Micro Loans Put to Good Use

Last year, we partnered up with Grain Train Natural Foods Market to give away three micro loans to farms. You may remember our news post about what they were planning to do. Just in time for the launch of the second round of the micro loans, we've got updates on what these farms used the loans for. Feeling inspired? Apply for a loan of your own. Applications now open!

Best Farm in Ellsworth was able to do some soil health building, irrigation work and get some repairs done on a tractor. The low interest rate was especially intriguing to Best Farm, as the bank was offering a much higher rate for loans. 

Grass Lake Organics in Antrim County was able to purchase some irrigation and tilling equipment to cultivate a garden, which lead to supplying food for the surrounding community. Grass Lake Organics also supplied a specialty harvest of radish pods exclusively for Moka in Bellaire.

The third recipient, Open Sky Organic Farm in Cross Village, is installing new heating and cooling systems to extend their season and offer organic vegetables longer into the fall and winter. Susan Sharp, of Open Sky Organic Farm, went on to raise more funding after receiving the micro loan, too. “Receiving the micro loan gave validity to what we were doing on the farm and helped us gain confidence to move forward with other things, like the Kiva lending program,” said Sharp. Open Sky Organic Farm went on to raise $10,000 within days on the Kiva crowd funding platform. 

You can be one of the featured farms on this blog next year by applying for a micro loan today! Ideal candidates will propose an idea that would boost a farm or food business and elevate the region's local food system. Applicants can apply for loans between $500 - $6,000. Loans will have a 2.5% interest rate with 18-month repayment terms. There is no application fee.

The micro loan program is now open for applications and the deadline to apply is February 6. The loans will be distributed in March of 2017 and borrowers will be required to have three meetings with the loan agents throughout the term to discuss how their project is evolving.

Hill House Artist & Alum Update

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Time got away from us, Hatchies. It’s been far too long since we’ve updated you on what’s happening with the Hill House artists and alum. Forgive us; these are crazy times. Read on to get your fix.



After Kevin Doyle left, the Hill House had a couple dormant weeks so we could do things like replace the roof and get ready for the next season of Hill House artists. Now that it’s ready to rock again, we are happy to be hosting Maria Anderson, a fiction writer from Montana. Her work has recently been published in The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, and The Atlas Review. She was a finalist for the 2016 Iowa Review Contest, the 2016 Dzanc Disquiet International Fiction Award, and the 2015 Missouri Review Editors' Prize. The whole staff was able to catch up with Maria one night in Bellaire and she was excited to be at the Hill House and ready to work.

And to kick off our next season of artists, Anthony Barilla will come to the Hill House in December. Anthony Barilla is a musician, writer, and performance artist based in Houston, Texas. He makes interdisciplinary works, often incorporating his travels in Kosovo, the Caucasus, Africa, and Europe. He has written music for theaters around the U.S. and regularly creates compositions for national radio program This American Life. Act One: Hill House Artist Residency.

We’ll soon be introducing the next crop of Hill House Artists for December-May, but we can tell you this much now: Holy Cow. These folks are impressive, inspiring, and we can’t wait for you to meet em.




Graham Parsons was recently at the Hill House and had this to say about his experience and Crosshatch: “I’ve never really considered myself an 'Artist'. More of an observer/empath who happens to be able to carry a tune. It feels good to know that there are people and organizations out there who find value what I do, in who I am.” Graham, we value you. Catch Graham and The Go Rounds on December 31st at the Wealthy Theater in Grand Rapids for a New Years Eve Micro-Fest and Food Drive.

One of XH’s favorite Canadians, Abigail Lapell, was recently named this year’s recipient of the Ontario Arts Council’s Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, for her song “Jordan.” Psst, Hatchies, listen up! “Jordan” is about the Jordan River where the Hill House sits. We’re so happy Abigail’s residency inspired this caliber of songwriting, and that it was recognized. You rock, Abigail!

A recent HH alum, Katie Gately, just released an album entitled Color. Stream is here, or better yet: buy it here. Color was favorably reviewed by Stereo Gum, we think you’ll like it too. Katie was featured in Wire magazine and Loud & Quiet magazine, as well as some German publications. Go, Katie, go!

