Growth, diversity and community. The Interlochen Center for the Arts hosts performances from more than a dozen students to celebrate the completion of a 30-year campus master plan that has transformed the school from a summer music organization to a year-round multidisciplinary global arts and education institution. One Detroit’s Christy McDonald discusses the organization’s evolution with Interlochen President Trey Devey.
Christy McDonald, One Detroit, DPTV: Trey Devey from Interlochen, it’s great to see you and what a fantastic celebration this fall; really the culmination of 30 years– a 30-year plan.
Trey Devey, President, Interlochen Center for the Arts: Yeah, yeah. Thank you, Christy. We couldn’t be more proud of our community and the tenacity to get to this point over these three decades.
Christy McDonald: Talk to us specifically about some of the facilities that stand out and how they are state of the art.
Trey Devey: The beautiful thing about each of the facilities is that our faculty and artistic leaders helped guide the development of those projects. So when you’re in the writing house, as an example, and if you’re interested in creative writing, I know every time I go in there, there’s the fireplace. There’s these small, intimate nooks and crannies. You just want to write your first novel. The music center was the largest single project in the history of Interlochen, so that was a $24 million, 60,000 square foot facility. Rivals anything that you would experience at the collegian or the professional level. And then some of the more recent projects, where the Dance Center right on the shores of Green Lake, it’s essentially this fishbowl. All glass, can see out to the water, can see the work of the dancers from all over campus. But because we engaged our artistic leaders, we ended up with facilities that were just really purpose-designed for those students.
Christy McDonald: Talk about the importance of expanding this kind of fine arts education for young people.
Trey Devey: Creative education is going to be one that will stand the test of time. The arts develop this level of resilience that our students are going to need now and in the future. You know, we know that about half of our kids will go into the arts in some form, and half of them will go into other fields, but they’ll take their creativity with them wherever they go.
Christy McDonald: So when you celebrated this major milestone, this 30-year master plan course, all of the students were a big part of that and the performance. Describe what the weekend was like.
Trey Devey: We brought all of our campus together. We dedicated the final two facilities, the Dance Center and the Dow House, which is the residence hall. And then we had a series of performances throughout the day on Friday, covering all of the disciplines in these various spaces. And so that was-that was amazing. And then we came together again that evening, and this was students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and-and we said, thank you. Then we talked a bit about where we’re going and we’re-we’re seven years away from our 100th anniversary. And so we talked about how we want to be even more excellent for our students and how we want to provide even greater access. So these two themes are really where we’re going in the-in the years ahead.
Christy McDonald: I love when you talk about access and being able to expand. What are some of the maybe specific plans about getting to other areas and seeing this is an opportunity for you to be able to come here to Interlochen?
Trey Devey: We’ve started programs in various areas around the country. Detroit is an area focus. We’ve got a program called Opportunity Scholars, which is essentially saying if you’ve got passion and potential and we see that promise in you, we don’t want the price of Interlochen to stand in the way. So there are scholarships that are available for students to come in the summer. Eventually, what we’d like to achieve is to meet the full demonstrated financial need of every young person who applies. So if you’re accepted, we’re going to meet your family’s full demonstrated need. That’s what we hope to do. And so between now and our 100th anniversary, it’s our goal when we enter our second century of Interlochen. That’s the, you know, that’s the gift that we want to give to everyone in Michigan and really beyond.
Christy McDonald: What do you see on the horizon of how the pandemic has changed the arts and how you have responded to that at Interlochen?
Trey Devey: Well, for one thing, we’ve-we’ve begun virtual education and over the last 18, 19 months, we’ve served about 3,000 young people through online education. And this has been a real opportunity for us to break down barriers and bring our faculty to-to more young people.
Christy McDonald: Well, we can’t wait to see what happens in these next seven years Trey, and we fully expect to check in with you along the way and then celebrate 100 years of Interlochen very, very soon. It will be great.
Trey Devey: Oh, thank you, Christy. It’s tremendous to be on your show. I really appreciate it.
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