"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you imagine."
(Thoreau)

THE OFFER OF A GOLDEN APPLE

Many times I have been asked the significance of the “Golden Apple” when referring to the name of Golden Apple Art Residency.  An easy explanation is that it coincides with the name of my art studio in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.  But it goes much deeper than that.

 For as long as I can remember I have been interested in the nature of fairytales and mythology.  During my undergraduate years at Kendall College of Art & Design, I explored the sub-texts of many popular fairytales, visually reinterpreting them into contemporary imagery.  Eventually my attention turned to Greek mythology.  The myth of the Judgment of Paris served as the catalyst for my MFA thesis, and I became fascinated with the power of the Golden Apple.  The Judgment of Paris tells the story of three goddesses aspiring to be awarded a coveted golden apple, which signified the realization of certain ideal qualities.  In the ancient myth, there was but one apple and it was held by Paris (a shepherd boy) who determined the winner.  Hence, the establishment of the criteria necessary for earning the prize, and the decision of whom it was ultimately bestowed upon was never in the control of those seeking the golden apple. Today, however, that Golden Apple can be reinterpreted to symbolize any one of an endless variety of uniquely individual goals, both personal and professional, determined by each of us at various stages of our lives.  In essence, we can establish our own Golden Apple to be awarded to ourselves upon attaining our goal.

 Your Golden Apple may be a fiercely private wish or a secret ambition; it may be a public declaration of intent or a well-known lifetime ambition toward achieving a particular goal. It may be as small as finishing a project or as big as starting your own business.  It could be a first step such as learning to read, or a last step such as completing a doctoral thesis.  It might be overcoming an addiction, conquering a prejudice or coming to terms with a disability.  Your Golden Apple may be taking a class, taking a trip or taking a stand; it could be obtaining your first job or reaching retirement; it might be learning to forgive or learning to swim.  It could be mastering a foreign language, becoming a master gardener or painting your masterpiece.

 Once we identify our particular Golden Apple and recognize its value (and that is sometimes the hardest part), we can then focus on taking the necessary steps toward attaining it in our lifetime.  Staying focused on that elusive Golden Apple, however, can be seemingly impossible when attempting to satisfy all the other demands of life in our contemporary society.  Golden Apple Art Residency offers an environment full of inspiration and free of distractions in which artists and writers can concentrate solely on the pursuit of their creative goals.  It may be the first step or the final step in achieving your Golden Apple.  No matter where you are in your journey, however, your experience as artist-in-residence should be significant to that outcome.

 Some ways in which you might pursue your own Golden Apple during your residency would be as follows:

 Researching ideas for new work
Continuing or completing current work-in-progress
Beginning new or experimental projects
Obtaining references for studio work (photos and other forms of documentation)
Sketching ideas as catalysts for future work
Building maquettes and mock-ups for sculptural projects
Experimenting with process, methods and materials
Making oil sketches and preliminary drawings
Working on first drafts or editing writing projects
Interacting with other artists exchanging input and critique
Forming collaborative relationships with other artists
Allowing inspiration to present itself in unexpected ways

 We sincerely hope that each of you will be successful in taking another step toward your creative goals as an artist/writer in residence at Golden Apple and that it will be a memorable and satisfying part of your journey.