It has been three years since we first told you about Rob Gorski and Andrew Ranville’s goal to make Northern Michigan’s Rabbit Island a place where nature, science, and art converge. Since then, the talented creatives have been paving the way for island’s first official artist residency program next summer! Even through the island is still in its pilot period, the Rabbit Islanders are getting noticed: they’ve had multiple museum exhibitions, they’ve given TedX talks, and they just received a 501(c)3 non-profit designation!

Rabbit Island, Gorski, Ranville, artists, conservation, Michigan, non-profit, residency, sustainable, kickstarter

The founders plan to leverage undisturbed space on Rabbit Island as a “platform for science, art, preservation and recreation”. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2011, they completed a small resource site on the 90-acre undisturbed island east of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Photos from the island show the that the tiny lodging’s library and tool shop have been built into the landscape, and all visitors operate under a Leave No Trace policy.

Rabbit Island, Gorski, Ranville, artists, conservation, Michigan, non-profit, residency, sustainable, kickstarter

In Ranville’s TedX talk, originally presented at Northern Michigan University, he explains that his passion for creating and exploring have taken him all over the globe, but he has returned to his roots in the mitten state because he saw the potentially for the truly wild land at Rabbit Island to inspire others. Ranville was also the very first beta-resident, and he says the experience has changed his approach to art.

Related: Artists Build Sustainable Residency Studios to Protect Forested Rabbit Island

If you want to see how other Rabbit Islanders have been getting inspired, a selection of this summer’s work is on view at the DeVos Art Museum through September 28th. The window is closing fast for next year’s residency application, so if you want to get involved, check out the program details on the Rabbit Island website.

+ Rabbit Island