Northern Michigan Arts & Culture

Northern Michigan is a place with incredible natural beauty and varied landscapes. It is also home to Interlochen Center for the Arts and several other longstanding cultural institutions. Little wonder the region has been so attractive to artists and musicians of all types. Here we bring you those stories. 

After covering the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan for NPR, author Sarah Chayes decided to stay in the country and start a non-profit. The many types of corruption Chayes witnessed there firsthand, led her to write the book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security. She argues that while everyone around the world agrees corruption is bad, it’s a subject that usually get’s pushed to the back burner.

“We’re under-appreciating the degree to which a lot of the turmoil we’re seeing the world today is actually sparked by indignation at acute public corruption,” says Chayes. 


Morgan Springer

Incarcerated poets get together weekly at Writer’s Block, a poetry writing workshop at Macomb Correctional Facility outside Detroit. Eight inmates file into a conference room. Dressed in navy and orange jumpsuits, they greet everyone with affectionate handshakes.


Maryfrances Phillippi in front of her "Circle of Angels" barn quilt.
Daniel Wanschura

Have you ever been driving around and noticed huge, quilt-like squares hanging on the sides of barns?

Those are called barn quilts, and just as fabric quilts tell stories with what's stitched into them, so do these wooden quilts. 

The fall season of the National Writers Series opens in Traverse City tonight with best-selling historian Hampton Sides, who will talk about his newest book, In the Kingdom of Ice.

The book is about a failed attempt to sail to the North Pole in the late 1870s and 1880s by a crew of U.S. Navy sailors.

“It is an amazing story of comradeship, of leadership, of men sticking together through thick and thin to try to make it to safety," Sides says.

He spoke with IPR's David Cassleman about the story, which Hampton Sides says was well-known in the United States at the time – but has since been largely forgotten.

Peter Payette

(This is our first story in a new series on IPR.) 

Around the time Ben Davila was thinking about leaving San Francisco, a friend sent him a BuzzFeed article about nine private islands you can buy for less than an apartment in San Francisco.
Davila was well aware of the problem. He had a small recording studio in his apartment that he wanted to expand, but there was no way he could afford it.