Rabbit Island artist residency project reaches $12,500 goal


With a week to go before the deadline of July 15, artists and Michigan natives Rob Gorski and Andrew Ranville have met their $12,500 goal for the artist residency on Rabbit Island.

As of the afternoon of July 8, the funding page on Kickstarter.com had 131 backers who had pledged over $13,000 to the goal of establishing a permanent artist residency on the 91-acre island.

Rabbit Island is located three miles off the Eastern shore of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, in Lake Superior.

The location of Rabbit Island, three miles offshore of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Photo via Rabbit Island kickstarter website. Click to enlarge.

Although the goal was reached, people can still contribute to the project up until July 15.

“People can continue to donate until time runs out,” Gorski said. “We will put any more funds donated to very good use and make the residency even stronger.”

The amount of support the project received was “overwhelming,” Gorski said.

“We’re still kind of in shock,” he said. “We’re really excited that so many people were exposed to the beauty of the Keweenaw as well. This will surely be a good thing for the region which has historically seen its share of hard economic times.”

Gorski and Ranville plan to arrive on the island July 23 to begin construction on the cabin that will house the artists who participate in the program. They plan to stay until mid-August. Ranville, who is serving as the first artist in residence, will stay longer to work on the cabin as a part of his artistic work.

“It just goes to show that an idea based on fundamentally sound environmental tenets is something that many people are passionate about and willing to support when given the chance,” Gorski said. “It speaks highly of the values that people around the country continue to hold as native environments are becoming fewer and further in between.”

An overheard image of Rabbit Island. The island itself is 91 acres. Photo via Andrew Ranville.

Support for the project has come from locals and even from people in other continents, Gorski said. People who have offered to collaborate include designers, architects, farmers, web experts, marketers and arts organizations.

As the project grows, Gorski said he hopes to continue to involve more and more people from communities close to the island.

“We also hope to involve scientists in the future, which we think would complement the island’s resources. [We] will be in touch with researchers from Michigan Technological University’s Biology department,” he said. “We hope this is just the beginning of something that will be very well thought-out intellectually, yet very minimally and built practically.”

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