Artist Residency at Michigan Legacy Art Park

2022 Artist in Residency Information:

Michigan Legacy Art Park, a nonprofit arts and culture organization in northern Michigan, is seeking artists to apply for our 2022 David Barr Residency program.  The annual residency is supported by the park’s Charles McGee Art Fund – established to support new and emerging artists from the Detroit area by providing a creative retreat including lodging, studio space, honorarium, materials budget, and the inspiration of the Art Park. We’re particularly interested in welcoming applicants of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities.

The Art Park’s mission is to be a showcase for experiences that combine Art, Nature and Michigan’s history together. The park hosts a thirty-acre outdoor space with 2 miles of hiking trails, in a wooded preserve located at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa in Thompsonville. The park’s collection features over fifty monumental works of sculpture, an outdoor amphitheater, over thirty poetry stones in seven languages, and hosts thousands of students each year on educational field trips to the park.

Important Dates:

Online Applications Open: February 1, 2022
Application Deadline: March 31, 2022
Notifications Sent to All Applicants: April 16, 2022

Residency Dates: Sunday October 2 to Sunday, October 16, 2022
Welcome Dinner with Art Park Board, Staff & Guests: Monday October 3, 2022 at 5:30 PM
Departure Breakfast with Art Park Staff: Friday October 14, 2022 at 10:30 AM
Public Presentation about creative process with Q&A: Friday, October 14, 2022, time TBA


Michigan Legacy Art Park
7300 Mountainside Dr
Thompsonville, Michigan 49683

Lodging including Private Residence and Studio Spaces:
Jean Parsons Center for Arts & Sciences
5833 Bellows Lake Road
Lake Ann, Michigan 49650

What Is Provided:
  • Exclusive use of the Private Residence with two bedrooms, living spaces, kitchen, and bathrooms at Jean Parsons Center. The residence was Jean Parson’s beloved home for much of her life as an acclaimed artist and educator. It’s been lovingly restored in Mid-Century style and has a view of Parsons Lake. There is Wi-Fi connectivity at the property and a landline for local calls.
  • Exclusive use of the center’s Studio Spaces and Classrooms located a short walk across the property with tools and space for you to create. 
  • Eighty-six acres of outdoor space to walk, think and be inspired by nature. We believe nature is a huge ingredient for inspiration and a vital part of our mission to celebrate it.
  • $1,500 honorarium to contribute against your travel, living expenses and materials during the residency.  Upon acceptance of the residency offer, half ($750) is mailed to the artist. The balance is paid before your arrival at the Parsons Center.
  • Located just 20 minutes southwest of Lake Ann, the thirty-acre Michigan Legacy Art Park provides you creative inspiration with over fifty sculptures along 2 miles of hiking trails, open every day of the year from dawn to dusk. Autumn is a spectacular time to experience the park, and we’ll give you a private guided tour or you are welcome to explore the park on your own.
  • While there is no expectation that you must create or deliver any artwork during your residency, the Art Park would like for you to present a report with ideas, models, concepts of future sculpture developed as part of your time. We hope that you will utilize the gift of time, space and focus are most beneficial to you and the projects you are working on. However, you may choose to exhibit work within the Art Park’s potential sites during or after the residency. It’s another canvas and sandbox at your disposal, along with the workspaces at the Parsons Center. 
  • The Art Park has the option to exhibit and potentially purchase work completed through your residency experience for temporary display or permanent collection. 
  • The Art Park hosts a welcome reception and meal for you with our staffers, Board of Directors, and supporters upon your arrival.
  • The Art Park hosts a departing breakfast for you with our staffers to receive feedback on the experience and to explore ways we can continue to support you.  
  • Public Presentation and Q&A at the end of your residency, 
  • You can decide how much engagement or solitude you’d like, but the Art Park staffers are always available to help you and the Parsons Center also has a full-time caretaker onsite.
  • You agree to participate in one small public event near the end of their residency — this could be an online interview, a presentation for supporters, an online studio visit, or blog posts, sharing your vision and creative process, and the technical aspects of the work you are contemplating / completing from your residency experience.  The Art Park staff will work with the artist to get their ideas and customize a final “give-back” to our community of supporters. Our intent is to let you focus on your work, but our ask is that you share some of that experience with the park’s audience.
  • You agree to participate in an educational program for area students. The Art Park staff will work with the artist to coordinate.
  • You must be available for the full residency from Sunday, October 2 to Sunday, October 16, 2022.
  • You must complete a free online application by 11:59 PM EST on March 31, 2022. Selection and notifications will be made by April 15, 2022.
  • You must verify you live in the Detroit Michigan area (and be a Resident of Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb Counties).
  • You must be eighteen years of age or older and a legal U.S. resident at the time of application. If selected, the residency will require you to complete a W9 tax form and agree to our Code of Conduct contract and terms. You will also be required to sign a separate lodging agreement directly with the Parsons Center for your stay.
  • You must provide your own transportation to and from the residency location. The honorarium can be used against associated travel costs.
  • You agree to create and explore projects in the medium of sculpture. This residency is designed for artists who specialize in, or are exploring, this medium exclusively.
About the Charles McGee Art Fund

