Our StorY

Freeflow was born from a love for rivers, art, and education.

“Our societies are increasingly focused on the intangible and the technological; centered around points of urban concentration, and further distanced from the unpredictable and the wild. At Freeflow Institute, we believe that all writers and artists benefit from time spent outside – we believe in the essential re-wilding of the creative spirit. We want to help our leaders, communicators, and innovators make space for their craft; build community through experience; and challenge modern conventions of productivity, predictability, and accountability.”

– Chandra Brown, Founder + Director of Freeflow Institute

Freeflow Institute is a woman-owned, mission-driven LLC that curates university-accredited outdoor learning experiences. Our programs are built to foster meaningful connections within natural and social systems, innovation in the realms of conservation and communication, and healthy communities and compassionate leaders.

Freeflow helps humans connect to places, to one another, and to the truest forms of their work and art. Freeflow courses allow individuals to work together to develop skills, grow connections, share adventures, cultivate resilience, and experience creative freedom in wild places.


Freeflow Institute was founded in 2018 by Chandra Brown, a language teacher, river guide, and freelance writer. The river is central to Chandra’s life: She grew up along the silty salmon rivers of Alaska and each summer she guides rafts on the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. A 2010 Fulbright grant took her to the Andes and the Amazon, where she began working with the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute to raise awareness of the threats facing the region’s rivers. In graduate school she helped establish Ecuador’s Jondachi Fest, a river festival celebrating whitewater culture and strategic river conservation. More recently she has traveled to Uganda to kayak and collect stories about communities affected by the damming of the White Nile River.

Chandra feels most at home at confluences. Her home sits on the land where two iconic Montana rivers collide: the Blackfoot and the Clark Fork. And, indeed, Freeflow is a confluence of Chandra’s most impassioned works: education, rivers, and the arts.

Freeflow programs are characterized by academic rigor and innovative course design. Chandra, an affiliate faculty member at the University of Montana, crafts each syllabus in concert with Freeflow’s guest instructors, and each unique course is then accredited through the colleges of the University. The Institute offers programs for college undergrads, graduate students, professionals, hobbyists, and artists at the earliest stages of their relationship with the craft. Freeflow courses allow emerging and established writers and artists to work alongside leading experts in the field. While learning about and practicing their craft in the outdoors, Freeflow participants are afforded a unique opportunity to develop substantive relationships, build their skills, and begin to understand their place within ecological and social systems. 


Freeflow Institute is committed to fairly compensating their instructors, field staff, administrators, outfitters, and partners, and each Freeflow Institute course is offered to the public at a price that reflects that exchange and reciprocity. The cost of attending a Freeflow course is prohibitive to many. The Freeflow Foundation was created in 2020 to help offset the cost of tuition and travel expenses for participants from lower-income communities, as well as to provide extra guidance, gear, and resources for those participants unfamiliar with wilderness or river travel. Each year, via the Freeflow Community Scholarship Fund and our collaborations with partner organizations, The Foundation strives to raise enough money to offer full and partial scholarships to participants who bring depth, diversity, and dedication to the cohorts.


Since 2018 Freeflow has presented creators and thinkers of all abilities and backgrounds with a unique opportunity to develop their craft in wild river corridors and wilderness settings. We invite successful creative experts to lead our workshops and field courses in some of the wildest, most inspiring, and most challenging classrooms on Earth.

We are guides, educators, explorers, artists, activists, and adventurers, and we strive to share our love of place, narrative, and connectivity with all of our participants. Our teaching artists and writers design each unique Freeflow curriculum in concert with our program facilitators and in accordance with our code of ecological and adventure ethics.