Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residence Program

by | Feb 10, 2020 | Hiking, History, Michigan, Travel

Our Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residence Program application is in the mail. Fingers crossed they select us! If you’ve got any voodoo magic skills and can cast a spell to help the panel select us, we wouldn’t stop you. 

Porcupine Mountains 2014


In late January Chuck stumbled upon a Facebook post announcing the February 14th deadline for the Artist-in-Residence Program’s 2021 applications.

I’m not sure if Chuck said it immediately or the idea percolated for a bit before he announced, “We should apply to the Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residence Progam.” I looked up from my iPad and leaned back on the couch so I could see him better and asked, “What exactly does the residency include?”

“The Artist-in-Residence spends 2-3 weeks in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. If we are selected we’d stay in a rustic cabin. Explore the park and disconnect from the crazy rat race so we can focus on our writing and photography.” 

I could tell by his voice he was excited and he’d been thinking about this for a bit. We’ve got a lot on our plate right now I reminded him. “Yeah, I know but it is not until 2021.” 

Past Behavior

A wise mentor once told me, “Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.” Chuck is known to make crazy announcements like, “I’d like to run a 50K for my 50th birthday.” The crazy thing is it didn’t sound crazy at the time. He promised, “It’s all downhill.” In 2014 we ran the Bizz Johnson 50K.

Bizz Johnson 50k - Susanville - 2014

After watching the movie Braveheart he said, “I’d love to run like William Wallace in those mountains.” Guess what? We traveled to Scotland to find the Ring of Steall so he could pretend to be William Wallace. We still laugh about it. It was one of the more insane things we’ve attempted to do. He actually said at one point, “I think I’m going to die, we need to turn around.” Let’s just say, he didn’t run like William Wallace in the Scottish Highlands. 

Ring of Steall

The idea of applying to the Artist-in-Residence Program was starting to excite me too even though I could see a training plan in my future. I thought to myself, you need to ask him a few questions before you agree. “Would you apply? Would we both apply? How would that work?”  “We’d apply as LifeInMichigan” he said. “The cabin is big enough for both of us. It will be good practice for when we retire and live in a van and travel around the U.S.” 

Over Thanksgiving dinner a friend observed, “You and Chuck are simpatico”. Maybe that is the reason we made the decision to apply so quickly. Maybe, but we both know life is an adventure and time is short! We both knew we had to apply. 

The application was printed

The Application Process

The first section of the Artist-in-Residence application we tackled was the “Statement of Purpose.” What did we hope to gain from the wilderness residency and what will the park gain? 

Promoting Michigan and encouraging others to enjoy what she offers is what we do. A few recent examples:  

After a few attempts, we landed on: “To experience Michigan’s wilderness in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park so we can share it with our readers on LifeInMichigan.com.”

Our preferred season or dates and the duration of our residency was up next. This was one of the harder decisions. Winter or Fall? We really wanted to do both. Who doesn’t love Michigan in the Winter and the Fall? 

UP Winter 2017-11

U.P. Winter Trip 2017-56

Fall 2018-4

The Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residency requires the selected artists to have a public program. It could be a demonstration, performance, workshop, etc. We submitted the following: A travelog presentation of experiences in Michigan, highlighting upper peninsula experiences. Some of the experiences included:

And a question and answer session on writing (blogging), photography and travel in Michigan.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse-17

The application is on its way to the Upper Peninsula. Please cross your fingers that it makes it across the Might Mac safely and we are selected as 2021 Artist-in-Residence! 

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