Hill House Artist and Alumni News

Since our last artist alumni update and news post, we’ve said farewell to the Hill House’s final resident. The Hill House artist residency program may be over, but that doesn’t mean that we’re done with artist residencies in general — quite the contrary, actually. We’ll be experimenting with new models and exploring what an artist residency can be, look like, feel like, and accomplish. If you have ideas, we’d love to hear them. Email us!

But it’s been awhile since we’ve posted on this here blog, so we have a lot of artist alumni news to share with you. Read on to learn about some exciting stuff from folks who have at one point or another spent some time in the Hill House. While it’s true that we have shut the doors on that program, the people we’ve met continue to inspire us and let us know that the Hill House was important, meaningful, and necessary. We’ll be in touch about what’s up our sleeves for the next artist residency program soon. In the meantime, enjoy these updates, and email us if you have alumni updates of your own for us to share!

Hill House Alumni News and Updates

Jason Hugh Ackman was chosen for the 2017 Sustainable Artist Foundation awards, from a pool of over 3,000 applicants! Read more about the awards and Jason here. Nice work, Jason!

Jenny Johnson was interviewed by Literary Hub about her book In Full Velvet and other works. Read the full interview here and pick yourself up a copy of her book at your earliest convenience — makes a great holiday gift!

Artist Kevin Doyle was shortlisted for the 2017 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. Listen to a great interview with him about his play and his reaction to being shortlisted. What an accomplishment!

Scott Hocking has had a ton going on (or in his words, a crapload!). Way too much for us to detail here! Are you subscribed to his newsletter? Yeah, you’re going to want to get on that. Read the latest version here.

Composer Anthony Barilla was mentioned in this New York Times article about being chosen as a composer for the musical, “Small Ball,” written by Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets. Can’t wait to hear more, Anthony!

Songstress Abigail Lapell has won the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Album of the Year! Woohoo! If you find yourself in Canada, try and catch a show by Abigail, or buy her album here.


Current and Past Hill House Artist News

We’re in the thick of the summer and in the thick of our June-November season at the Hill House. We’ve had some awesome folks come through already and we’ve got so many more artists to meet. Read on to learn a little bit more about who’s in that house on the hill this summer season.



We recently said goodbye to Shannon McMullen and Fabian Winkler - a couple who have been collaborating on their artwork and research. Their son joined them at the Hill House as well. Combining artistic expression and social inquiry, they create projects that share insights into the complex relationships between nature, art and technology in tangible and multi-sensory ways. Funding for their work has been awarded by the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University. See what we mean? Some seriously cool, creative people at the Hill House, y’all!

After Shannon and Fabian left, we greeted Vincent Hiscock, a writer from New York. We recently were able to get together as a staff with Hiscock in Bellaire where he told us about what he’s working on and how he found out recently that J.D. Salinger’s favorite restaurant was Burger King. Interesting stuff. We wish Vincent good writing weather and rejuvenating vibes!

After Vincent leaves the Hill House, we’ll get it ready for Shawn Earle, a clarinetist, who (in his own words) uses his research to “evaluate contemporary Canadian clarinet music through the lens of multiculturalism; in particular, I examine how music performance, specifically on the clarinet, is an act of multiculturalism. This project has excited my interest in how the clarinet is able to express and imitate the music of various non-Western cultures. I have created a program for clarinet that is inspired by the music of a variety of cultures. Additionally, in my study of Canadian clarinet music I have discovered that there are no works that reflect my identity as a person of African Nova Scotian descent. I will fill this need by composing a work for the clarinet with African Nova Scotian themes which will be included in the program.”


Did you know that when artists come to the Hill House they stay there free of rent, with yummy, local food provided? A big shout out to Providence Farm, Eden Foods, and The Redheads for donating local produce and conscientiously-prepared food for our artists-in-residence. We hear about the food almost as much as we hear about the inspiration of the house itself.

Don’t forget to tune in to the Artists of the Hill House podcast, produced and recorded by our friend Sean Twomey. https://www.about45degrees.org/artists-of-hill-house-podcast The latest episode features Emily Pittinos, a recent alum and the 2017-18 Senior Fellow in Poetry at Washington University in St. Louis.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT—and Hill House Artist & Alum News

We’re pumped to announce something that has been in the works for a while, thanks to Sean Twomey, who runs the site About 45 Degrees and works with Real People Media. Sean has been interviewing current residents and alumni from the Hill House, talking to them about their work, life, and experience at the residency. And today, you all get to hear the result!

