Interlochen Center for the Arts

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Interlochen Center for the Arts

United States
TypeEducational institution, non-profit
MottoDedicated to the promotion of world friendship through the universal language of the arts
PresidentTrey Devey
EnrollmentCamp (summer): 3000
Academy (school year): 500[citation needed]
Campus1,200 acres (490 ha), wooded, rural, between two lakes, adjacent to Interlochen State Park
Color(s)  Blue
NicknameFighting Blueberries

Interlochen Center for the Arts is a non-profit corporation which operates arts education institutions and performance venues in northwest Michigan. It is situated on a 1,200-acre (490 ha) campus in Interlochen, Michigan, roughly 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Traverse City.

Interlochen supports young domestic and international artists in the pursuit of studying music, theater, dance, visual arts, creative writing, film, and interdisciplinary arts.


Interlochen Center for the Arts is the umbrella organization for summer program Interlochen Arts Camp,[1] arts boarding high school Interlochen Arts Academy,[2] National Public Radio (NPR) charter station Interlochen Public Radio,[3] performance series Interlochen Presents, adult arts program Interlochen College of Creative Arts,[4] and online arts program Interlochen Online.[5]

Interlochen Arts Camp[edit]

Founded in 1928 by Joseph E. Maddy,[6] Interlochen Arts Camp (formerly known as National Music Camp) offers multiple summer arts camp programs for students in grades 3-12. Programs range from one- to six-weeks.

Interlochen Arts Academy[edit]

Fine Arts Building in 2018

Interlochen Arts Academy is a pre-professional arts boarding high school, founded in 1963 by Joseph E. Maddy. The school offers seven arts majors in creative writing, dance, film and new media, interdisciplinary arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.

Ninety-six percent of graduates are accepted into one of their top three colleges.[7] The 2021 graduating class matriculated to various institutions, including: Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Eastman School of Music, Jacobs School of Music, Juilliard School, New York University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of Southern California, and Yale University.[8]

Interlochen College of Creative Arts[edit]

Founded in 2004, Interlochen College of Creative Arts offers non-degree granting arts programs and continuing education units for adults 18 years and older.

Interlochen Public Radio[edit]

Interlochen Center for the Arts is home to Interlochen Public Radio, a National Public Radio member station that broadcasts a signal to most of the lower peninsula of Northern Michigan as well as parts of eastern Wisconsin. Two listener-supported stations broadcast to northwest Michigan: Classical Music 88.7, 88.5, 94.7 and 100.9 FM; News Radio 91.5, 90.1 and 89.7 FM. Broadcasts include arts programming, news and culture from around the world, as well as local and regional news. IPR was a charter member of National Public Radio.

Founded in 1963, Interlochen Public Radio or WIAA was envisioned as an extension of the "Music From Interlochen" program which ran on the NBC radio network. The Music From Interlochen Program informed a wider audience about the activities at the then-named National Music Camp and the nascent Interlochen Arts Academy. The station was slow to catch on in its early years and some considered shutting down the operation. Interlochen Public Radio went on to establish itself with two service channels: one for music and one for news.

In 1993, Interlochen Public Radio reportedly had one of the highest rates of per capita contributions of any public radio station in the United States.[9] The station's classical music service is broadcast from their main tower at WIAA 88.7 FM in Interlochen, along with WIAB 88.5 FM in Mackinaw City, and W234BU 94.7 FM in Traverse City. In 2000, IPR began offering a separate news service on WICA 91.5 FM in Traverse City and later added WLMN 89.7 FM in Manistee and WHBP 90.1 FM in Harbor Springs.

Interlochen Presents[edit]

Interlochen's Kresge Auditorium - an open air amphitheater

Interlochen Presents offers a summer festival from June through August during the arts camp and a performing arts series from September through May that coincides with the Arts Academy school year. It features concerts, plays, art exhibits, readings, film screenings, and dance productions presented by students, faculty, and staff, along with an assortment of guest artists. Previous guest artists include 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 in the 1940s
historical marker at Interlochen

From the State of Michigan historical marker on Interlochen's Osterlin Mall:[10]

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.[11]

dancers rehearsing at Interlochen, 1969

Interlochen was the inspiration for the 1941 Paramount motion picture There's Magic in Music (AKA "The Hard Boiled Canary").[12] Interlochen also provided inspiration, along with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, for Alyson Hannigan's character in American Pie.[citation needed]

In 2006, Katalyst Media filmed a reality TV pilot for MTV at Interlochen Arts Academy. Afraid that an MTV show would ruin Interlochen's distinguished reputation, a large group of students resorted to protesting and trolling the Katalyst Media film crew in order to prevent Katalyst Media from filming viable footage. Student efforts were successful, and the pilot never aired.[citation needed]

