Summer 2023 EMU course:  Mud & Wood & Metal with Prof. John DeHoog and Prof. Brian Nelson.   Assisted by 3D Studio Coordinator Matt O'Brien. 

The Parsons Center for Arts and Sciences

Up North, near Traverse City, Michigan

The Parsons Center for Arts and Sciences is an 86 acre interdisciplinary, educational center and natural area located in northern Michigan. The Parsons Center is the legacy of the late Jean Noble Parsons, renowned sculptor and potter, and is run by the College of Arts & Sciences with special attention from the School of Art & Design.

Interested in renting Parsons for your organization or class?

Please email Director Sandra Murchison at [email protected] for available dates. Once you have established dates and agreements with Sandra, you may use this link to pay for your stay at Parsons: pay for Parsons fees. Please complete the appropriate waiver form and rental agreement and return forms to Sandra.

Summer 2025 classes to be announced.

Credit courses cost the current tuition and fees rate and a program fee (includes lodging). To find out if financial aid can help with housing and transportation costs, contact the Office of Financial Aid at 734.487.0455.

Find Your Course


  • Classroom / Lab Space
  • Classroom / Studio
  • Dining Hall
  • Faculty House / Living Room
  • Classroom.  Studio and Lab
  • Bellows Lake.  Parsons dock and boat
  • Dining Hall
  • Studio
  • Student in Summer 2023 EMU course
  • Artist/Scholar in Residence

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    The scholar/artist's role is to complete a project relevant to the mission of Parsons. Projects can include, but are not limited to, research, GIS mapping, manuscripts for publication, artistic productions or curricular development. A public presentation of the project or other means of public engagement is preferred. This unique experience allows the scholar/artist to explore new dimensions in their discipline in a serene and remote environment. Please submit a proposal stating your intended residency and preferred dates at Parsons and send it to [email protected]. You may review the residency fee structure at: pay for Parsons fees.

    All interested scholars/artists should contact:

    Parsons Director
    Sandra Murchison, Director of the School of Art & Design and Professor of Art
    School of Art and Design
    117 Ford Hall
    Eastern Michigan University
    [email protected]

    Download the artist in residence rental contract [PDF].


One of the things that makes teaching, or taking a course at Parsons a special experience is staying at the Center with your co-instructors and students. Find out more by downloading the information guide: Students [PDF] | Faculty [PDF].

All overnight guests from EMU are required to participate in a rental contract, sign liability waiver forms and abide by general rules of conduct. Download the rental requirements [PDF].

  • About Jean Noble Parsons

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    Jean Noble Parsons was born in Bridgeport, Conn. in 1929, the only child of George and Mildred Parsons. She attended Florida Southern College where she studied painting under Emilin Etting and illustrated a zoology test manual. She also studied painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry and woodcarving at the Tyler School of Fine Art in Philadelphia, Pa. During that time, she worked as one of the earliest art therapists at Temple Hospital.

    She earned her bachelor's in commercial art from University of Florida. In addition, she illustrated several medical books. She received her MFA in ceramics with a minor in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She served as assistant to internationally-acclaimed Finnish ceramist Maija Grotell.

    In 1958, Jean was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and attended Kunsthaandvaerkskolen Copenhagen to be mentored by the renowned potter, Richard Kjaerdgaard and complete research across Europe.

    Jean was part of the New York advertising and style industry, working as a fashion representative and promoting sales through department store demonstrations and radio and television promotions. She served as a fashion photography coordinator for John Wanamaker and represented U.S. Clothiers at fashion shows in London and Paris, and traveled extensively on their behalf in throughout Europe. She also coordinated and propped for major national and international fashion and commercial accounts while in New York.

    In 1962, Jean became a charter faculty member of the Interlochen Arts Academy and chair of the visual arts division. During her 38 years at Interlochen, she provided vision and direction to the department and instructed hundreds of students. Two of her students became presidential scholars, a prestigious national honor recognizing her as an outstanding instructor by The White House. Many of her students have become successful professionals. All have been influenced by her tireless spirit, lofty principles and nurturing guidance. A spiritual person, she had a deep love and reverence for nature and the environment.

How to Get Here

The Parsons Center is at 5833 Bellows Lake Road, Lake Ann, Mich.

From EMU/Ypsilanti (approximately 255 miles)

US-23 north and continue on I-75. Take US-10 west / M-115 west. Turn right (north-west) on M-115 toward Cadillac. Turn right (north) on M-37 (north 13 Road). Turn left (west) onto US-31. Turn right (north) onto Lake Ann Road (CR-665). Turn right (east) on to Nofsger Road. Turn right (south) on to Bellows Lake Road.

From Traverse City (approximately 15 miles)

Take East Front Street west. East Front Street becomes North Long Lake/CR-610. Turn right (west) on to North Long Lake /CR-610. Turn Left (south) on to Bellows Lake Road.

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