U.P. artist residencies seek potential talent

What's happening: Three attractive artist residency programs in the U.P. are looking for applicants. Artists of various media may apply for one of eight two-week residencies in downtown Mackinac Island or a multiple-week stay in the Porcupine Mountains. A teen artist residency is also available on Isle Royale.

What is an artist residency: Artist residencies provide a location outside an artist’s usual studio space to help spark creativity. According to the online art dictionary Artlex, residencies are often tailored to younger artists pursuing art as a career and residencies can have a profound impact on their artistic development. Artists in residence might use the opportunity to tackle new projects, develop ideas, or test new methods and techniques.

What they're saying: "Isle Royale and the Teen Artist Exploration has opened my life to so many amazing things. My art has taken on a new dynamic; I appreciate so much more the wild and natural ways of life the Island showed me," said former Isle Royale artist resident Elisha Houle.

Residencies in the U.P.: In addition to the three residencies open for application, the Upper Peninsula hosts a number of other residencies in Marquette, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Keweenaw County’s Rabbit Island. Some are hosted in historic cabins while others are in dedicated spaces in new developments. Most of these residencies started in the mid 2010s, but not all of them are accepting applications this year. Rabbit Island is open only to residency alumni for 2023. 

Giving back to the community: Most residencies also include some aspect of giving back to the community, such as providing a piece of art or teaching educational programs. Many art pieces are often showcased on social media, picked up for Pure Michigan advertising campaigns and highlighted in local shows. According to a study about the global trend of artist residencies by Kim Lehman at the University of Tasmania in 2017, residencies provide both creative and economic opportunities for regional development.