Awards and accolades[edit]

  • National Medal of Arts: In 2006, Interlochen Center for the Arts was named recipient of the National Medal of Arts, one of the highest honors bestowed by the President of the United States and National Endowment for the Arts on individuals or institutions that have contributed substantially to the growth and advancement of the arts.[13] Interlochen president Jeff Kimpton received the award on behalf of Interlochen Center for the Arts from President George W. Bush in an Oval Office ceremony.[14]
  • Presidential Scholars in the Arts: Interlochen Arts Academy is a perennial front-runner among American high schools in its production of Presidential Scholars in the Arts, having produced more recipients of the award than any other school in the nation.[15]
  • National youngARTS Foundation: Interlochen Arts Academy represents 19% of youngARTS finalists. In connection to the youngARTS competition, three Interlochen students, Adam Blodgett '08, Alix Briggs '08, and Steven Johnson '09, were featured on HBO's Primetime Emmy-winning Masterclass series. Alumni Josh Groban has also appeared on the series as a mentor.[citation needed]


Notable alumni[edit]

Notable alumni include:

Further reading[edit]

  • Boal, Dean (August 1998). Interlochen: A Home for the Arts. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-10882-4.
  • Browning, Norma Lee (1992). Joe Maddy of Interlochen. Contemporary Books. ISBN 0-8092-3907-8.
  • Feild, Thom (August 2006). Pine Nuts - Recollections of Summers at Interlochen. Thom Feild Design LLC. ISBN 0-9786677-0-0.


  1. ^ "Interlochen Arts Camp". Retrieved 2022-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Interlochen Arts Academy". Retrieved 2022-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Interlochen Public Radio". Retrieved 2022-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Interlochen College of Creative Arts". Retrieved 2022-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Interlochen Online". Retrieved 2022-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Interlochen History". Retrieved 2022-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Interlochen Arts Acaedmy". Retrieved 2022-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "College Matriculation". Retrieved 2022-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "About Interlochen Center for the Arts | Interlochen Center for the Arts". Archived from the original on December 25, 2008.
  10. ^ "Michigan Historical Marker: Interlochen". Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  11. ^ National Music Camp, Interlochen, the First Twenty-five Years. [A Pictorial History, 1926-1952]. National Music Camp. 1952.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  12. ^ There's Magic in Music at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ "Lifetime Honors: National Medal of Arts". Archived from the original on 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  14. ^ "NEA News Room: 2006 National Medal of Arts - INTERLOCHEN CENTER FOR THE ARTS". 2006-11-09. Archived from the original on 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  15. ^ "U.S. Presidential Scholars Program". 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  16. ^ "PIPPIN Will Be Performed by Interlochen Arts Academy This Week". Broadway World. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  17. ^ Baxter, Meredith (2011). Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering. Random House LLC. p. 41.
  18. ^ McConnell, Jim. "Our Man in Hollywood". Chesterfield Monthly. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  19. ^ a b c Winowiecki, Emma (May 3, 2017). "Interlochen Center for the Arts to get $24M music building". Michigan Radio. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  20. ^ "IGN: Helms Deep".
  21. ^ Emke, Dave (2017-07-28). "Obituary: Actor Evan Helmuth, 40, Lived in Reston as a Boy". Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  22. ^ Wright, C. (January 6, 2015). "Bebop and Cool Jazz". Statesman Journal.
  23. ^ "Aaron Johnson". ReverbNation.
  24. ^ "Award Winning US Singer Norah Jones Makes Nostalgic Return to Youth Arts Camp - 2003-07-14". VOA News. October 30, 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  25. ^ Boissoneau, Ross (June 14, 2017). "Pop Band with Local Roots Returning to Interlochen". Traverse Magazine. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  26. ^ "Jennifer Lynch | Biography, Photos, Movies, TV, Credits". Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  27. ^ a b c "New Philadelphia's Adam Exley attends renowned Interlochen Arts Camp". Times Reporter. July 3, 2017. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  28. ^ Victoria Schneps (23 December 2021). "Power Women with Victoria Schneps" (Podcast). Schneps Media. Event occurs at 2:12-3:32. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  29. ^ Serba, John (June 28, 2012). "Singer/songwriter talks about getting married, Interlochen and new album 'Out of the Game'". M Live. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  30. ^ [1]
    • Daxun Zhang - Double Bass International Soloist; Juilliard Professor, Tianjin, China
    Archived May 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

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