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Classical Happenings

Interlochen Center for the Arts completes 30-year Sasaki Master Plan

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Interlochen Center for the Arts
The new Music Center at Interlochen Center for the Arts, which was dedicated in 2019

This week, Interlochen Center for the Arts officially marks the completion of its campus master plan, a 30-year transformation that played a key role in its evolution from a national summer music camp to a global, year-round, and multidisciplinary arts and education leader.

The “Sasaki Associates Campus Master Plan” guided 17 major facility projects, including dedicated and state-of-the-art “homes” for Interlochen’s seven arts disciplines: creative writing, dance, film & new media, interdisciplinary arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.

“Over the last 30 years, the incredible generosity of our community has brought the Sasaki Plan to fruition and remade the artistic face of our campus,” said Interlochen Center for the Arts President Trey Devey. “Young creatives ages 8 to 18 from all 50 states and 40 countries journey each year to Interlochen to transform their passion into purpose across arts disciplines in facilities on par with professional arts organizations, colleges, and conservatories.”

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Interlochen Center for the Arts
Studio space in the new Dance Center at Interlochen Center for the Arts

Interlochen will celebrate the major milestone for an invited audience with performances, exhibitions, and readings by Arts Academy students across campus and with dedication ceremonies at the plan’s two most recently completed facilities: the newly opened Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow House, a convertible residence hall with visiting artist suites and sweeping views of Green Lake; and the state-of-the-art, 26,000-square-foot lakeside Dance Center. Interlochen students, faculty, and staff will be joined by current and retired trustees, past presidents, and representatives from Sasaki Associates and other architectural firms.

Initiated by former Interlochen president Dean Boal in October of 1990 and approved by the Interlochen Board of Trustees in July of 1991, the campus master plan was funded by former Interlochen trustees Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow’s eponymous foundation. It set out to create a physical environment worthy of Interlochen’s emerging global reputation while taking advantage of the campus’s natural beauty.

“Thanks to the extraordinary support of our community, we can now shift our focus to making Interlochen even more transformative and accessible for future generations of creative changemakers as we approach our second century,” Devey said.

Ultimately, the Sasaki Associates Campus Master Plan set the stage for Interlochen’s bright future, creating nine world-class arts facilities: the Phoenix Theatre, the Frohlich Piano and Percussion Building, the Harvey Theatre Complex, the Writing House, the DeRoy Center for Film Studies, the Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts, the Upton-Morley Pavilion, the Music Center, and the Dance Center.

The plan also encompasses renovations to major venues Corson Auditorium and the Interlochen Bowl, as well as the Mallory-Towsley Center for Arts Leadership, home to Interlochen’s convener for lifelong learning, the College of Creative Arts; Bonisteel Library, which features academic and music collections; Corson Park, a picturesque lakeside seating and garden area; the Dennison Center for Recreation and Wellness; and the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow House, a lakeside convertible residence hall with visiting artist suites.

To learn more about each of these buildings and the Sasaki Master Plan, click here.

As part of “Vision 2028,” a set of strategic priorities leading up to the institution's Centennial, Interlochen plans to substantially increase merit- and need-based financial aid for Arts Camp and Academy students to ensure the Interlochen experience is accessible to even more young artists. This academic year, 80% of Arts Academy students received merit- and need-based financial aid, totaling nearly $16 million.

Interlochen also plans to partner with faculty and guest artists to create impactful educational experiences and enhance programs across the institution. These initiatives encompass touring opportunities that allow students to share their work throughout Michigan and in major cultural centers across the country and around the world.

Through Vision 2028, Interlochen also aspires to be the unmatched leader in diversity and inclusion in arts education. Recent advances in this area include increasing the domestic diversity of the Academy student body from 21% to 28% between 2015 and 2021, and increasing domestic diversity among students attending Interlochen Arts Camp from 22% to 28% between 2016 and 2019 (the most recent summer of normal Camp operations).