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ISLAND Hill House Artist Residency Program

pets are welcome!

Residency Applications

Apply with SlideRoom Here

If, for any reason, you would prefer to bypass SlideRoom and apply by mail, please contact Yvonne Stephens.

Important notes

The Hill House now accepts parent artists! An artist may bring up to three children and/or caregivers while in residence. The Hill House is outfitted with basic child safety equipment, though the resident must bring a car (and car seat if applicable).

Further, the Hill House will now allow artists from different disciplines to be in residence together, if they are either collaborating on a project together or if they are in a relationship. Each artist must still apply individually and be accepted into the program.

For more information about either of these new programs contact Yvonne Stephens.

What is a Residency?

Artists’ residencies (also called artists’ communities, colonies, retreats, workspaces, and studio collectives) provide dedicated time and space for creative work. Beyond this core value, these creative communities are a diverse group, and provide artists of all disciplines with many different styles and models of support.

Residencies can be found in urban or rural areas, serving one artist at a time or fifty. Some support one artistic genre while many are interdisciplinary, welcoming visual artists, writers, composers, choreographers, scholars and other creative individuals. There are programs that are active centers for public programs and others that offer solitude and retreat. Many provide room and board as a home-away-from-home; others offer not a place to live, but a community for local artists in which to work and be supported in the creation of new art.

space to work

Hill House Experience

The goal of the Hill House Residency is to support talented emerging songwriters, writers at all stages of their career and non-studio artists (see a more complete definition below) with a two, three or four week stay in a semi-secluded log cabin near East Jordan, Michigan. It includes a well stocked kitchen, a selection of instruments and some basic recording gear, as well as opportunities for community exchange through performance, readings and workshops (only at your request, of course). The emerging musician residency also offers a small stipend to aid in your professional development.

Artists age 21 and older from anywhere in the world may apply. Solo artists as well as collaborating teams of up to four people may apply (but note the accommodation information below).

Residency Length

The residency lasts a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of four weeks.

well stocked kitchen

Cost

There is a $25 application fee. This fee is per application period. Applying for an entire year will cost $50. While there is no additional cost to you, you will still need money for incidentals, materials and transportation to and from the residency. Also consider indirect costs: time away from your job and paying bills at home while you are in residence.

Community, Geography and Climate

East Jordan is a small town near the 45th parallel in Northwest Lower Michigan, about an hour’s drive from Traverse City. The Hill House is located about 15 minutes from East Jordan on a back road near the Mackinaw State Forest. The State Forest offers opportunities for canoeing, hiking, birdwatching, morel hunting and fishing, while nearby towns offer art galleries, microbreweries, parks and dining. Expect a quiet, isolated space punctuated by loon calls and the occasional coyote howl. Also expect the sound of hunters’ rifles, and limited access to the woods, from Nov 15 to Dec 1.

Michigan weather can be a surprise for those accustomed to more temperate climates. Winter temperatures can drop well below 0º F (-18º C) and are accompanied by massive snowfall. Appropriate clothing is required: heavy winter coats, thermal underwear and stout snow boots are mandatory. Conversely, summer temperatures can climb above 90º F (32º C) accompanied by high humidity. Creek and lake dipping are the locals’ best strategies for beating the heat.

The area offers very little in terms of public transportation. A car is required in the winter to get to town. Even with plowing, however, a car without 4WD may not be able to navigate the steep road to the house during the thick of winter. We can assist in moving your things in and out of the space, but you may need to walk a few hundred yards to a separate parking area during the deepest snowfall (Dec to Feb, typically). This winter residency is for the hardy!

You have the opportunity to create your own level of engagement with the community. If you desire four weeks of total solitude, it’s yours. If you’d prefer to have dinner or drinks with ISLAND staff and area artists, we can arrange that too. You can spend a weekend touring local galleries and watching (or playing) live music, or you can sit on the back porch and not speak to a soul. It’s your choice, but keep in mind that community engagement will require more energy on your part; solitude comes naturally here.

relax

Living Environment

The Hill House is a two story log cabin. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large unfinished basement, a spacious back porch, washer and dryer and electric heat. The Hill House can potentially accommodate up to four people at a time (one queen sized bed, two single beds and one pull out couch). The house is not ADA compliant, and is not accessible by wheelchair.

We love good food. We make every effort to fulfill your dietary desires while focusing on fresh, local, seasonal and organic food whenever possible. We are happy to include local pastured meat and poultry, and we are also vegetarian and vegan friendly. Access to fresh local food tends to be easier in the summer and fall and more challenging in the winter and early spring. We stock the kitchen, but for the most part you are on your own for meal preparation, so it helps if you have a little cooking skill. If all you want is a freezer filled with pizzas and bean burritos, we can do that too.

A phone is available for local calls. Many cell phones do not receive service here. Wireless internet access functions about 95% of the time. The house does not come with a computer. Smoking is not permitted on the property. One dog or cat is allowed but must be leashed when outdoors. No exceptions to these rules, sorry!

space to work

Workspace

Musicians, there is not a recording studio at the Hill House, and the residency is not designed to support recording your album. There is, however, a selection of consumer level instruments and basic recording gear available for your use while in residence, including a digital 10-track, piano, telecaster, electric bass and keyboard. No particular room is designated as a work space. You’re free to take over the house in whatever way best works for your creativity. Residents should bring the instruments and other materials they need to work.

Writers, a printer and paper is available for you, but you will need to bring your own computer.

