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First ‘Artist in Residence’ For 2017-18 Season Named at Porkies

The Friends of the Porkies has announced that Mark Jenzen, creator of the world’s first-ever high-resolution LED Virtual Sky, will arrive in mid-month for a two-week artist’s residency at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Mark Jenzen lives in Plymouth with his fiancé, Katie McKernan and their two young boys, Kolsen and Kamden.Jenzen is the first artist-in-residency recipient announced for the 2017-18 season at the park. Earlier this year, applications were solicited for the 2017 spring, summer and fall and 2018 winter residencies.

The Artist-in-Residence Program is open to artists and artisans whose work can be influenced by the unique northern wilderness setting of Michigan’s largest state park.

Born in Dearborn, Jenzen attended Lawrence Technological University where he studied mechanical engineering. He also served in the U.S. Navy from 1997-2001 as a search and rescue swimmer on the USS Nashville LPD-13, assigned to special warfare. He is a service-connected disabled veteran.

Sherrie McCabe, program director for the Friends of the Porkies, said Jenzen’s LED Virtual Sky helps to re-calibrate the human circadian system.

“Virtual Sky recreates actual moving clouds, birds flying overhead and sunrise and sunset effects in otherwise windowless environments,” McCabe said.

Jenzen’s clients have ranged from healthcare giants like the U.S. Veteran Affairs Department, Johns Hopkins Suburban Hospital and the University of Michigan Medical School to small family physicians located around the world (Find out more at www.ArtificialSky.com).

At 6 p.m. EDT June 22, Jenzen will present a free one-hour program presented to the public at the park’s Wilderness Visitor Center. Jenzen will explore the healing powers of nature as he explains how he creates LED virtual reality ceiling tiles, and illustrates his works of art by displaying a tile incorporating images of the Porkies.

The Artist-in-Residence Program offers writers, composers and all visual and performing artists an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the park and to express it through their art form. Each year a select number of artists are chosen for residencies lasting a minimum of two weeks.

Artists are given the use of a rustic cabin located on the Little Union River and, if requested, a three-night backcountry permit so that they may live in and explore the park’s 60,000 acres of natural beauty, ranging from stunning vistas to 90 miles of rugged backcountry trails.

During their residency, artists are asked to share their experiences with the public through demonstrations or talks. The artists are required to contribute an art piece representative of their stay.

Selection of artists is based on artistic integrity, ability to reside in a wilderness environment, a willingness to donate a finished piece of art inspired by their stay in the Porcupine Mountains, and the artist’s ability to relate and interpret the park through their art medium. The program is open to all art forms except those that may be inconsistent with the mission of the park.

Jenzen lives in Plymouth with his fiancé, Katie McKernan and their two young boys, Kolsen and Kamden.

The Artist in Residence Program is one of many programs sponsored by the Friends of the Porkies. Find out more about this non-profit organization and its activities.

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