River Route

Adventures in Nature, with Artists

Residencies for Artists and Adventurers

We're getting close to the first River Route Residency trip!  Interested in taking a long weekend with a small group pf artists?  I have a special trip rate for the canoe weekend for art lovers who want to paddle with us for $125. This will net you an invite...

Apply now to River Route Residency's first trip!  We'll be exploring the Youghiogheny River on canoes the weekend of June 9th - 11th!

Art Lovers with (with accompanying day jobs) are able to apply for the canoeing weekend part of the trip, which means that those with da...

The first residency for RiverRoute will bring together artists from everywhere paired with art supporters and adventurers for a week of shared creativity on and around our Rivers. The long weekend canoe trip will feature invited Canadian New Media Artist, Megan Smith.


River Route will be kicked off on Thursday June 8th with a Cocktail Party at an art venue (where attendees will get some behind the scenes tour/talk) that will also be open to Local Art Supporters to mix and mingle with the Artists and Adventurers.  

Local Art Supporte...

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River Route

We set up exploratory residency journeys and adventures to mix artists, art supporters, and adventurers together in nature with shared goals of inspiring new creative works for the studio, intimate conversations about creativity, and advocacy for including the outdoors as a part of busy lives.

The River Route residency program  was founded in 2017 by artist, Lori Hepner, after taking part in the Wildfjords Artist Residency Hike in the Westfjords of Iceland in 2015 and the Canadian Wilderness Artist Residency, which was a 3 week canoe trip on the Yukon River in Northern Canada. River Route is a program offered by Lori Hepner Studios.


River Route invites internationally known artists to anchor trips populated with local artists, art supporters, and artists from outside of the region, in order to expand the visibility and reach of the Arts in and around Pittsburgh while also creating discussion around the health and ecology of our rivers.

River Route strives to organize trips into the outdoors in order to join Artists, Art Supporters, and Adventurers together to experience the world and to create individual dialogs with nature. The small group format brings people together where intimate conversations can be made over paddles, ropes, water, and campfires and creative impulses can explored without pressure. After each trip, artists are given studio time in Pittsburgh to get started on a creative impulse that started on the river.

We hope to build up a community of Art Supporters by allowing them intimate access to Artists over the course of weekend trips. Through lunchtime dishes, jokes on a trail, campfire stories, and deep conversations tucked under rain tarps, we hope we are fostering a community of creativity that continues post-trip.

Nothing to book right now. Check back soon

Lori Hepner, River Route Founder

In August 2015, I went to the Westfjords region of Iceland for the Wildfjords Artist Residency, which was an 8 day hike with other artists. I climbed a mountain, twice! It was the hardest physical thing that I'd ever done. The escape from the digital world into a truly wild landscape felt like months, even though it was only a few days. It rained, it shined, I walked across glacial streams without shoes, a horse escaped, TWICE, and made some photos to use in my own art project.

Inspiration from PRIOR REsidencies

Wildfjords Artist Residency
Canadian Wilderness
Artist Residency

Lori Hepner, River Route Founder


In mid-July 2016, I traveled to the Yukon Territory in Northern Canada to the city of Whitehorse for a 3 week residency with the Canadian Wilderness Artist Residency. We paddled 700km in tandem canoes over the course of two weeks. Along the way, we stopped to make art at shipwrecks, abandoned Gold-Rush-Era cabins, pebbled beaches, and secretive forests. 


River Route

c/o Lori Hepner

57th Street Studios

219 57th Street

Pittsburgh. PA 15201​


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River Route is a part of the 2016-17 Co-CREATE Creative Business Ignition Program through the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

© 2017 by Lori Hepner

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