Artist Residency at Michigan Legacy Art Park

Michigan Legacy Art Park, a nonprofit arts and culture organization in northern Michigan, is seeking artists to apply for our 2023 David Barr Residency program.

The annual residency is supported by the park’s Charles McGee Art Fund that was established to support new and emerging artists from the Detroit area or other areas of Michigan 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 Mission of Michigan Legacy Art Park (the Art Park) is to inspire awareness, appreciation and passion for history, culture, and the environment through the arts. Since its founding in 1995, the Art Park completes this mission through the operation of a 30-acre forested, public Sculpture Garden in Thompsonville, and through programs and services held on-site, and in classrooms across northwest Michigan. The Art Park is located on the grounds of Crystal Mountain and has over 50 sculptures in the permanent collection; a gallery of sculpture by emerging artists; poetry stones with verse that reflects the natural setting; an amphitheater for concerts and events; a ¼ mile accessible trail and 2-miles of natural trails; and a Discovery Grove area for student activities and programs. Over 20,000 are served annually including residents and visitors of Benzie, Manistee, Mason, Lake, Oceana, Kalkaska, Antrim, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Wexford Counties in Michigan.

Important Dates for Residency:

Residency Dates: Sunday October 1 to Sunday, October 15, 2023

  • February 1, 2023: Online Applications Open by Invitation-Only
  • March 31, 2023: Application Deadline
  • April 17, 2023: Notifications Sent to All Applicants
  • October 1-15, 2023: Residency Period
  • October 13, 2023: Public Presentation about creative process with Q&A at the Art Park Amphitheater
Lodging and Workshop Space for Use

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

Michigan Legacy Art Park
Physical Address for GPS Navigation
7300 Mountainside Dr
Thompsonville, Michigan 49683

What Is Provided
  • Lodging at Jean Parsons Center for Arts & Sciences: Exclusive use of the Private Residence with two bedrooms, living spaces, kitchen, and bathrooms. 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.
  • The center has 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 remaining balance is paid at the end of your residency.
  • Located just 20 minutes southwest of The Parsons Center in 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 and you are welcome to explore the park on your own.
  • 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 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 all set dates and times:
    • Residency Dates: Sunday October 1 to Sunday, October 15, 202
    • Welcome Event with Art Park Guests: Monday October 2, 2023 at 5:30 PM
    • Public Presentation about creative process with Q&A: Friday, October 13, 2023, Art Park Amphitheater
  • You agree to provide one temporary sculpture for display at the Art Park for a period of up to 24 months, with option to purchase and add to the permanent collection; OR a report, model, sketches, of proposed works and ideas developed as part of the residency.
  • 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.
  • You agree to participate in one small public event near the end of their residency 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 request is that you share 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 1 to Sunday, October 15, 2023.
  • You must complete a free online application by 11:59 PM EST on March 31, 2023. Selection and notifications will be made by April 17, 2023.
  • You must verify you live in the Detroit Michigan area (and be a Resident of Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb Counties), or another area of Michigan.
  • 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.
About the Charles McGee Art Fund

Michigan Legacy Art Park Founder David Barr (1939-2015) and American Artist Charles McGee (1924-2021) 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 created a fellowship in McGee’s 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, scope, critical reviews, commissions, and awards, 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.

Application Instructions

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, 2023
Submit all requested information in a single pdf file.

Letter of proposal

Include all the following: Personal Information, About Your Work, Attachments.

Personal Information

  • Name:
  • 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

About Your Work
Answer at least three of the following questions that most resonate with you and your work. (250 words maximum)

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


  • Artist’s statement
  • CV or Resumé
  • Pertinent links (website, video, blog, articles, etc.)
  • Portfolio of 10 to 20 hi-res images of your work
  • List of three references including name, title, and contact information
Submission Email

Include all documents and images in a single PDF file titled lastname_firstname.pdf and email 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.