angeles, California.
The Navrátil's lived through two world wars, keeping the mill running even during the black-out times of fascist occupation in the 1940's. Červený Mlýn contributed to the nation by illegally milling at night, despite the nazi curfew and law that only Germans would have bread. Because of this activity the miller, pan Navrátil was eventually caught and interred in a concentration camp. He survived, only to be imprisoned a second time after the war, for fighting against the new communist regime in his own country. The mill kept running during these hard times by the stoic Marie Navratílová, who the local farmers still speak about with respect. ArtMill's founder Barbara Benish, who moved to the mill in 1996, dedicated a series of work to this strong woman, called "The miller's wife" (2004-07) and "Bread and a millstone" that can now be seen in ArtMill's gallery.
The Navrátil family had the Red Mill for three generations before we arrived. They modernized it in the 1920's just when Czechoslovakia claimed itself an independent nation free from 400 years of Habsburg rule. At this time it was renamed "Válcový mlýn", which translates to "Cylinder" mill, when they exchanged the old-fashioned millstones and water wheel for a new turbine. It was the second modernized mill in the country - a major technological feat for that time. The name never stuck, but the turbine still exists. We still use it to let out water from the Red Lake when the levels rise, and hope to make it into an energy source again, as it was until the 1970's when Mrs. Navrátilová brought the mill onto the grid and installed indoor plumbing.
The oldest written documents we have found record the sale of the mill in 1758 to a certain Jakub Šlechta of Miřenice (the nearest village which the mill still belongs to). The sales contract states that the new owner must agree to special instructions for the milling of flour, as well as 1) remain a faithful Catholic, 2) buy beer only from the lorded lands of Nalžovky brewery, and 3) keep the water level high enough in the lake so as not to harm the carp.
We may have failed on the first rule, but are certainly paying attention to the second two!
Červený mlýn was the flour mill for the nearby "Zámek," or chateau, of Nalžovské Hory and the surrounding region. The chateau, known as Schloss Ellischau, has foundations going back to the 1400's, thus we believe when the mill's origins date to. The red mill was most likely established by the end of feudalism, in the late 1500's when the austro-hungarian empire controlled the czech lands. The region itself has been settled since ancient times, with celtic sites abundant in the area.