Detroit-based photographer, Scott Hocking, was just named an Efroymson Contemporary Art Fellow. With the fellowship Scott intends to use a portion of the award to complete a site-specific installation in Detroit titled “Signs” supported in part by a Knight Arts Challenge grant. This project includes the creation of 30-50 signs using existing armatures at commercial locations to recreate signs that have disappeared over the last 100 years which has erased much of the history at each site in the process. Through this work, Scott hopes to produce discussions regarding the commodification of art and the history at each location/business and create new perceptions of each selected site. We can’t wait to see this project in person. Keep an eye on Scott, he’s moving and shaking and doing the good work.



Do you LOVE these updates? Are you sitting there thinking, “These artists are so cool. What a cool program to give these folks time and space to keep creating this awesome work.”? If so, a.) we know, right? And b.) we’re HIRING! We’re looking for a new Art Programs Coordinator - someone who will be responsible for the direction and management of the Hill House and our other art programs. Is it you? Check out the full job description and apply now!



We're Hiring — Multiple Positions Open!

Hi folks, 

Crosshatch is looking for a few new faces to add to our staff. We've got positions open for people who love events, who love planning, who love artists, and who love all of it. Take a look at these full job descriptions and see if one is a good fit for you. Then apply, asap—we're ready to hire!

All positions will remain open until filled. Any questions at all can be directed to amanda@crosshatch.org. 

Events and Operations Coordinator

Art Programs Coordinator (Part-time!)

VISTA (One-year contract - Application Deadline: December 31st)

Hill House Artist and Alum News

We’re two short weeks from another Hill House Deadline. That’s right, folks. If you want to apply to be a Hill House Artist-in-Residence, get your application in by October 1st! But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’re still in the middle of the current Hill House season with awesome artists coming and going every couple of weeks! Let’s see what they’ve been up to, shall we?


After Katie Gately headed back to sunny southern California, we welcomed performance artist, theater, dancer, “picasso-of-all-trades,” Kevin Doyle. Doyle is the artistic director of Sponsored By Nobody, an international theatre company based in Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of the Drama Studies program at Purchase College (SUNY). He has written and/or directed eleven original plays; while working as a theatre and film director in Belgium, France, Sweden and the United States.

A few of us were lucky enough to hear Kevin speak about his work and his life over a brown bag lunch in Bellaire. We left the event feeling inspired and ready to work together to bring more experimental art to northern Michigan. And only one of us was dealing with some previous-career flashback related stress after seeing a clip of one of Kevin’s plays about Target. You’ll be alright, Jen. You’re home now. Thanks so much to Kevin for taking the time to chat with us about art, activism, and the importance of supporting theater in smaller cities and towns.



Passepart Duo, who was just at the Hill House last month, released another video they filmed in the Hill House. Stunning work! We love seeing so much beautiful art being made under that roof! 

Songwriter and artist Sianna Plavin is up for a Dorry’s Award (The Dorry’s honor “anything musical that took place in Rhode Island or a border town”). You can vote for her - but tomorrow (9/15) is your last chance! Find her under the “Quiet Act of the Year” category, but we encourage you to shout your support loudly!

Listen to Hill House alum Rebecca Rego’s new single, Spell, on bandcamp, then do yourself a favor and pre-order new album, LAY THESE WEAPONS DOWN, immediately after. Nice work, Rebecca. We’re loving the single - it’s perfect for these almost-autumn afternoons.

Visual artist Corwin Levi’s exhibition, An Unfinding, is up at VisArts until October 9. In the exhibition, Corwin “builds a metaphorical relationship between these vast unknowable spaces and the possibilities in the outer physical world and within individual personal experience.” If you find yourself in the DC area over the next few weeks, you’re going to want to add this to your “must-see” list, right under (or above?!) the White House.



Have we mentioned we have a deadline coming up? I always say I work best under pressure. Do you? Perfect. Then turn off your TV, and get your materials together to apply by October 1. You got this.  

Hill House Artist and Alum News

Summer is winding down, but the Hill House is still hot hot hot. (The actual house is located in the woods and likely has a lovely breeze coming through it at all times... but you know what we mean!) The house has been filled with music and we’re happy to be able to share some of it with you here. Our alums seem to be having a busy summer, too - read on to see what they’ve been up to!