Now streaming: Artists of Hill House podcast.

The Artists of Hill House Podcast will release two new episodes every two weeks. Soon you’ll be able to find the podcast on iTunes and other streaming sites, but for now check out Sean's site to get your fix. The first two episodes feature

  1. Charming Disaster’s Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris

  2. Photographer, musician, and writer Kay Ballardinelli

This is your chance to take a sneak peek into what happens at the Hill House and what type of people come through those doors. (Hint: awesome. The type of who people come through those doors are awesome.)



Finishing up the current season of Hill House Artists are Alison Powell, a writer, and Marco Wilkinson, another writer! We made sure the printer ink was stocked and we’re hoping that the spring weather gives life to new ideas at the Hill House.

Next up is the brand new season of the residency. Watch your inbox for an email introducing you to all the artists we’re expecting to visit the Hill House over the next 6 months. For now, we say welcome to the first artist—Savannah Carlin, a visual artist.  



Two announcements of albums dropping from Hill House alum.

The first: Calgary-based musician Jennifer Crighton releases her album Hermitess today! This album was written primarily during Jennifer’s two-week stay at the Hill House. Even the album cover features a photo (below) taken during her stay at the Hill House. We may be biased, but we’re totally smitten with this music. See the video for the track “Blood Moon,” sample a couple songs, and buy the album!


The second: Heather Lockie, who is ¼ of three-thirds (maybe you saw them at our Hill House Showcase last month? If so: lucky you.), just released a solo album called “Marshweed in the Garden.” Read more about it here. Take a listen and purchase the album on bandcamp. Awesome work, Heather!

Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology and Earthwork Music Partner on 2nd Annual Skill Swap and Concert at Earthwork Farm

Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology and Earthwork Music Partner on 2nd Annual Skill Swap and Concert at Earthwork Farm


LAKE CITY, MI—Crosshatch and Earthwork Music offer full day of hands-on mini-classes followed by live music and camping at Earthwork Farm.

For the second year in a row, a collaboration between Crosshatch and Earthwork Music is bringing the good people of Michigan an opportunity to come together and learn new skills, such as bike repair, bread baking, songwriting, simple tailoring and—somehow, amazingly—much, much more, with 16 workshops to choose from in all. The fun won’t stop there. After a day of swapping skills, attendees will enjoy an on-farm dinner and waltz hour followed by live music in the barn featuring Seth Bernard (founding director of Earthwork Music, unveiling new material), Gifts of Creatures (husband and wife duo, antique indie folk rock from Lansing), and Heavy Color (richly textured celestial dance music, Toledo based).

"This is proactive problem solving on a local level. Community enrichment in action. We're celebrating our heritage and fostering inclusive hands-on community resilience,” says Seth Bernard. “Any one of these workshops is worth the price of admission. I'm absolutely thrilled to be working with the Crosshatch team to bring this Skill Swap to Earthwork Farm, my birthplace. Please join us, you won't regret it or forget it.”

There are three ticket options for skill-swappers. The whole shebang is $60, which includes the all day Skill Swap beginning at noon, entry to the concert, and overnight camping. For $35, participants can attend just for the Skill Swap from noon-6:00, or just the concert and camping beginning at 7pm.

The Skill Swap and concert is June 3rd from 12pm until late. Tickets run from $35-$60. More information and tickets can be found online at crosshatchskillswap.eventbrite.com. The Skill Swap is made possible with support from: The Workshop Brewing Company, Oryana Community Co-op, The Redheads, New Holland Brewing, and Walk the Beat. If you are interested in supporting the Skill Swap with a sponsorship, email Crosshatch at info@crosshatch.org


About Crosshatch: Crosshatch envisions communities that are grounded in place: where people connect through stories, music, art, shared work, and food, and where the economy and culture are rooted in restoration of the earth and its people. Brad and Amanda Kik started the organization in 2005 as a way to keep Northwest Michigan as beautiful, inspiring, and magical as ever, while helping to make its people even stronger, more self-reliant, and better connected to one another.

