Art Springs From the Ruins of Vicksburg’s Old Paper Mill

Many local media outlets have reported on our new Prairie Ronde Artist Residency – read their stories below!

While some see the crumbling remains of an old paper mill, others see a canvas riddled with art supplies, an acoustically unique concert hall or an open space to write.

The historic site of the Lee Paper Mill has become a workshop for artists brought from across the world to Vicksburg, Michigan through the Prairie Ronde Artist Residency.

The residency program started earlier this year and was made possible by Paper City Development, who owns the paper mill and plans to redevelop the historic site into a mixed-use facility. Plans for the site include a brewery and beer garden, restaurant, retail center, craft food and beverage production facility, offices, arts community, museum, 42 apartments and events spaces.

Read the rest of MLive’s story here…

by Rachel Glaser | Newschannel 3

The old paper mill in Vicksburg is attracting international attention with artists from around the world apply to use the 420,000 -square-foot space into a canvas.

Director of Prairie Ronde Artist Residency, John Kern got the inspiration to start the program after driving past the industrial ruins that have become an all too familiar sight in Michigan.

The Lee Paper Company paper mill that was once the heart of Vicksburg and closed in 2001 is now home to the unique program that recruits artists to reinvent the ruins through their own visions and experiences.

“How can we get people to start coming to the mill and how can we reintegrate the mill back into Vicksburg? Because it’s just been sitting here for a long time,” Kern said. Those questions planted the seed that’s grown into the residency program that started in early 2018.

Read the rest of WWMT’s story here…


Since early 2018, artists have been selected to come to Vicksburg, stay in a private apartment that includes a studio space, and explore the abandoned mill site, mining it for ideas. There is a second living space also available for artists so that two may work simultaneously.

For four to seven weeks each, an artist works to create as they wish. At least one piece of art they create during that time will become part of a permanent collection before the mill becomes a construction site for redevelopment.

Paper City Development owner and Vicksburg native Chris Moore plans to redevelop the historic site into a mixed-use facility. John Kern is Paper City Development’s community outreach and education coordinator. The residency is the brainchild of Kern and his wife, Jackie Koney.

“The mill has actually played an even larger role than we anticipated in the creative process,” Kern says.

“The paper mill is so inspirational,” says Penelope Anstruther, who completed her residency in June. “Everywhere I looked the textures were so beautiful and there is rust galore. All the pieces I made for my site-specific installation were made from found objects from the mill. The setting was the nucleus for everything I made there.”

Click here to read the entire article.

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