Interlochen Center for the Arts

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Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen center for the arts.png
Dedicated to the Promotion of World Friendship
Through the Universal Language of the Arts
Interlochen, Michigan
United States
Type Educational institution, privately owned
Established 1928
President Jeffrey S. Kimpton
Enrollment Camp (summer): 2000
Academy (school year): 475
Campus 1,200 acres (490 ha), wooded, rural, between two lakes, and immediately adjacent Interlochen State Park

Interlochen Center for the Arts is a tax exempt, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, 1,200-acre (490 ha) arts education institution in Interlochen, Michigan, roughly 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Traverse City. Interlochen draws young people from around the world to study music, theater, dance, visual art, creative writing, motion picture arts, and comparative arts. Interlochen Center for the Arts is the umbrella organization for Interlochen Arts Camp (formerly the National Music Camp, founded 1928), Interlochen Arts Academy boarding high school (founded 1962), Interlochen Public Radio (founded 1963), Interlochen College of Creative Arts (founded 2004), and the "Interlochen Presents" performing arts series.

Interlochen Center for the Arts was founded in 1928 and is located in northwest Michigan.


Interlochen Center for the Arts comprises the following programs.

Interlochen Arts Camp[edit]

Young artists from around the world gather at Interlochen each summer to learn, create and perform alongside leading artists and instructors. Programs are offered to students in grades three through twelve.

Interlochen Arts Academy[edit]

A fine arts boarding high school offering the highest quality artistic training combined with comprehensive, college-preparatory academics.

Interlochen College of Creative Arts[edit]

Adult artists thrive on opportunities to learn and express themselves creatively. The College of Creative Arts offers programs in a variety of arts disciplines.

Interlochen Public Radio[edit]

(Classical Music 88.7, 88.5, 94.7 and 100.9 FM; News Radio 91.5, 90.1 and 89.7 FM) Through two listener-supported broadcast services, IPR connect northwest Michigan with arts, news and culture on a global scale. IPR also gives significant focus to local and regional news, information and artists.

Interlochen Presents[edit]

Interlochen brings dozens of world-renowned artists to northwest Michigan, enhancing the region's position on the global arts map. Interlochen presents more than 600 events each year by students, faculty and guest artists, making Interlochen one of the nation's largest arts presenters.

Interlochen Arts Academy[edit]

The Interlochen Arts Academy was founded in 1962 by Joseph E. Maddy as an independent boarding school dedicated to the arts. As of 2007, it had 300 faculty and staff, and roughly 475 students. While more than half the students major in music performance, IAA offers majors in comparative arts, creative writing, dance, theatre (performance; design and production), motion picture arts, and visual arts. Newer majors include motion picture arts beginning in 2005, comparative arts in 2011, and songwriting in 2012. The vast majority of students at Interlochen Arts Academy are boarding students, including many international students; some day students who live in the vicinity attend.

Interlochen Arts Academy has been noted for its academic rigor, as IAA expects students to excel in the classroom as well as artistically. Upon graduation, most IAA graduates continue to universities or conservatories for further study in the arts or academics. Conservatories that often admit Interlochen students include Juilliard, Eastman, Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Curtis, New England Conservatory, Oberlin, Manhattan School of Music, Boston Conservatory, Peabody, and CalArts. Interlochen Arts Academy graduates also matriculate at many other colleges and universities, including Ivy League and other high-ranking institutions, that do not have a primary focus on the arts.


Interlochen in the 1940s

From the State of Michigan historical marker on Interlochen's Osterlin Mall:[1]

Ottawa Indians once lived in the pine forest between lakes Wahbekaness and Wahbekanetta. In the late 1800s white men came and cut the pines, leaving only a small forest between the lakes. This virgin pine was purchased in 1917 by the state and became part of one of the first state parks. When the lumber era ended, the Wylie Cooperage mill occupied the Indian village site, making barrels until the hardwood ran out. Willis Pennington's summer hotel, opened in 1909, was popular with fishermen until automobiles and better roads drew them elsewhere. Then in 1918, Camp Interlochen, one of Michigan's first girls' recreation camps, was opened, followed in 1922 by Camp Penn Loch for boys. In 1928, by arrangement with Willis Pennington, Joseph E. Maddy and Thaddeus P. Giddings established the National High School Orchestra Camp. It grew rapidly in scope, size, and reputation, becoming the National Music Camp in 1931, and affiliating with the University of Michigan in 1942. Interlochen Arts Academy was chartered in 1960 to provide year-round training in the creative arts.