About Earthwork Music Collective: Named after Earthwork Farm, the collective's place of origin in Missaukee County, Earthwork has become a Michigan treasure, having developed a collaborative musical platform, a legion of alliances and an epic soundtrack for community resilience. The collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond.

Hill House Artist and Alumni Update

The applications are in and soon we’ll be introducing you to the next cohort of artists that will be coming to the Hill House this summer and fall. Today, let’s focus on who’s been there as of late and who is on their way, plus some exciting alum updates as well. Read on, Hatchies.


Since the fall, we’ve greeted and said farewell to musician Anthony Barilla, writer Emily Pittinos, visual artist Oren Goldenberg, returning alum Charming Disaster, songwriter Julia Purcell, visual artist Kay Bellardinelli, and finally visual artist (and Brit!) Andrew Hladkey. That’s a lotta artists coming and going. At Crosshatch, we often get the chance to get to know these artists at a cocktail hour at Starlight Lounge with the whole staff. It’s always inspiring and grounding to meet the artists that we support through the Hill House. They’re all unique, but they all share the quality of being interesting dreamers and doers. We’re so honored to host them at the Hill House and we thank our donors, supporters, and friends for making the Hill House a possibility for all these artists.

Next up to the Hill House is Lexie Stoia, a visual artist who is bringing her family along with her to the Hill House. Welcome, Lexie!


Now this really tickled our fancy: it’s an article about a Hill House alumni, written by a Hill House alumni. They’re everywhere! Enjoy this piece by Holly Wren Spaulding about Amanda Acker and her shape paintings.

Alum Esteban del Valle was featured in this piece from the Washington Post about his show “Unsettled” that was on exhibition at VisArts in Rockville, Maryland earlier this spring.

We were so happy to host the Hill House Showcase this past weekend, in partnership with Blissfest Music Organization. The event was a two-night affair, happening once at Kirkbride Hall in Traverse City and the next night at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey. We highlighted three alumni from the Hill House, Joshua Davis, Three Thirds, and Robinson & Rohe. We’re excited to announce that we nearly sold out both shows. The crowds were full of smiling faces. Many of the concert-goers had never seen the out-of-town bands and maybe they hadn’t even heard of the Hill House. What a great way to show off some of the amazing artists that come through the Crosshatch Hill House artist residency program. We feel like proud parents. We might have even shed a tear. Thanks to our mega-talented alumni for putting on such a good show. And thanks to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and The Erickson Family Fund at the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation for their support. 


Are you interested in the future of the arts culture here in Northern Michigan? Of course you are! Join the NW Michigan Arts Network for one of their regional arts planning focus groups and let your voice be heard! The next meeting is April 25th at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Traverse City at 4:00. See you there!

Exciting announcement re: Hill House

A special announcement for all future Hill House residents!

Printmakers and bookmakers take note! Chad Pastotnik, proprietor of Deep Wood Press in Mancelona, is offering Hill House resident artists access to the Bindery and Press Room while in residence.

The Press Room includes a Vandercook 219 Old Style Cylinder press, as well as a selection of type. The Bindery includes book presses and a 1895 Reliance guillotine. For a complete list of equipment visit http://www.deepwoodpress.com/facilities.html

Here's the essential fine print:

(1) arrangements need to be made in advance - please note your interest in using these facilities upon acceptance of your residency.

(2) instruction is NOT offered. This equipment is for experienced printmakers and bookmakers only.

(3) press availability is by arrangement with Chad Pastotnik, and is not guaranteed.

(4) not all equipment on the Deep Wood Press is available for use. The Little Giant and Linotype machine are not for resident use.


Happy printing!

Farewell Jen!

All of us at Crosshatch want to wish Jen Schaap all the best as she transitions into new work with the Local Food Alliance and Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.

Jen has been with Crosshatch since 2011, and in that time has been a voice for small farmers and the local agricultural community. She has played a prominent role in the development of Crosshatch's many guilds, as well as taking on many years as the organizing muscle behind the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference.

On behalf of our board and staff, we offer my heartfelt thanks to Jen for her dedication and leadership over these last five years. She has helped Crosshatch grow our community's "major in homecoming" as Wes Jackson calls it. Crosshatch's work has value in as much as it takes place on the ground, in the home, on the farm and in the daily work of local people. Jen has always been that kind of anchor for our work.