We had the pleasure of hosting Passepartout Duo - made up of Pianist Nicoletta Favari and percussionist Christopher Salvito, a couple of musicians who “are drawn together by their shared values of art, people, and travel.” They came, they played, and they made this beautiful video for all of you to enjoy. Videos like this make us pinch ourselves - how cool to be able to host and support these amazing artists!

Next up is Katie Gately, a musician and sound designer from sunny Los Angeles. Currently working on an LP, Katie’s past EPs can be heard on on Fat Cat Records, Public Info, and Blue Tapes, as well as Björk’s One Little Indian label - very cool! We’re hoping the solitude of the Hill House is a welcome change from the bustling streets of LA - sing out, Katie, sing out!

Man, if those Hill House walls could talk… they’d probably say something like “Whoa, buddy! These artists are amazing!”



Charming Disaster (who seem to make our alum posts every time - those are two busy cats!) are working on a new music video and just launched a kickstarter for their next album: CAUTIONARY TALES. Spooky rewards abound!

Passepart Duo (remember them? From just up there a bit?) are playing at HITTING STUFF, an avant garde event on Sunday in Detroit. If you find yourself in the southern part of the mitten this weekend, you’re not going to want to miss this “exhilarating fusion of contemporary ideas, drawn from the ancient tradition of 'schlagzeug', which in German means HITTING STUFF.”

We really love getting notes like this one, from author Gail South: "I was a resident in 2013, when I completed most of the first draft of a novel. A short story from that novel won the C’Ville/WriterHouse fiction contest! Thank you for the time and space—I accomplished more in that month than I usually do in six months." Congratulations, Gail! Well deserved!

Hill House alum Maryann Lesert’s writing is included in a book out from Ice Cube Press. FRACTURE: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America is available for purchase now. Get your copy today - awesome work, Maryann!



Ok, everyone, quiz time. What did Gail South say? She said… “Thank you for the time and space—I accomplished more in that month than I usually do in six months.” And what month is she speaking of? That’s right! Her month spent at the Hill House! It’s a magical place, y’all. We urge you to apply and come see for yourself. Our next deadline is October 1, which, shockingly, is coming up soon!


Hill House Artist and Alum News

Every time we turn around, it’s time to update y’all on the Hill House artists. They come and go as swiftly and peacefully as a summer breeze, and before we know it they’ve moved on from the Hill House, back to their daily lives miles, mountains, and states away from Northern Michigan. We’re glad they come for a bit though, and we’re happy to keep you in the loop of who’s around, who’s been through, and who’s just around the riverbend. Let’s get to it.



Leekyung (Lee) Kang comes to the Hill House from Providence, Rhode Island where she is currently working on her MFA at Rhode Island School of Design. Kang’s work deals with architectural elements to transfer our surrounds to the veiwer through installation and site-specific art. She has participated in several residencies throughout the US and South Korea. We’re excited to see what she thinks of the Hill House!

This month, we also welcomed Mimi Lipson, a writer coming here from Massachusetts. Mimi has deep family ties in Michigan, we wish her a sense of connection with the water, trees, and open skies of East Jordan. Mimi currently has a story collection, THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING, out with Yeti publishing. Her memoir is forthcoming from Bloomsbury, USA.


Hill House alum Moheb Soliman was back in Northern Michigan to help install poetry signs throughout the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore parks. What an awesome initiative, as part of the Great Lakes Parks Centennial Poetry project. Last time we saw Moheb was this past fall when he did an installation and reading at Blackbird Arts. Come back again soon, Moheb, and keep up the stellar work!

Musician, writer, and organizer, Erik Jarvis and his band The Plain Mosaic have an upcoming album. Plus, along with his partner and bandmate Katie, his other band Pink Neighbor recently released their debut EP. Keep on rockin’ and staying busy, Erik - we’re loving the new tunes, so dance-able.

Alum Sean McConnell is on tour in Texas and Oklahoma to support his brand new record. Get your tickets here. AND! Check out his new video for “Holy Days.” 

