GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Artist residency programs in two of Michigan’s most remote parks are once again giving creators the chance to find inspiration through deep solitude and connection with unspoiled nature.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, located in the western Upper Peninsula, and Isle Royale National Park, a Lake Superior archipelago considered one of the National Park Service’s most remote properties, both are currently accepting applications for their 2022 artist-in-residency programs.
While each has its own parameters, seclusion in the wilderness is central to both programs, The Grand Rapids Press reports.
Organized by the non-profit Friends of the Porkies, the Porcupine Mountains’ Artist-in-Residency stays are a minimum of two weeks and include lodging at a rustic (no electricity, no running water) two-story timber-frame cabin surrounded by hemlocks on the Little Union River. Just beyond? The Porkies’ 60,000 acres of ancient beauty.
“You’re really back to the basics when you’re there,” says program director Sherrie McCabe. “What I’ve heard from artists is it’s such a wonderful break from the reality of the busy life that they live.”
McCabe recommends that aspiring applicants research the park and take a look at previous winners’ works before applying. The program is open to writers, composers and all visual and performing artists. The application period for the 2022 season runs until Feb. 14; more details are at porkies.org/projects-programs/artist-in-residence/.
Farther north, Isle Royale’s Artist-in-Residence program is part of a long-established tradition of interpreting national parks through art, offering artists “the opportunity to capture the moods and magic of Isle Royale through their particular art form,” a park statement said.
Co-sponsored by Isle Royale National Park, Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association, and the Copper Country Community Arts Council, the two-to-three-week residencies include lodging at a rustic cabin (again, no electricity or running water) located about two miles from Rock Harbor, the park’s main entrance point. The program is open to all art forms “except those that would manipulate or disturb the park’s environment.”
In exchange for lodging (and in the case of the Isle Royale residencies, ferry transport), both programs have requirements of the artists, including hosting a public presentation or workshop, and contributing a piece of work representative of their time in the residency to each programs’ permanent collection.
Isle Royale also currently is accepting applications for its Teen Artist Exploration program, which will select two aspiring young artists seeking for week-long camping excursions to develop their art through experiencing wilderness.
The application period for Isle Royale National Park’s 2022 Artist-in-Residence program runs until Feb. 16. For more information and to apply, visit nps.gov/isro/getinvolved/artist-in-residence.htm.