Teen Artist Exploration

View of the Rock Harbor Lodge complex from the air.
The Rock Harbor area.


"Isle Royale and the Teen Artist Exploration has opened my life to so many amazing things. My art has taken on a new dynamic; I appreciate so much more the wild and natural ways of life the Island showed me."
-- Elisha Houle, 2016 teen artist.

The Isle Royale Teen Artist Exploration is for all aspiring teen artists who want to develop their art through experiencing wilderness. It is open to all visual and performing artists, writers, and composers ages 13 to 18 at time of participation.

Ranger III main passenger lounge showing seats.
Main Passenger Lounge of RANGER III


Teen Artist Exploration Program

Over the course of six days in July, selected teen artists camp on Isle Royale and explore the island in coordination with an artistic mentor--hike and backpack along wave-washed shores, canoe quiet bays of Lake Superior, or take boat tours. The artistic mentor provides coaching, lessons, and assistance during the artistic and wilderness exploration. Let the remote island wilderness inspire your creativity.

How Do I Get to the Park?

Complimentary transportation to the park is provided on the National Park Service vessel Ranger III, a 165-foot ship operating out of Houghton, Michigan. Artists are expected to arrive in Houghton the day before the ferry departs in order to acquire supplies, load materials and supplies aboard the Ranger III, and check over any last minute details with the Artist-in-Residence Coordinator.

Where do I Stay?

The Isle Royale Teen Artist Exploration Program is a camping experience. All participants must be comfortable camping for 5 nights. The park and the program mentor will assist the camping experience.

Basic camping supplies will be provided (tents, sleeping bags, cookstove, etc), but participants may also bring their own equipment as they are comfortable. Shower facilities are available in Rock Harbor through the Rock Harbor Trading Post for a fee.

If selected, the Artist-in-Residence Coordinator will communicate all of these logistical considerations to you and your family.

Program Requirements

  • Selected artists must be ages 13 - 18 at time of program participation.
  • Selected artists will be park volunteers.
  • Selected artists must donate a piece of artwork representative of their stay on Isle Royale to the park within one year of their experience. The donated piece will offer the public an opportunity to experience our national heritage through the artist's unique interpretation of Isle Royale.
  • If seventeen or younger, selected artists must have a legal parent or guardian accompany them.
  • Artists considering applying must be available for the proposed Teen Artist Exploration session. One of these time periods will be the program dates.

Program Dates

July 26 - July 31, 2024 (Friday - Wednesday)

Artists must be available during this time period.

Where do I Eat?

You are on your own for meals, though often the mentor may help arrange communal meals. Meals are primarily prepared on a campstove, so plan to bring camping food that is easy to prepare. A small selection of food and supplies can be purchased from the Rock Harbor Lodge Trading post. Another food option is the Rock Harbor Lodge, which operates two restaurants in the area.

If selected, the Artist-in-Residence Coordinator will communicate all of these logistical considerations to you and your family.

What do I Bring?

Teen artists and their families must bring:

  • Daily Supplies (food, clothing, hiking gear, etc)
  • Artistic Materials (in coodination with the mentor)
  • An Attitude of Adventure

More detailed information will be provided by the Artist-in-Residence Coordinator.

How Many May Come With Me?

If under 18, selected teen artists must bring at leat one parent or guardian. A maximum of 4 individuals total is allowed (1 tent). For example, a selected teen artist could bring their mother, father, and brother, plus themselves (4 total). Everyone must be comfortable staying in one tent.


Program Sponsors

Last updated: April 5, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


906 482-0984

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