Charming Disaster, Alums Elia Bisker and Jeff Morris have been nominated by PULSE for Best Music Artist. Get on over there and vote! Go, CD, go!


Keep an eye out for news about our next Artist After Hours. These networking evenings are open-schedule, fun events with snacks, drinks, and artists of all genres. Come out, meet your fellow art-lovers, and make some new friends! 


Swappin' Skills: Good for your Soul and your Community.

Today's blog post was written by Crosshatch Co-Director Brad Kik. 

Just yesterday, I learned that the Spivey's Corner Hollerin' Contest was cancelled for 2016. Hollerin' was a way of communicating with neighbors (and sometimes animals) before the telephone. Think Tarzan's yell and you've got it. Ok, some of you kids might need it... feel free to put this on a loop. You can watch some actual hollerin' here.

But now, at least in 2016, there aren't enough holler-ers to make a hollerin' contest work. And without the contest, there may not be enough interest in hollerin' to get new folks to take it up. Folks, we could be seeing the beginning of the end of the holler.

Now, the upcoming Skill Swap isn't specific to romanticized old-timey skills, but I think that what we're doing here is like a cousin to that Hollerin' Contest. Because look, if learning how to do something was only a matter of learning how to do it, then heck, you've got YouTube and some books for that.

Instead, something interesting and important happens when you're at a Skill Swap. It's where you learn how what-you-know intersects and overlaps with what-your-neighbor-knows, and how those things live inside what-your-community-knows. When we start piecing that together, we can start answering bigger questions, like, "how do we feed ourselves while caring for our woods, wildlife and water?" or, "how can we make a living without making life miserable for someone on the other side of the globe?" These are actually very complicated and difficult questions when you set out to answer them yourself, as opposed to when our captains of politics, industry, and entertainment assure us that all answers shall be provided. 

In other words, these kinds of local gatherings—Skill Swaps, Hollerin' Contests, Twilight Tours, roundtables, work bees, group sings, kitchen table problem solving—can be a response to the madness of our national politics. And should be. They are a powerful way to put our hope back in our own hands. 

(Oh, and as a side effect, they are also a whole lot of fun. As a small extra bonus, you actually learn something too.)

The next Skill Swap is this Thursday, July 7, at Earthwork Farm in Lake City. We're keeping registration open until the end of the day today, but if you're reading this on Wednesday, we can probably work something out. If you're reading this on Friday, we'll hope to see you next year. 

And by the way, maybe next year we should figure out how to teach some hollerin'. Drop us a line if you know someone.

Hill House Artist Updates and News

Since the last Hill House Artist and Alum News update we’ve started a new season at the Hill House. There are two seasons at the Hill House, you see, November-May and June-October. And so: we welcome a whole new crop of artists and, wow, we are excited to meet these fine folks. Keep an eye on this page, we have a feeling we’ll be sharing some pretty cool updates as these next few months go by.


To wrap up the last season of the Hill House, Jenny Johnson and Paul Kruse came and went. Lucky us, we got a sneak peek into their trip through some photos they shared on facebook. Looks like they had the northern Michigan experience complete with snakes, kayaking, and—of course—Short’s brewery. We’re glad they had fun.

We were happy to welcome our next artist-in-residence, Emillia Javanica, a dancer, performance artist, and educator from Ann Arbor. Through a grant awarded to Crosshatch from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Emillia was able in bring her husband and son to be with her while in residence at the Hill House. They dove head first into northern Michigan culture by attending the Bass Festival in Mancelona on their drive north.

Next up is Jeremy Bolen, a visual artist, researcher, and educator from Chicago. Here, Art 21 Magazine interviews Jeremy, “Center Field | The Stage of Scientific Reproduction: An Interview with Jeremy Bolen” about his series of work, CERN, that, “measures phenomena invisible to the human eye.” Jeremy’s work combines a passion for science, physics, the unseen and photography. Check it out.


Former resident and musician, Christine Khandjian, has launched an IndieGoGo project to help fund her participation in Edinburgh Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. Don’t you want to say you helped contribute to the largest arts festival in the world?? Check out Christine’s awesome project, pass it on, and help an artist out, ya heard!

