For much of the 20th century, this land was home to families running very small farming operations. As was true in much of the Upper Peninsula, they were not economically well off. They were resourceful people who did what they needed to survive, including getting much of their meat from the deer population, dumping old household goods in heaps in various locations, and logging the timber as soon as it was big enough to sell. The last logging that took place was in the 1990's. It was done at the wrong time of year, leaving deep ruts in the ground.
The possibility for a sustainable arts community at the end of Ewen Airport Road started several years ago with the donation of a small building. The A-Frame was built in the 1960’s and originally used as the entrance station (The Visitor Center, as the original signs reads) to the Sylvania Wilderness Area, approximately 45 minutes away.
In 2007, after the addition of a new entrance station and difficulty selling the old one, the A-Frame was given to long-time Forest Service volunteer Cameron Coleman, with the stipulation that he remove it from the forest. That year, three artists from Minneapolis disassembled the building, and transported it piece by piece to its current location. In 2008, a group of fifteen artists from across the country met to assemble it.
Since then, we have been meeting every summer to develop the land surrounding the A-Frame, with the dream of having a place of endless possibilities for artists, creative people, and the U.P. community to make art, focus on sustainability in their practice, share ideas and skills, and think about the world in a new way.
DIY SUSTAINABLE ADVENTURE ART SYMPOSIUM
We are happy to announce that the Visitor Center will host its first DIY Sustainable Adventure Art Symposium, August 15-24, 2014. We will gather to make art, share skills, exchange ideas, build community, and examine sustainability in life and in artistic practice.
We will be offering 9-day workshops in Clay and Metal, as well as accepting proposals for independent creative inquiries that embrace the Visitor Center's rugged setting and adventurous attitude. People of all creative backgrounds, experience levels, and fields of practice are encouraged to apply.
When we say rugged and adventure- we mean it! We are looking for people who are interested in a wilderness art-making experience. Accommodations are tent camping, and access to electricity and running water limited to certain areas of the grounds.