Calling All Artists – Consider Applying To This Remote Island Artistic Residency


Mar. 4 2021, Published 2:30 a.m. ET

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Dreaming of getting away from it all – even in this pandemic – to paint some wildlife and nature? Well, then you may want to apply to this unique artist residency program hosted this summer in Michigan on the remote Rabbit Island off the shores of Lake Superior, the northernmost of the Great Lakes.

About Rabbit Island

If you’ve never jumped off a cliff into the frigid waters of Lake Superior, you might not quite get what this experience is like until you do (speaking from experience, yes!). There’s something still incredibly wild about this part of our nation. The wooded lanes and wild waters of the freezing lakes – only slightly warmed in the summertime temperatures – draw a rich collection of stunning wildlife and birds you won’t spot in warmer climates.

Rabbit Island itself is made of 91 acres of sandstone and wild forest in the largest freshwater body in the world. The island is four miles off the east side of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, in the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe Nation.

The native ecosystem of the island has never been developed, so as you set foot on the island, you step back into a world untouched by humans, filled with fauna and flora like bald eagles, towering white pines, stunning red maples, and adorable salamanders.

The climate of the island is variant, meaning one day you’ll have a vibrant sunrise, and the next you’ll have cloudy skies perfect for spotting squirrels and munching deer. The island is protected for centuries to come with a conservancy easement.

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About The Residency

The residency program for artists on Rabbit Island was founded in 2010 as a platform for exploration and expansion of creative practices in a remote environment. The residency program lasts for three weeks per each resident, allowing the artist to celebrate and learn of the island in solitude for a richness and depth of discovery.

In 2021, three individuals will be awarded approximately three weeks each for the residency, scheduled sometime between mid-June and mid-September. An unrestricted honorarium of $3,200 will be awarded along with the residency. Previous residents have used the funds to cover travel expenses and purchase materials, cover research costs, and more. No restrictions are placed on how the resident may use the funds.

Supplies while in residency are purchased by and transported with the resident when they journey to the island.

The overlap between residents will be limited, dependent on the finalized schedule determined in conjunction with each resident’s personal needs.

Residents have the option to stay in permanent three-sided shelters on the island or to use the provided camping equipment. There is also a small wood-fired sauna, which is the only fully enclosed structure on the island. There are Wi-Fi and cellular service on the island, as well as solar panels and a small gas generator for electricity needs.

Download the residency application guide and then fill out the application and submit no later than March 14 to qualify for consideration.

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Who Qualifies

The residency program is open to applicants from anywhere in the world. Individuals or small collaboratives of 2-3 people may apply for a single (shared) residency. You must be 21-years-old to apply.

Poets, writers, architects, designers, musicians, filmmakers, composers, choreographers, and all forms of visual artists may apply. You must be highly-motivated, independent, and capable of managing your own schedule, with experience in camping, wilderness travel, boat handling, and first aid.

How To Apply

Familiarize yourself with the content of the website and program information before applying. Once you’re familiar with the program information, apply through the (this is the only acceptable submission) by 11:59 pm EST on March 14. A $20 application fee is required. You’ll need to submit a 150-word artist statement and 200-word (limit) proposal for your project, along with up to 6 work samples. Examples and information are provided on the website.

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By: Rita Pike

Rita Juanita Pike is the granddaughter of Jerrie Mock, the first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theater, podcasting, and novel writing. She now writes about travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves a very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

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