Taking over an island for an artists’ residency may sound totally unreal, but that’s exactly what makes the efforts of Rob Gorski and Andrew Ranville all the more fantastic! Just over a year ago Gorski found an opportunity (on Craigslist!) to acquire a 91-square mile island. The remote, forested “Rabbit Island” is located off the coast of Michigan and is under an environmental protection easement. The duo has already begun building prototype cabins, and are hoping to raise funds through Kickstarter to get working artists setup in the temporary homes.
The goal of the remote residency is to allow the artists to hone their skills, while being inspired by their natural surroundings. The idea for the program came when Gorski, a New York City doctor and owner for the island, noticed his artist friend Ranville working on site specific projects with reclaimed timber. The pair in turn built a cabin to serve as an art studio using all locally sourced materials.
Being a resident on Rabbit Island would present inspirational opportunities unlike any other program, due to the seclusion of artists and the delicate natural surroundings. Any housing or studio space built there will be totally off-the-grid, giving the artists a chance to live and react to in a way that respects the environment. The hope is that the photographers, painters, sculptors and artists that go to Rabbit Island will be able to use their art to show the world an inspired view of conservation.
The area along the shores surrounding Lake Superior, where Rabbit Island sits, are part of Michigan State’s Upper Peninsula. The area is known for its absolute beauty and untouched backwoods, and is a stark contrast to the dominating industrial and automotive industry of the state.
“I think this idea of a project taking the wilderness that remains and celebrating it, instead of mining it or using it for lumber, is a really significant transition in the history of Michigan. This could exemplify that next generation coming,” says Gorski.
The Rabbit Island Kickstarter pledge is only running for a few more days, and has yet to reach its goal. Funding will go toward tools, supplies, and solar panels to get the residency started. You can see all of the details here!