From the book Interlochen, The First 25 Years:

In 1926, Joe Maddy was asked to organize and conduct the First National High School Orchestra for the Music Supervisors' National Conference (now known as the Music Educators National Conference) in Detroit. Its resounding success led to an invitation to duplicate the experience at the Dallas, Texas convention of the National Education Association's Department of Superintendence in 1927. The exuberant young musicians pled for the chance to work and play together longer than the few days the convention appearance afforded. Joe Maddy promised them a music camp! In June, 1928, at Interlochen, Michigan, in the midst of a magnificent stand of virgin pine trees between two lovely lakes, The National High School Orchestra Camp opened its doors. On leased land, with the old Hotel Pennington, several cottages, 29 new camper cabins, a hospital, water and sewer system, the new Interlochen Bowl, and $40,000 debt, this brave experiment was launched.

Interlochen becomes the inspiration for the 1941 Paramount motion picture There's Magic in Music (AKA "The Hard Boiled Canary").[2]

In 1962, Interlochen Arts Academy is founded.

In 1963, WIAA-FM, later to become Interlochen Public Radio, begins broadcasting.

From 2000 to 2007, Interlochen Center for the Arts owned and operated the K-8 Interlochen Pathfinder School in Traverse City, MI.[3] Pathfinder had approached Interlochen about a potential link-up in the late 1990s after Pathfinder encountered financial and operational difficulty. Believing that operational and administrative synergies between Interlochen and Pathfinder might allow Pathfinder to continue operating, Interlochen ran Pathfinder for 7 years before determining that Pathfinder was not a financially viable entity. Pathfinder parents and the local community reacted negatively to the decision to shutter Pathfinder, and Interlochen agreed to turn over the school to a group of parents when several benfactors stepped forward to provide supplemental financial support. Pathfinder has since resumed operation as an independent entity.


The Interlochen Alumni Organization Board serves as the liaison between Interlochen's global alumni community and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Members are elected from the Camp and Academy alumni population and serve two-year terms.

There are nearly 70,000 alumni of Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy living all over the world. Many of them have achieved fame for their artistic abilities or because of other achievements; some of their names are listed below.

Interlochen Public Radio[edit]

Interlochen Center for the Arts is home to Interlochen Public Radio, a National Public Radio member station with studios on the Interlochen campus and multiple broadcast locations that allow the station's signal to reach most of Northern Michigan as well as parts of eastern Wisconsin.

When it was founded in 1963, WIAA (note the similarity between the station call letters and the "IAA" abbreviation for Interlochen Arts Academy) was envisioned as a logical extension of the long-running "Music From Interlochen" program that had been heard for many years on the NBC radio network, and which helped to spread word about the activities at the then-named National Music Camp and the then-fledgling Interlochen Arts Academy. The station performed so poorly in its early years that there was talk of shutting down the operation. Today, however, Interlochen Public Radio thrives and includes both a music service and a news service.

Despite being one of the smallest NPR members, IPR boasts one of the highest rates of per capita contributions of any public radio station in the United States.[11] The station's classical service is broadcast from 88.7 FM in Interlochen, 88.5 FM in Mackinaw City, and 100.9 FM in East Jordan/Charlevoix. In 2000, it began offering a separate news service on 91.5 FM in Traverse City. Interlochen is currently investigating acquisition of additional licenses so that IPR can reach larger, more geographically-diverse audiences.

