Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design
ISLAND is a non-profit arts and ecology center dedicated to connecting people with nature, art and community. ISLAND helps people become native to place by:
- supporting artists — visionaries, conceptual explorers and compelling communicators — with dedicated time, space and resources to create new work;
- restoring the old and developing the new skills and traditions of community self-reliance;
- creating and sharing a broad collection of tools for ecological living.
Amanda Kik - Co-Director
After spending both her undergraduate and graduate years at California Institute of the Arts, she moved to northwest lower Michigan where she has worked as a designer, writing teacher and nonprofit administrator. It is here that she began making cheese, canning vegetables, raising chickens and learning what it means to be part of a community. Amanda is also Co-Chair of the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference, which works to build a local vibrant agricultural community.
Brad Kik - Co-Director
Brad Kik’s life has been a jumbled mess of film study, environmental activism, graphic design, community organizing, woodworking, chicken raising, music, ecology and permaculture. In 2005, Brad found slightly more focus by falling in love with his partner Amanda and, with her, co-founding and now co-directing the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND), an arts, ecology and agriculture program in Northwest Lower Michigan. Brad's role with ISLAND involves developing the 10 acre property, writing for and designing ISLAND's public face, and spending way too much time on the computer.
Yvonne Stephens - Events Coordinator
Yvonne Stephens studied plants and fungi as an undergraduate at Michigan State University, dabbling in poetry and pottery. She worked as a lab assistant in Detroit, and more recently as a Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District AmeriCorps Member. Yvonne joined ISLAND as an intern in 2009, organizing a beekeeping workshop, a community canning party and the Fungi and Fermentation Skill Swap. She joined us as a staff member in September 2009, and will act as the ISLAND event coordinator.
Mary Brower - Food and Farm Coordinator
Mary Brower grew up out west, but has spent much of her life chasing geography. Her past is littered with partial careers in teaching, farming, writing, and cooking. Pleased to be setting down permanent roots in this part of the world, Mary’s favorite means of procrastination involve winter gardening, food preservation, and making supper for her husband and little boy.
Jen Schaap - Special Projects Coordinator
After dappling in the industrial design world, Jen Schaap found the life-changing powers of dirt and began a second life working on, supporting, and promoting the small farm. On the side, she likes to sew, sing, and eat real food. Jen serves as the Administrative Coordinator of the annual Small Farm Conference, engages food communities through events like ISLAND’s From Farm to Frame photo contest, and is working to strengthen the network of small farms and local foods in northern Michigan.
Board of Directors
Board of Advisors
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Dave Jacke teaching that permaculture is all about perspective.
One of the final plans from Brad’s permaculture course real-world design project.
Vincent VanGogh - Pollard Birches
An earth and stone sheltered hut at Sirius Community
Jayne Walker’s dome and happy rooster at the Eco-Learning Center in Leelanau County
A chestnut opening. Photo courtesy stock.xchng