"I am extremely grateful for these last 5+ years with Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology. In my time with Crosshatch, working on the many food and farming programs, I have met some of the most passionate, conscientious colleagues and partners who have helped me grow into a leader, listener, and do-er of the good and necessary work in building community." Says Jen.

And then, "I look forward to continuing this work at Groundwork Center, expanding the mycelial network that makes our rural communities stronger. Crosshatch has a special magic and I know, as I depart, that the brilliant, impassioned, dedicated staff and board will keep making that special magic that answers to the call of the community."

We wish her good luck and great work as she moves forward!

Hill House Showcase Concert

Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology Partners with Blissfest Music Organization to Present the Hill House Showcase Concert, Featuring the Joshua Davis Trio, in Traverse City and Petoskey

TRAVERSE CITY, MI—Joshua Davis will headline, along with Robinson & Rohe and Three Thirds, in a two-night series of the Hill House Showcase Concert at Kirkbride Hall on Friday, April 14th and Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey on Saturday, April 15.  

Since 2010, artists from all over the world have been traveling to Northern Michigan in order to live and work at the Hill House Artist Residency. Fewer than 10% of applicants are selected. The Hill House Artist Residency serves musicians, writers, performers, and visual artists. The residency grants time and space—two to four weeks in a log cabin near the Jordan River, stocked with locally sourced food—to support artists and the creation of new art.

Crosshatch is excited to present a showcase concert, featuring three of the very best alumni acts from the past 7 years. Joshua Davis will headline the show with his trio, featuring Mike Shimmin and Mike Lynch. Joshua Davis is Michigan’s beloved folk music hero. Performing Songwriter Magazine has called his music, “some of the most liveliest and rocking roots around.”

Three-thirds, from Los Angeles, combines the underdog instruments of the orchestra - bass, oboe, viola - with acoustic guitar. The band is made up of Jake Rosenzweig, Grammy Award-winner Alex Wand, Claire Chenette, and Heather Lockie. Three-thirds is releasing their new single, The Groundskeeper, on March 4th, just in time for the concert.

Jean Rohe and Liam Robinson met a decade ago through their love of participatory music-making and American folk song. Their original repertoire is inspired by the traditions they hold dear and features carefully crafted lyrics, elegant vocal harmonies, and detailed arrangements for guitar, banjo, and accordion. Together, they are Robinson & Rohe.

Crosshatch is partnering with Blissfest Music Organization to put on this showcase, with generous support from a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and The Erickson Family Fund at the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. The show will run from 7:30-11pm on Friday, April 14 at Kirkbride Hall. The same show will run again the next night, on Saturday, April 15 at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey. Tickets are $20 ($15 for Blissfest members to Saturday’s show) and can be purchased at www.blissfest.org/concerts. Please reach out to Crosshatch at info@crosshatch.org or 231-622-5252 with any questions.


Next Hill House Artist Residency Program Deadline: April 1

Calling all artists! Internationally-attended Hill House artist residency program application deadline approaching soon

BELLAIRE, MI — Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology’s Hill House artist residency applications for the June 2017-December 2017 residency season are due April 1.

The program supports musicians, writers, theater/performance, and visual artists. Artists who apply to the program will go through a jury process. Selected artists are awarded time and space to create new work, with a two- to four-week stay in a semi-secluded log cabin near East Jordan, Michigan. The musician residency also offers a small stipend to emerging songwriters to aid in professional development.

The cabin is surrounded by woods and is within walking distance of the Jordan River. It includes a well-stocked kitchen (with locally sourced food when seasonally available), a selection of instruments and some basic recording gear. Artists are invited, but not required, to engage in community outreach through performance, readings and workshops with coordination and promotion help from Crosshatch. The Hill House artist residency program is unique as it accepts parent artists, artists who want to bring a pet, and allows artists from different disciplines to be in residence together. The only cost for an artist to participate in the Hill House residency program is the $35 application fee.

"My Crosshatch Hill House residency provided me an invaluable opportunity to work uninterrupted, connect with the land and deepen my own understanding of what it is to be an artist and human being," says Jeff Morris, Hill House alum from January 2016 and February 2017.

For more information about the Crosshatch Hill House artist residency, including a link to the online application system, visit check out our Artist Residency page or contact Crosshatch by email or by phone: 231-622-5252.


Photo of Hill House by alum Scott Hocking

Photo of Hill House by alum Scott Hocking

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.