Interlochen Presents[edit]

Interlochen Presents has a summer festival running from June through August (schedule announced in April) and a performing arts series from September through May coinciding with the Academy school year (schedule announced in August). It features concerts, plays, art exhibits, readings, film screenings and dance productions presented by students, faculty, and staff, as well as both well-known and obscure guest artists. Interlochen Presents events are held in numerous venues around campus. The list of recent guest artists includes Steely Dan, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Joshua Bell, Jason Mraz, Bonnie Raitt, Olga Kern, Sara Bareilles, Dierks Bentley, Norah Jones, Martha Graham Dance Company, Ra Ra Riot, Bob Dylan, Jewel, Carol Jantsch, Josh Groban, Paula Poundstone, Nathan Gunn, Chris Thile, and Bela Fleck. Interlochen Presents and Interlochen Public Radio serve as the primary channels by which Interlochen Center for the Arts connects with the northern Michigan region.

Interlochen College of Creative Arts[edit]

Interlochen College of Creative Arts was founded in 2004, and offers non-degree arts programs for adults 18 years and over. Most programs are 3–7 days long, and are housed in the Mallory-Towsley Center for Arts Leadership building on Interlochen's campus. The Mallory-Towsley building was completed in summer 2011.

Campus features[edit]

Performance venues[edit]

  • Upton-Morley Pavilion (2011) - seasonal, outdoor venue for theatre, music and dance performances
  • The Interlochen Bowl - capacity 5,000 on benches and lawn seating, summer only, open air (1927) The Bowl has been recently renovated to include chairs instead of benches.
  • Grunow Theatre - capacity 200, seasonal (1927, demolished and reconstructed 2004)
  • Kresge Auditorium - capacity 3,929, seasonal, open air covered (1948, expanded and roof added 1964)
  • Corson Auditorium (Grand Traverse Performing Arts Center) - capacity 958, year-round (1975)
  • Dendrinos Chapel - capacity 230, year-round (1982)
  • Charlie's Shack - summer only (1982, moved and reconstructed 2007)
  • Harvey Theatre - capacity 173
  • Phoenix Theatre
  • The Writing House (2002)
  • The Shed (also serves as home to Athletic Services)
  • DeRoy Center for Film Studies (2006)
  • Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts (2008)
  • Dance Building
  • Fine Arts Building

Other major campus structures[edit]

  • Cafeterias - Stone, Lochaven, Pinecrest
  • Dormitories - McWhorter, Mozart-Beethoven, Picasso, Hemingway, DeRoy, Thor Johnson
  • Instructional buildings - Mott Rotunda, Dow Rotunda, Liberal Arts Rotunda, Frohlich Piano and Percussion Building, Organ Building, DeRoy, The Writing House, Mallory-Towsley, Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts
  • Recreation facilities - Marge Hammes Pavilion, Braeside Recreation Building, Lee Cabutti Athletic Field, Ropes Course and Climbing Wall, The Shed
  • Maintenance, Housekeeping, and Warehouse complex
  • Stone Student Center Hotel (offers lodging as well as cabins for visitors to campus)
  • Admissions Office
  • Scholarshop, Melody Freeze, and Box Office
  • Design & Production Building for theatre and motion picture sets
  • Hastings Nature Museum
  • Interlochen Public Radio broadcast and recording studios
  • Bonisteel Library (2007, originally built in 1962 as the Jessie V. Stone recreation building)
  • Dance Building
  • Uniform building
  • Stage Services and Program Office building
  • Main Infirmary, Boys Camp Infirmary, Girls Camp Infirmary

Awards and accolades[edit]

Related publications[edit]


  1. ^ "Michigan Historical Marker: Interlochen". Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  2. ^ There's Magic in Music at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ "Interlochen to close Pathfinder School in June". Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  4. ^ Baxter, Meredith (2011). Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering. Random House LLC. p. 41. 
  5. ^ McConnell, Jim. "Our Man in Hollywood". Chesterfield Monthly. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ IGN: Helms Deep
  7. ^ "Jennifer Lynch | Biography, Photos, Movies, TV, Credits". Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  8. ^ Lexington native Lucille Sharp cast in PBS's 'Downton Abbey'
  9. ^
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ "Lifetime Honors: National Medal of Arts". Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  13. ^ "NEA News Room: 2006 National Medal of Arts - INTERLOCHEN CENTER FOR THE ARTS". 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Presidential Scholars Program". 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°37′45″N 85°46′06″W / 44.62927°N 85.76820°W / 44.62927; -85.76820