July 28th - August 10th, 2018

Our 5th Annual Sustainable Practices Symposium!

We will gather to examine sustainability, experimentation, and collaboration in life and in artistic practice. People of all creative backgrounds, experience levels, and fields of practice are encouraged to join us!

Choose to work in Local Clay, Woodworking/Construction, or create an Independent Project that embraces the VCAC's rugged setting and adventurous attitude. 

We invite artists to experience a practice focused on sustainability and self-sufficiency by locally-sourcing and hand-processing their materials while living and working communally in a wilderness environment.

Using simple tools and mostly handmade equipment, we are teaching and learning as we build community and explore our passions. We dig our own clay from the ground, hand-process it, and fire it on site. We source local sand, clay, and recycled aluminum to make molds and cast metal sculpture. We work with local homesteader, saw mill operator, and timber-framing expert, Mel Seeger - who built his own saw mill from a Mac truck! - from whom resident artists can learn a variety of building techniques. We use reclaimed or locally-sourced materials whenever possible, and we work together to build something larger than ourselves.


Symposium participants collaboratively design and build infrastructural apparatus each summer using donated and scavenged materials. Building projects are directly related to and used for the studio areas in which the artists are participating. Within these collaborative projects we strive to harmonize diverse skill-levels and skill-sets. Applicants with previous design or building experience OR exceptional enthusiasm in skill-building related to the design, technical aspects, or construction should include this in their application.


The programming for the Sustainable Practices Symposium is intended for both personal and collective growth. We will share our skills and ideas with each other though workshops, artist lectures, and campfire discussions. We take day trips to go hiking, swimming, and canoeing in nearby lakes - including Lake Superior! - in waterfalls on the Ontonagon River, and throughout the vast Ottawa National Forest. 

We screen-print our own t-shirts with a unique design for each year's symposium. We have the pleasure of working with our neighbor, a wood-turning artist, Dick Graham, from whom residents have the opportunity to watch a woodturning demo, and try their hand at the lathe. We also take field trips for goat-cheese-making lessons from Aileen Seeger!

See Symposium Costs here and See Logistics for details


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During the Symposium, we host artist slide shows and lectures. All resident artists will present a brief PechaKucha slide show of their work at the beginning of the symposium, and selected artists will give 20-30 minute presentations on sustainable practices in art and in life. Our studio barn makes the perfect intimate setting for the artists to get to know each other through these presentations and discussions.