The seeds for a sustainable arts community near Ewen, MI were planted in 2007 with the donation of a building from the nearby Sylvania Wilderness Area. Their gift of a 1960’s A-Frame to long-time Forest Service volunteer Cameron Coleman came with the stipulation that he remove it from the forest.
That year, three artists from Minneapolis disassembled the building and transported its components to our current site. In 2008, a group of fifteen artists from across the country met to re-assemble it. This building was used as the Sylvania Wilderness entrance station. Being something like a forestry Visitor Center, this became the namesake for the camp, and our first point of departure for the growing creative endeavor that has ensued.
Each following summer, artists have gathered on the land surrounding the A-Frame with the intention of building relationships between creative people and the U.P. community, developing arts programming using local materials, and focusing on environmental sustainability and cooperative practice.
The Visitor Center hosted its first annual Artist Residency, also titled, "DIY Sustainable Adventure Art Symposium," in August, 2014. In tandem with our inaugural year, we founded the Ewen Arts Festival, which included an exhibition of work by local artists and VCAC artists, with artist presentations, live music, raku firing and metal pour demonstrations, all open to the public.
Early on, we teamed up with local homesteader, saw mill operator and timber framing expert, Mel Seeger, who builds everything he needs himself. He built our beautiful timber-framed barn which we dubbed the Seeger Studio Barn, and the Great Hall Picnic Pavilion. Resident artists have the opportunity to tour Mel's homestead, learn milling and framing and DIY homesteading techniques, and can have a hand in milling their own rough-cut lumber for building or woodworking projects.