Preparing To Apply - Musicians

Who should apply

Do you write and perform your own music? Do you require income from outside of your music career to pay the bills? If so, you qualify. We are not currently supporting composers who do not perform their own songs or performers who do not write. Musicians who make a living from their music do not qualify for this category but may apply as a non-studio artist, below. It’s important to be mentally prepared for a residency program. You will be away from friends and family for between two and four weeks. You should be prepared to focus on your work in an isolated space. Is this the kind of experience that will help you buckle down and focus, or will a lone cabin in the woods drive you crazy? There are hundreds of residency programs out there – be sure this is the one for you.

Work samples

Your work samples (in this case, three to five tracks of your music) are by far the most important part of your application. Only submit your best work. Better to send just three great tracks than three great tracks and two lower quality songs.

Send the best quality recordings that you have. You are likely one of hundreds of applicants and the selection panel will be listening to thousands of songs. Do everything in your power to be sure your work stands out.

It’s hard to judge your own work, so get feedback from people whose artistic opinions you respect by asking them to listen to your submission. Many schools have career development offices that are available to students, faculty, staff, and alumni, to assist you in putting together a strong application.

Artist statement

Your artist statement should be coherent and brief, not a lengthy, esoteric manifesto of your soul. It is a way to communicate your creative practice and your artistic approach.

References

Avoid providing references who have an impressive reputation but who don’t really know you. We are interested in your seriousness as an artist, your dedication to a creative practice and your readiness for a residency program. Ask your references to speak to these points, rather than simply tell us what a wonderful musician you are!

Preparing To Apply - Writers

Who should apply

Writers at all stages of their careers may apply. Writers in all fields may apply. Your application will be weighed on the quality of your submittted writing.

If you have not applied for a residency before, consider your preparedness for this experience. You will be away from friends and family for between two and four weeks. You should be prepared to focus on your work in an isolated space. Is this the kind of experience that will help you buckle down and focus, or will a lone cabin in the woods drive you crazy? There are hundreds of residency programs out there – be sure this is the one for you.

Work samples

Your work samples (in this case, ten to twenty pages of your best writing) are by far the most important part of your application. Only submit your best work. Better to send just ten great pages than twenty pages of mixed quality work. Remember, you are one of hundreds of applicants and the selection panel will be reading thousands of pages of submissions. Do everything in your power to be sure your work stands out.

It’s hard to judge your own work, so get feedback from people whose artistic opinions you respect by asking them to review your submission. Many schools have career development offices that are available to students, faculty, staff, and alumni, to assist you in putting together a strong application.

Artist statement

Your artist statement should be coherent and brief, not a lengthy, esoteric manifesto of your soul. It is a way to communicate your creative practice and your artistic approach.

References

Avoid providing references who have an impressive reputation but who don’t really know you. We are interested in your seriousness as an artist, your dedication to a creative practice and your readiness for a residency program. Ask your references to speak to these points, rather than simply tell us what a wonderful writer you are!

Preparing To Apply - Non-Studio Artists

Who should apply

Non-studio artists are those who can work using their own equipment and without a standard studio-type space. This includes architects, animators, cartographers, cartoonists, composers, conceptual artists, designers, digital artists, fiber artists, filmmakers, game designers, illustrators, industrial designers, jewelers, multidisciplinary artists, established musicians, photographers and typographers, among others.

Work samples

Your work samples are by far the most important part of your application. Only submit your best work. Because non-studio artists represent a wide range of disciplines, the submission process allows for a total of five—a combination of up to five documents, images or minutes (of audio or video). The document can contain up to ten pages of writing but must be submitted as a single file. That is, you could send ten pages of writing + two images of your work + a two minute video (total=five), or up to five minutes of audio, or whatever combination you think will make your work stand out. You do not have to meet the five minute/page/image mark! Better to send three minutes of your best work than three great minutes and two poor ones.

Only submit your best work. Remember, you are one of hundreds of applicants and the selection panel will be reviewing thousands of individual pieces of work. Do everything in your power to be sure your work stands out.

It’s hard to judge your own work, so get feedback from people whose artistic opinions you respect by asking them to review your submission. Many schools have career development offices that are available to students, faculty, staff, and alumni, to assist you in putting together a strong application.

Artist statement

Your artist statement should be coherent and brief, not a lengthy, esoteric manifesto of your soul. It is a way to communicate your creative practice and your artistic approach.

References

Avoid providing references who have an impressive reputation but who don’t really know you. We are interested in your seriousness as an artist, your dedication to a creative practice and your readiness for a residency program. Ask your references to speak to these points, rather than simply tell us what a wonderful artist you are!

space to work

Application periods

There are two application periods for the 2013/14 residency season. You can apply for either or both application periods, and should first decide which dates you are available to attend. The more flexible your availability, the more likely we can accommodate you and the greater the chances your application will be accepted.

RoundApplications DueRuns From
firstApril 1June to November
secondOctober 1December to May

Selection criteria

Your application will be juried by a rotating panel selected by ISLAND. Residency awards are merit driven, based primarily on the quality of your existing work, using the following criteria, in order of priority:

  • the creativity and integrity of the work
  • the strength of the artist’s statement and the perceived fit with the Hill House residency
  • the availability of the artist in the dates still open for residents

For an excellent overview of the residency application process, visit the Alliance of Artists Communities website.

We are happy to help you with this process! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Yvonne Stephens at (231) 622-5252 or yvonne@artmeetsearth‌.org

Residency Applications

Apply with SlideRoom Here

If, for any reason, you would prefer to bypass SlideRoom and apply by mail, please contact Yvonne Stephens.

Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design | 5870 Cottage Drive, Bellaire, MI 49615

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