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Suzanne Wilson Artist-in-Residence

The GAAC’s AIR program began in the 1990s – then, the Glen Arbor Art Association — at the behest of the late Suzanne Wilson, a Glen Arbor painter, beloved teacher and founding member of the Glen Arbor Art Association. Wilson handpicked visual artists for the program and found friends in the area to house them.  The GAAC AIR program has built on top of that early and firm foundation.

Glen Arbor provides a perfect backdrop to experiment, explore and create. Our artist-in-residence program offer artists a unique opportunity to work in an awe-inspiring locale within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Leelanau County includes miles of spectacular Lake Michigan shoreline, wooded hills, many inland lakes, and the Crystal River.


The GAAC offers several opportunities for artist residencies each year. The purpose of the GAAC residency program is to provide visiting artists with a respite from daily responsibilities to enable them to concentrate on their work.

Housing Provided

Housing is provided free of charge. The artist’s residence, a second-floor walk-up apartment, is not handicap accessible. AIR residents must be able to climb stairs unassisted. We apologize for this currently unavoidable situation. The furnished apartment includes a bedroom and living room, a small bath, and a limited “galley” kitchen. Resident artists will need to bring linens for a double bed and towels. The refrigerator is small; but a grocery and many restaurants are within easy walking distance. Each resident artist will have a local host who can help guest artists get acclimated to the area. Household pets are not allowed under any circumstances. The apartment is smoke-free. Residents are prohibited from using art materials/painting in the apartment. A seasonal studio space is provided at Thoreson Farm in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The tool shed containing the studio is a divided, shared space. The GAAC’s ceramics program occupies one end of the building.

Studio Space Provided

Artist-residents have access to a studio space located at scenic Thoreson Farm, part of an historic farmstead in the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. It’s located about 3.7 miles from the GAAC. The studio space is a restored and converted tool shed with cement floor and overhead lighting. It is a seasonal structure. There are electric space heaters. There are also a limited number of tools available for use: easels, tables and chairs, and for ceramics art there is a small electric kiln, a raku kiln, electric and kick wheels, slab roller and extruder. Clay and glazes are available for purchase.

Who May Apply

Residencies are considered in the disciplines of creative writing, visual arts, photography, sculpture, fiber arts, ceramics and music. Each residency is a one person opportunity of two weeks in duration. Artists who are selected are expected to commit to the full 14-day residency. Residencies are available to solo practitioners who are able to work independently. Residency proposals submitted by groups or collaborative teams of artists (more than one person) are not considered. Spouses and significant others may join selected residents only on the final Thursday of the residency, and visit until the resident’s Saturday morning departure date. The selection committee will consider requests in light of suitability for our present facilities. Artists who are chosen are expected to make a presentation to the community during their residency on the second Thursday evening of their stay. Artists may be asked, but will not be required, to donate to the GAAC one piece of work created during, or as a result of, their residency at the GAAC. Donated work will be added to the GAAC collection. Works in the collection become the property of the GAAC. In the event that GAAC decides to de-accession a work to contain the size of the permanent collection, GAAC reserves the right to auction/sell such work to generate funds to directly support the organization. The GAAC does not charge a residency fee. The only fee connected with this residency is a non-refundable $35 application fee. If you have been selected for a GAAC artist residency in the preceding three years, you are ineligible for a residency this year.

Selecting Dates

While the length of some residencies may vary according to circumstances and individual requests, the standard length of a residency is two weeks. The deadline for applications is Feb. 2 for the 2023 season (May-October). Applications will be reviewed promptly after the submission deadline with notification by mid-March. In general, GAAC cannot offer residencies in July or early August as the apartment space is not available. Residencies are subject to scheduling availability that does not conflict with ongoing art classes in the GAAC building and at the Thoreson Farm studio space.


Although Glen Arbor is a walkable village, artist-residents will need a vehicle to get beyond the village. The Thoreson Farm studio is 3.7 miles from the Glen Arbor Arts Center building. Some of the wilderness areas and hiking trails in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore can be accessed by foot or by bicycle along State Highways. It is advised, especially if one’s residency is focused on working in the Park, to have a car. Traverse City, the nearest metropolitan area, is 26 miles from Glen Arbor. Public transportation to Glen Arbor exists, but runs on a limited schedule.

How to Apply

Complete the online application form on our website (link located below). Email or mailed applications not accepted.

Preparation for the online application:

  • Have your resume ready to upload as a PDF file (1MB maximum file size).
  • Have three letters of recommendation ready to upload as a PDF (1MB maximum file size).
  • For non-visual artists: Have 3 samples of your work ready to upload in a PDF file. (1MB maximum file size). Writers please submit poems, short stories, articles, published or unpublished. Musical composers please submit scores, audio files and/or performances.
  • For visual artists: Have 6-8 images of your work ready to upload in JPG, GIF, or PNG (1MB maximum file size per image).
  • Artist who have websites are encouraged to submit their URL address.
  • Check your calendar for preferred residency dates. Residencies begin Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. and conclude by Saturday morning @ 10 a.m.
  • A nonrefundable $35 application fee will need to be paid at “checkout” to complete the application.

Please call the GAAC office if you have any questions: 231-334-6112.


The AIR application form will be available here starting October 3, 2022.


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