In 2011, I received a grant from the La Pointe Center to write a book about Madeline Island and her many artists. As I started to research, not just the historical but the current crop of modern artists living and working here, the project took on a life of its own. The more I learned about the overwhelming number of islanders who were and are artists, the more I wanted to produce something to illustrate why Madeline has become this artist colony of somewhat epic proportions.
Traditionally, words and music have been my main media. Having written and published six books and composed over 500 songs, I soon discovered that these were now inadequate to display the miraculous outcropping of island artists and the place that inspires them. Painters, writers, potters, weavers, sculptors, welders, soap and candle makers—on and on the list goes, not just of a vast array of media, but of individuals throughout the years who have been inspired by this blessed, wild place surrounded on all sides by the Great Lake we call Superior.
The island’s creative vitality is dependent on the organizations and businesses that support the artists and their work—the Art Guild, Bell Street Gallery, the library, St. John’s Church, Tommy’s Burned Down Cafe, the Island Market, Island Carvers, to name a few. I hope I’ve captured their essential presence as the yin to the yang of our creations.
Madeline Island Artist Colony is my first work of photography, meant to express a bird’s eye view of my life in this place of constant beauty, rubbing elbows with other artists living attuned to the light, all pursuing their passion.
Madeline Island Artist Colony is the perfect gift for anyone has fallen in love with Madeline, as we have here, or curious to know what it’s like to live among the vast creativity a colony like this provides. We are blessed to call the island home.
all photos © Barbara With unless otherwise noted