GTPulse: Tusen Takk Artist Residency Program Accepting Applications

Hidden away in beautiful Leelanau County is Tusen Takk, a six acre property that will provide visiting artists all they need to live and create for up to 12 weeks.

Henry David Thoreau’s masterpiece Walden wouldn’t have come to be without the setting that inspired it all, Walden Pond. The small cabin Thoreau built in the Massachusetts woods was where he wrote 18 essays that comprised his book. Each essay talked about a facet of his experience living in semi-isolation and documented his daily life living in the cabin. I’ve always thought about what one could do with such a long stretch of time to live alone. Thoreau isn’t the only person who has artistically benefitted from being left to his own imagination in the wilderness. Leelanau County locals Geoffrey Peckham and Patricia Meltzer want to give artists that same sacred, dedicated time to their craft with Tusen Takk, a non-profit artist residency program in Leland.

An artist residency is an opportunity for an artist to finish a body of work they’re stuck on, or begin a new project, or contemplate what’s next for their work. They live and work, usually in seclusion, for a set amount of weeks in hope that the time spent away from the hustle of everyday life will reawaken an old idea, or inspire a new one. Residencies give artists a chance for seclusion, but also to travel. Programs are set up all over the world, and funding looks different for all of them, but typically they will provide the artist with all tools, materials, and stipend needed to thrive during their time.

The six acres that Tusen Takk sits on are privately owned by Geoffrey Peckham. The guesthouse and studios where the residency is located share acreage with Geoffrey and Patricia’s home. The idea for Tusen Takk was planted in 2008 when Geoffrey became friends with award-winning and world-renowned architect Peter Bohlin. Peter designed their Leelanau county home, and upon its completion in 2013, Geoffrey and Patricia moved to their new home from Pennsylvania where they were quickly taken with the new beauty that surrounded their lives. The beauty had to be shared with others, and as an expression of their Christian faith and thankfulness to God, they wanted to make that happen.

“The founders of Tusen Takk, Geoffrey Peckham and Patricia Melzer, hope that the artists, writers, and composers who come to Leelanau County for a residency will find the solitude and inspiration they need to create great work. It might be strange to say, but they desire a time of solitude for Tusen Takk’s artists-in-residents, as people’s lives are so fast-paced these days, filled with social media and busyness, taking care of day-to-day things. What artists need most is a time and a place to concentrate on their work. Aresidency at Tusen Takk is meant to be such a time and such a place,” said Assistant Director of Tusen Takk Maggie Pavao.

A reading from artist and writer Makoto Fujimura talked about the importance of having time and space to create. When Geoffrey had a conversation with his son about transforming some of the acreage into a residency space, it was a done deal. The resulting space is a gorgeous, modern, light-filled guesthouse that is connected to fully equipped studios for creating art that ranges from woodworking to painting, to writing and textile arts.

Tusen Takk is still currently accepting residency applications from artists. Artists from around the world and all backgrounds are encouraged to apply, and if selected, will live in residence at Tusen Takk for anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks with studio space, some materials and tools provided, and a weekly stipend to live off of. During their residency, they’ll interact with the community through their artwork with exhibitions, talks, readings, or workshops. They’ll live in the fully furnished with access to Geoffrey’s personal library and all the art studios, which includes a loom room, darkroom, painting studio, finishing studio, etching studio, woodshop and digital printing studio. At the end of their residency, they’ll have their work promoted through the Tusen Takk Foundation and their local partners, including the Dennos Museum, Northwestern Michigan College, and the Old Art Building. Because Tusen Takk is a private residence, it is not open to the public. All showings of the artists work will be held off of the property, hosted by a local partner.

Tusen Takk will host their first artist in the completed project at the beginning of next year. The deadline for applying is September 15th and applicants will have to submit examples of past work, and a proposal for what they will work on for the residency through the Tusen Takk Foundation website. 

The arts are always developing in Northern Michigan, and Tusen Takk is a beautiful and welcome way to share and honor more art and artists in this pretty little corner of the universe. One man’s Lake Michigan is another’s Walden Pond. Tusen Takk means ‘thousand thanks’ in Norweigian, and this residency program is a way for Geoffrey and Patricia to thank artists for the work they contribute to the world. From Thoreau’s words to the hopeful artists’ residency experience “All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself.”

Categories: GTPulse