To Top

Meet Ellen Speert of California Center for Creative Renewal

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ellen Speert.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In the 1970s, as a young art therapist, I dreamed of creating a playground for adults, observing that kids were able to spontaneously express themselves but we grownups somehow lost that birthright in the process of growing up.

In 1981, I purchased an abandoned parcel of land in Old Encinitas and started developing an art therapy retreat center to make the dream a reality.

Over the past several decades the Center for Creative Renewal has evolved to include acres of gardens, a labyrinth, an indoor and two open air studios. Here we offer weekly art therapy groups, individual, couples and family art therapy and supervision to other therapists as well as monthly retreats for everyone from management teams to private creative renewal retreats. We also bring in a wide variety of artists and inspirational leaders to provide exciting workshops.

Our retreat center has been featured in many magazines, newspapers and on radio and TV.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The challenge of maintaining lush gardens in the face of a very dry climate has been interesting. We have installed rain barrels which collect thousands of gallons of precious rain water and that has been a great help.

Since we do no advertising, word of mouth is a beautiful way the community supports us, yet many, on their first visit are surprised that we are such a well kept secret.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about California Center for Creative Renewal – what should we know?
The California Center for Creative Renewal provides emotional support and creative stimulation for those who are struggling with depression or anxiety. At the same time the gardens are a source of solace for those who have lost a loved one or are going through stressful life challenges.

Our mission statement is: The California Center for Creative Renewal is founded on the belief that making art in the safety of a beautiful, natural environment is life affirming. We are committed to assisting participants in reclaiming their creative potential through the process of artistic expression. In the quiet haven of our healing gardens, we support individuals, organizations and communities in overcoming the challenges and stresses of daily life.

We specialize in helping people move through transitions and beyond their perceived obstacles by providing individualized guidance in the use of art materials. At the same time, we are committed to protecting the environment and bringing awareness to our precious resources.

There is no place else in San Diego County providing this kind of creative support.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Experience of over 40 years as an art therapist, I am dedicated to my own spiritual development and care deeply about people and protecting the natural world.

As an artist, I try to embody the same qualities that I encourage in others. This means lots of self care and living a balanced life in mind, body and spirit.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 760-436-3310
  • Email:
  • Facebook: California Center for Creative Renewal

Image Credit:
Ellen Speert

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in