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. 

School’s out and summer is at hand. That means it’s time to make vacation plans.

Mission Point Press in Traverse City has your back.

They’re out with a true insiders’ guide to Northwest Michigan, including Traverse City, the surrounding area and Leelanau County.

When it comes to building love and connection between mother and baby, it’s hard to beat the ancient magic of a lullaby.

Those moments holding your baby, singing a lullaby, can live in a mother’s heart long after that baby is grown.

So imagine the extra power of a lullaby you write just for your baby. The Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project at the Flint School of Performing Arts helps young mothers do just that.

Jody Burns (left) acts in Shane Bagwell (center) and Michael Mittelstaedt's recent Cinemasports film. Teams only have 10 hours to write, shoot and edit their films.
Dan Wanschura

Cinemasports is an intense film event. Filmmakers have 10 hours to write, shoot and edit their films. Then the films are screened the same day.

“The value for the 10-hour, three-minute film?” asks Bill Dungjen. “Pretty much my entire philosophy of entertainment, which is, ‘Go do something.’”

Take a Detroit problem. In this case, neighborhoods that have suffered neglect.

Tackle that problem with a solution from a Third World Country, in this case, Morocco.

That's what an innovative effort called the Ghana Think Tank has done. The result is being launched today in Detroit's North End Woodward Community.

School is letting out, and it's time to plan your Michigan summer getaways. No matter where in the state your vacation takes you, there’s probably a theater production not too far away.

As part of our ongoing series Theater Talk, David Kiley of Encore Michigan detailed upcoming shows at Thunder Bay Theater, Barn Theater, Mason Street Warehouse Theater, as well as this year’s Broadway shows at the Fisher Theater in Detroit.

A new sculpture titled "Enspire" will be unveiled in Traverse City's Lay Park, Tuesday afternoon. The piece of art memorializes Bryan Crough, who was a longtime executive director of the Traverse City DDA.
Dan Wanschura

A new piece of public art will be unveiled in Traverse City Tuesday afternoon. The metal sculpture is over 14 feet high and is located in Lay Park.

Artist DeWitt Godfrey designed the sculpture. He says he hopes it’ll be a place of contemplation.


Rebecca Childs works on a painting in her '99 Paintings for Evelyn' series.
Dan Wanschura

Rebecca Childs’ grandmother-in-law painted and sketched right up until her death last year. Her name was Evelyn Henry, and she was 99 years old. And Evelyn changed the way Rebecca thought about her own art.

“You can’t have an excuse if a 99-year-old woman is sketching in her bed, you know, the last week of her life,” she says.

West Michigan is turning out many talented artists and many styles of music these days.

Editor and publisher John Sinkevics has been covering West Michigan’s music scene on his Local Spins website to share music he felt wasn’t getting covered enough by local publications.  

In her most recent book, author Mary Roach talks about the unique ways science and war interacts on a more personalized level.
Dan Wanschura

‘Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War,’ is the newest book by author Mary Roach. And in it's pages, she doesn’t talk about what you might think of when you hear the words “science” and “war.” 


Hiding people in barns, or stowing people in secret rooms while keeping the watchful eyes of law enforcement and bounty hunters away from their clandestine activities. That's our image of Michiganders who helped thousands of escaping slaves through the Underground Railroad.

But there are many more dimensions to the Underground Railroad in Michigan.

Historian Michelle S. Johnson has made it her mission to help us more fully understand Michigan's role in the Underground Railroad.

"Poetry is good food."

That's the lesson award-winning writer Peter Markus has been teaching to kids in Detroit for years.

He taught creative writing in the Detroit Public Schools and he is the senior writer with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, which places writers in public schools to hold creative writing workshops.

Krista Cooper

 The Traverse Symphony Orchestra recently closed its season with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. They were joined by the NMC Grand Traverse Chorale and Chamber Singers and the Interlochen Arts Academy Choirs. Join Classical IPR this Friday night at 8 PM for a special presentation of this recent concert.  

The concert program and a translation of Friedrich Schiller's "Ode to Joy" text is available by clicking on the images below.

Jeff Kimpton concludes his 14-year presidency at Interlochen Center for the Arts on June 1.
Interlochen Center for the Arts

Jeff Kimpton is wrapping up his 14-year presidency at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Next week, he will retire and move to Minneapolis with his wife Julie.


Keith Taylor is a naturalist as well as a poet. Every summer, he spends several weeks at the University of Michigan’s Biological Station.

The poems in his newest collection contain a close, almost scientific, attention to detail. This is a collection that delves into the truth of beauty, evanescence and life through communion with the natural world.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra LIVE!

May 24, 2017

This Friday morning on Classical IPR, you can hear the Detroit Symphony Orchestra live in concert! Virtuosic Canadian violinist James Ehnes returns in the first Detroit performances of a concerto by celebrated orchestral and film composer James Newton Howard (The Hunger Games series), and guest conductor Cristian Măcelaru leads Rachmaninoff's romantic Second Symphony. The program airs at 10:40am.

Biss & Padmore Concert from Interlochen

May 19, 2017

Pianist Jonathan Biss and tenor Mark Padmore bring late works of Franz Schubert to the stage of Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall at Interlochen Center for the Arts. These world renowned artists perform Schubert’s last song cycle Schwanengesang and the Piano Sonata No. 20 in A Major.

'Hollywood and Crime' is a podcast produced by Jim Carpenter and Rebecca Reynolds of Leland. The couple is currently working on producing the second season of the podcast, which is due later this year.
Wondery

Rebecca Reynolds and her husband, Jim Carpenter are filmmakers from Leland, Michigan.  About two years ago, Rebecca had a conversation with a friend in Los Angeles. Together, they came up with the concept for a true crime and Hollywood show.


Thomas generously gives us the whole messy life. This is deeply satisfying, but you have to pay attention.

 


The Flint Institute of Arts has been a center for arts and culture in Flint since it was established nearly 90 years ago, in 1928.

It's the second-largest art museum in Michigan and one of the biggest art museum schools in the nation. Today, the FIA is still growing and evolving.

Friday Concert: Schwanengesang Translation

May 12, 2017
The cast of 'Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play' gathers for a rehearsal earlier this week. The show explores what a society might hold onto after an apocalyptic event.
Dan Wanschura

If there was an apocalypse, what would we hold onto? How about the TV show 'The Simpsons?'

That’s the case in ‘Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.’

The musical comedy portrays a group of survivors who make it through a global disaster, which has left the world without electricity. 

 


Major General George Owen Squier. The name may not be familiar, but his work in the fields of aeronautics and radio communications rivaled that of better-known contemporaries like Alexander Bell and the Wright Brothers.

Squier, a native of Dryden, Michigan, was the first military officer to fly, in a plane piloted by Orville Wright. Today, his hometown hopes to build a statue in his honor.

 

In Detroit, there are all kinds of artists and art projects happening organically. But, the City of Detroit doesn’t really have a vehicle to encourage or develop an arts culture.

Students at Leland High School rehearse 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' earlier this week. The musical incorporates audience participation to determine the outcome of the show.
Kim Klein

When Charles Dickens died in 1870, his last novel, 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood,' was unfinished. All we know for certain is that the title character, Edwin Drood, mysteriously disappears.

A musical based on that story assumes Drood has been killed, and the students at Leland High School are performing it over the next two weekends.

An auto accident leaves a little girl with a shattered leg. She spends the next year bedridden in a body cast, wondering if she'll ever be back in school again, back playing hopscotch with her friends.

At the same time, she and her family are trying to build new lives. They are Cuban Jews who fled Castro's Cuba for a new life in New York City.

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