Interlochen Center for the Arts is a non-profit organization dedicated to arts education and events. Interlochen’s 1,200 acre campus is located in northwest lower Michigan, about thirteen miles south of Traverse City. It was established by Joseph Maddy as a summer music camp in 1928, and was originally called the National High School Orchestra Camp. Since then, Interlochen continues to host a summer arts camp for many art disciplines, as well as a boarding high school for the performing and visual arts, yearlong concerts and events, adult arts workshops, and a public radio station.
Summer Arts Camp
Interlochen’s summer arts camp runs for six weeks, and offers classes for children in 3rd through 12th grade. High school campers (grades 9-12) and intermediate campers (grades 6-9) focus on one artistic discipline: music, theater, dance, creative writing, visual arts, motion picture arts, or general arts. Junior campers, grades 3-6, take classes in a variety of those disciplines.
Summer campers live in cabins surrounding Interlochen’s main campus, under the care and supervision of a camp counselor. All campers, faculty, and staff wear the traditional Interlochen uniform: a light blue collared shirt with navy blue pants, shorts, or skirt. In addition to taking arts classes, students attend and perform in music, dance, and theatrical shows, display their work in gallery exhibits, and have the option to visit local sites such as Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Interlochen’s boarding school, established in 1962, is for high school students who are dedicated to a specific art form. It is recognized as one of the most prestigious arts boarding schools in the country. Roughly half of Interlochen’s 500 students are musicians; other students focus on dance, theater, visual arts, or motion picture arts. Additionally, a comparative arts program is available for students who do not wish to major in one field.
Students attend rigorous, college-level academic classes in English, math, science, social studies and foreign languages, while also focusing intensively on their art. They perform or display their work regularly in concerts, recitals, and exhibits. Many Interlochen students have gone on to study at prestigious schools such as the Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, California Institute of the Arts, and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
College of Creative Arts
The Interlochen College of Creative Arts is a summer workshop program for adults ages 18 and older. Workshops are held in music, creative writing, visual arts, motion picture arts, and professional development. Students may also elect to enroll in an Arts Sampler, a two-day workshop incorporating classes from a variety of art forms. Whether students are professionals in the field or novices to the art world, the adult programs at Interlochen provide an inspiring environment for artistic exploration and growth.
Concerts and Art Events
Artistic concerts, recitals, and exhibits are held year-round at Interlochen, bringing in renowned artists from around the world. The Summer Arts Festival is an especially illustrious event: headliners such as Sheryl Crow, Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, Lyle Lovett, and the Moody Blues have performed at Interlochen numerous times.
The Interlochen Shakespeare Festival boasts Interlochen faculty, staff and alumni in a Shakespeare play each summer. Collage, which incorporates student performances from all artistic disciplines, is performed during both the summer and the school year. Performances are held in Interlochen’s numerous recital halls, stages, and auditoriums.
Interlochen Public Radio
Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) is made up of two listener-supported radio stations for news and music. It can be heard at Interlochen and in surrounding areas, and is offered online as well as through the radio. IPR was established in 1963 and has grown to become a 24-hour broadcast.
Additional Information on Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen’s founder, Joseph Maddy, decreed that the Interlochen week would begin on Tuesday and finish on Saturday, leaving Sunday and Monday for the communal weekend. The tradition has stuck throughout Interlochen’s history, and applies to both the camp and the academy.
Interlochen boasts many well-known alumni from both the summer camp and academy. Among them: Norah Jones, singer/songwriter; Josh Groban, singer/songwriter; Cathy Guisewite, creator of the comic strip Cathy; Meredith Baxter, television actress; Felicity Huffman, television actress; Anthony Rapp, actor; and Mike Wallace, 60 Minutes correspondent.
Scholarships and other forms of tuition assistance are available for Interlochen’s summer camp, academy, and adult programs