Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Summer Symposium

The Visitor Center is proud to announce a call for applications for the 2nd annual Sustainable Practices Symposium, August 1-14th, 2015. We will gather to make art, share skills and ideas, build community, and examine sustainability in life and in artistic practice. People of all creative backgrounds, experience levels, and fields of practice are encouraged to apply.

We offer Workshops in Local Clay and Metal Casting, and are accepting proposals for Independent Projects that embrace the Visitor Center's rugged setting and adventurous attitude. Independent proposals can include the use of a local sawmill where participants can see a project from tree to finished work.


The programming for the Sustainable Practices Symposium is intended for both personal and collective growth. We will share our skills and ideas with each other though lectures, discussions, and artist talks, work in groups to design and build the site's infrastructure development projects, and have plenty of individual time to create artwork.  

There will be opportunities for creative engagement with the community of Ewen throughout the residency including lectures, workshops, demonstrations, and an exhibition featuring Symposium participants and local artists in Ewen's Centennial Hall. Residents will also have the opportunity to present, perform, or demonstrate a skill at the Ewen Arts Festival.

Symposium participants will spend each morning working in teams to design and build infrastructural apparati for this summer and permanent site use. We will exercise our design and construction skills and expand our understanding of resourcefulness and sustainable wilderness living using donated and scavenged materials. Within these collaborative projects we strive to harmonize diverse skill-levels and skill-sets.

This summer we will:
  • Build additional work and picnic tables
  • Complete our sink and shower structure which will be supplied by a well
  • Build permanent shelters for our composting toilets 

Applicants with previous design or building experience OR exceptional enthusiasm in skill-building related to the design, technical aspects, or construction of any of these projects should include this in their application.


Interested symposium participants will have the option to work with Mel at his Seeger's South End Sawmill in nearby Matchwood, MI.

This is an opportunity to learn from a local DIY master. Mel has worked in the logging industry and run sawmills his entire life. He builds barns, saunas, yurts and boats of his own designs; the Visitor Center's studio barn is one of his. He also makes various types of heaters, furnaces, ovens, and stoves and has been experimenting with creating insulating bricks from local clay and sawdust from his mill. He's a master of hand craft and is also tech savvy, using CAD and CNC to create utilitarian designs and visual art. He also farms and plays traditional Norwegian music with his wife.

For artists proposing independent projects, this is a unique opportunity to score a supply of beautiful rough cut lumber for your project! Interested applicants should include use of the sawmill in their proposal. A small fee applies, which goes directly to Mel.