Saturday, December 10, 2005

Our story

Brad and Amanda Kik’s collaboration began with shared values and strong belief that the arts and sustainable living are intertwined and essential to an enriching community.

Amanda spent both her undergraduate and graduate years at California Institute of the Arts and as an active participant in the art community in Los Angeles before moving to Northern Michigan. She quickly learned that art is a vital part of any community, no matter the size or cultural composition. Amanda's strong desire to contribute to the cultural community of Northern Michigan, coupled with her commitment to the development of new work, led her to the beginnings of ISLAND.

Brad worked for five years as a community organizer both during and after college at Michigan State University. Through his work organizing communities in four states around environmental and consumer rights policy, he learned two important lessons: first, that there is deep and widespread concern about the state of our communities and our place in the world; and second, that policy shift battles are necessary but cannot effect real change without the cultural shift that creates them. After leaving that work Brad spent seven months in New Zealand working with a rainforest sanctuary and sustainable living organization, and saw the power of intensive individual experience. A journal entry from ten days into his trip reveals the seed that became ISLAND:
Question – what do I need from travel? What can I learn (or learn better) that I can’t learn at home?

The answer, ironically, was that it took an 8365-mile journey to both see what was possible and to realize that it needed to be done in Northern Michigan. Brad now hopes that other folks will make a similar journey.

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