Michigan Legacy Art Park Founder David Barr (1939-2015) and Charles McGee were colleagues and friends. Both men shared the same values and passion for community, and the belief in the unique power of art as a teaching tool. The Art Park has chosen to create a fellowship in his name to support the next generation of sculptors through residencies that provide emerging artists the most precious of resources: time, space, support, and inspiration they need to further their creative work.

An emerging artist is not defined by age but as an artist who is at the beginning of their career, and who has created a modest independent body of work. The MLAP will consider the significance and scope of an emerging artist who shows significant potential.

Working primarily outdoors, Charles McGee Art Fund artists in residence will be invited to use the 30-acre park as their studio and inspiration — creating artworks that may be ephemeral or more permanent in nature, using a generous budget (the definition of “generous” budget differs among people) for materials and expenses.

About the Jean Parsons Center for Arts & Sciences

The Parsons Center for Arts and Sciences is an interdisciplinary, educational center and natural area located in northern Michigan. The Parsons Center is the legacy of the late Jean Noble Parsons, renowned sculptor and potter, and is run by the College of Arts & Sciences with special attention from the School of Art & Design.

To apply for Michigan Legacy Art Park Residency

An artist may anchor themselves in more than one way in this residency program. The selection committee is amenable to a multitude of proposals. Artists are invited to envision residencies tailored to their own interests, goals, duration, primary location, etc. The selection committee will work with residency candidates to craft a residency experience that meets the individual goals of the artist and the partner organizations. Our goal is to provide time, space, support and inspiration in order to foster the pursuit of new ideas and new works.

Deadline: March 31, 2022
Submit all requested information in a single pdf file.
Letter of proposal – including the information and questions below:

Contact Information:
Note Residency: David Barr Residency at Michigan Legacy Art Park
Lodging preference:

  • Parsons Center (home & studio, 22-mile drive to Art Park)
  • None needed

Please address at least three of the following questions that most resonate with you and your work. Please respond to the questions in no more than 250 words each.

  1. How do you foresee living, working or exhibiting in the environments created by David Barr having an effect on how you approach your work?
  2. How will your work further the mission of Michigan Legacy Art Park?
  3. How do you see your work developing through research and the creative process?
  4. How will you involve the public in your residency?
  5. Why do you think you should be considered for this residency?


  • Artist’s statement
  • CV or Resumé
  • Please provide any pertinent links (website, video, blog, articles, etc.)
  • Portfolio of 10 to 20 hi-res images of your work or, for writers, 10 to 20 pages of your current work
  • List of three references including name, title, and contact information

To Submit Proposal: Include all documents and images in a single PDF file labeled as last name_first name.pdf and email the document to [email protected]

Selection Process

The Collections Committee awards the David Barr Residency to an artist whose samples of artwork submitted, artist statement, and experiences best align with and further the mission and values of Michigan Legacy Art Park. For artists interested in lodging and studio use at the Parsons Center, the Director of the Eastern Michigan University School of Art & Design will be involved in the jury.

The mission of the Art Park is to enrich lives through experiences that connect art, nature, and Michigan’s history. The organization values artistic excellence, education, diversity and inclusion, stewardship, and wellness.