Finalists selected for first Artist-in-Residence Program at the Scripps Estate, workshops offered

This July four Michigan artists will be spending two weeks living and working at the William E. Scripps mansion (owned by Guest House Inc), in a new artist-in-residence program. The competitive event, announced earlier this year, required applicants to propose a body of work that is inspired by the historic site or its famous founder, William E. Scripps of the Detroit News.

William E. Scripps was an early aviator, radio pioneer, auto manufacturer, environmentalist, and also a great patron of architecture and the arts. Many fine examples of American arts and crafts survive at the estate in metalwork, stone, stained glass, and painted finishes, making the mansion an ideal place to inspire working artists. “We wanted to establish the residencies to bring Michigan artists and our historic site together,” said Leslie Pielack, Executive Director and curator of the Scripps Estate. “The art will then be placed on exhibit and made accessible to the public later this summer and fall.”

Resident artists will be provided room, board and work space in the quiet and peaceful setting of the mansion. In return, each artist will donate a major piece from the project back to the estate. It is anticipated that the summer program will be offered annually in the future.

This year’s finalists are from the greater Detroit area and work in varied media. Joan Farago of Grosse Pointe Park will combine painting and off-press printmaking to create her pieces; Victor Pytko of Birmingham will use acrylic and mixed media; academy award nominee filmmaker Gary Schwartz will work with traditional camera obscura and stop-motion animation to create a site-inspired film; and Gayle Vandercook of Lapeer will work with pencils and airbrush markers to create collage works.

The residency period is July 6 to July 20, 2009. Midway through the two week residency, on Saturday, July 11 each artist will conduct a half day workshop from 10 am to 1 pm. Participants will have the choice of four low-cost workshops in which to explore the unique approaches offered by these professional artists.

Joan Farago will present “Off-Press Printmaking,” incorporating the traditional techniques of moku hanga (Japanese printmaking) and monoprints to capture visual impressions of the estate’s grounds and landscape. Materials will be provided.

Four Finalists Selected for First Artist-in-Residence Program

  • Victor Pytko will present “Digital Projection in Composition,” using digital images from the estate to establish compositional features on the canvas, followed by moving to the actual setting out of doors to lay in color and complete the piece. Participants should bring their own materials (except oils).
  • “Collage Drawing with Markers” will be Gayle Vandercook’s topic, emphasizing the use of pencils and markers to create captivating collages inspired by various details found at the site to give full meaning to participants’ chosen subject matter. (Participants will be informed of materials required at registration.)
  • Gary Schwartz will present “Intensive Hands-on Stop-motion Animation,” which utilizes pixilation (a stop-motion technique in which objects & people are photographed frame by frame to create unusual effects). Participants will explore this exciting medium at the historic site and produce a short animated piece. (Participants will be informed of materials required at registration.)

The cost for each workshop is $30 (adults–ages 12+), $15 for seniors. Friends of the William E. Scripps Estate receive a $5 discount. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-391-4445, ext. 1100. Deadline for registration is July 8; space is limited.

The William E. Scripps Artist in Residence program is supported by Guest House, Inc., and is partly funded by the Michigan Council for the Arts and the Oakland County Office of Arts, Culture & Film. Guest House, Inc., is a private, not-for-profit, corporation that has operated a residential treatment center at the site for Catholic clergy suffering from alcoholism and other addictions since the 1950s. In 2007, a new treatment center was built on the grounds making the 1927 mansion more available for public tours and private events. The house and grounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as nationally significant because of the outstanding architecture and landscape as well as the site’s association with the famous William E. Scripps.

For more information, contact Leslie Pielack at 248-391-4445, ext. 1100, or visit

The William E. Scripps Estate

Four Finalists Selected for First Artist-in-Residence Program

From the film, Animus by Gary Schwartz

From Nature Along the Shiawasee, by Gayle Vandercook

Landscape Painting by Victor Pytko

Remember, by Joan Farago

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