Alum Max Lockwood is featured on Seth Bernard’s latest album, Eggtones for Peace. He’ll be playing bass this Saturday July 2nd, during An Evening with Seth Bernard & Friends—"Eggtones for Peace" Release Concert at the the Ark in Ann Arbor.

Review alert! Claire Chenette, Hill House alum and esteemed oboist, is now a member of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Recently, she was a part of Legeti Forward, a series of concerts held at the Museum of Modern Art to celebrate composer Gyorgi Legeti. The New York Times called the concerts “exhilarating.” Go, Claire, Go!

Jennifer Crighton started a piece during her residency at the Hill House in January of 2015. There, she wrote an album and created a series of video performances. She debuted some of that work in an exhibition called The Hermitess earlier this month at The New Gallery. “Composed of a film, sound, and sculptural installation, The Hermitess portrays the voice and visage of its central character as she comes to terms with her otherness, searching for a lone and impenetrable place both within and without.” Wish we could have been there to check it out, but so glad to know that the Hill House was the breeding ground for such inspiring work.

Poet Alum Brandi George has been receiving accolades for her book of poems, Gog, released in the fall of 2015. Gog won the Gold Medal in the Florida Book Awards. Golden!


October is just around the corner, Hatchies. Spread the word that applications for the next season of the Hill House are due October 1st. Time flies, but at the Hill House, we hear it sllooows right down. Come see for yourself!


Micro Loan Recipients and Projects

You may remember a few months ago when we were promoting our Food and Farm Micro Loan program, inviting individuals to apply for a low-interest, 18-month term loan to use on a project that would help elevate the local food system here in northwest lower Michigan. We’re happy to announce that along with Grain Train Natural Foods Markets, we were able to give out three loans to three individuals. Read more about them and their projects below and keep an eye out for mid-project updates!


Marvin Best, of Best Farm in Ellsworth, runs a vegetable and fruit farm and sells brown eggs from his free-range chickens. Marvin grows sweet corn, melons, and red and yellow watermelons. Many people told Marvin that he wouldn’t be able to grow the melons, but he succeeded!

The loan Marvin was granted will be used to purchase organic fertilizer and install drip irrigation, as well as putting a neighbor plot back into tillage, among other things. He also plans to get some repairs done on his tractor. We are happy to be able to help Marvin out with strengthening his own farm, and therefore bringing more locally produced fruits and vegetables (and eggs!) to this region. Good luck, Marvin!

Bob Struthers, of Grain Train, and Marvin Best, of Best Farm.

Bob Struthers, of Grain Train, and Marvin Best, of Best Farm.


Susan Sharp, of Open Sky Organic Farm in Cross Village, along with her husband Sam, hosts an organic CSA and believes that small farming is a way to “provide wholesome food to our community and connect with people in a real and useful way.”

Sharp plans to use the loan, in addition to some grants Open Sky Organic Farm recently been awarded, to get a hoop house heater installed, as well as some coolbot materials to have a cooler area. Open Sky Organic Farm is a growing business and is in need of some heating and cooling for season extension and cold storage. We’re happy to help Susan and Sam with a financial boost to get these projects wrapped up!

Jen Schaap, of Crosshatch, and Susan Sharp, of Open Sky Organic Farm.

Jen Schaap, of Crosshatch, and Susan Sharp, of Open Sky Organic Farm.


Lukas Hamilton runs Grass Lake Organics, a vegetable and fruit farm specializing in heirloom tomatoes—offering over 55 varieties this year! Grass Lake Organics also plans to sell eggs and hops. Hamilton grew up on an organic, bio-dynamic farm and educational center and he’s passionate about growing food.

The micro-loan Hamilton was awarded will help propel Grass Lake Organics into a higher-functioning farm, bringing more heirloom tomatoes and other veggies to our region. Hamilton plans to buy a tiller after years of renting one, and has drawn up plans to build a cold-storage shelter for season extension. We’re glad that the micro-loan could help with these very necessary and business-building expenses.

Bob Struthers, of Grain Train, and Lukas Hamilton, of Grass Lake Organics, with his family.  

Bob Struthers, of Grain Train, and Lukas Hamilton, of Grass Lake Organics, with his family.  

Best of luck to all the micro loan recipients—we can’t wait to hear how the projects turn out!