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Solstead: Building a Dream in Bisbee

Updated: Mar 18, 2018




It took more than two years of planning, but we’re finally here. Building on a collective whirlwind of enthusiasm cultivated at the Earthship Academy in the Fall of 2015, we’ve found our desert retreat in a historic-landmark town, less than 30 miles from the international border with Mexico in beautiful Bisbee, Arizona. And, for those looking to live simply while building on their appreciation for the earth and the arts, we’d like to invite you to join us.


What we’ve been doing…


Some of you may have a vague concept of what we're up to in Bisbee, but that's probably all you've heard—the whispers of some cloudy, well-intentioned idea not yet molded into reality. But we're happy (and relieved) to say that after a month of living in this spectacular, mythical, and (dare we say) weird little town, we’ve laid a solid foundation, put up walls, and given some real structure to our project. And now, as we begin clearing our land and planning for the first of a variety of sustainable building projects here, we wanted to take this opportunity to fill you in on our progress.


Here’s what we’ve accomplished to date:

  • We’ve acquired 80 acres of land in Bisbee, Arizona, overlooking the Mexican high desert.

  • We’ve obtained our LLC status and are structuring the business to function as a non-profit entity.

  • We’ve created a formal business and building plan, centered around developing a sustainable living and educational community.

  • We’ve found a house in historic Bisbee, just a ten-minute walk from the downtown arts district, where we will live until our first structures are in place.

  • We’ve formed a network of artists and natural builders in and around the community of Bisbee and abroad.


Looking ahead…


It's an odd thing to see a more than a year’s worth of effort by a small crew of people condensed into a few short paragraphs. But it's also gratifying to see our ideas—once completely abstract—grounded into realistic goals.

One of our greatest struggles (and triumphs) so far has been finding a way to narrow our interests into something concretely achievable. We went back and forth on how to connect everything, and ultimately agreed on this:


Solstead's mission is to create workshop facilities that enable artists and natural builders to develop their crafts, hone their skills, and learn from each other.


Solstead's focus is on education, and it involves creating a system for artist residencies and educational workshops, while engaging with the local community to support and collaborate with the developing Bisbee Arts and Culture District. We would like to have enough infrastructure in place to be able to offer our first artist scholarship to a professional artist with an interest in sustainability within five years.


While it was considerably more difficult to narrow down our short-term goal, our vision for the future was one that we all had no trouble agreeing on. If the mission stated above can be defined as today's goal, our vision of tomorrow is as follows:


Solstead aims to build and sustain a coalition of artists and natural builders that supports a platform for funding and constructing humanitarian builds around the world.



If you like what you've read, we would love to have you to share in our venture. We'll be posting regularly on this blog, on Instagram, and Facebook. We'll also be sharing our progress with regard to city permitting, building plans, and artistic endeavors on future posts, and we will make sure to be as transparent as possible in all of our plans and communications. It is our goal to serve as a resource to anyone who wants to learn from any of the projects we're undertaking.


We appreciate all of your support and encouragement as we continue to expand on this incredible foray into the unknown. If you have any questions or would just like to say hello, please send us a message or leave a comment below. Subscribe to this blog and stay tuned for future adventures!


Next Post: Building plans, hyperadobe, and more!




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Bisbee, Arizona | info@solstead.org | SOLSTEAD © 2018