Interlochen’s students are elite in terms of talent and ability, not in terms of economic status. In many cases, the student has surpassed the pre-professional training available where he or she lives, and turns to Interlochen for the preparation that is desired and required to move to the next level of excellence. Students from across the US and around the world want to attend Interlochen Arts Academy for their artistic development; they do not come from families for whom boarding school is a given.
An investment in a student’s Interlochen education can provide a student with a learning experience that creates lifelong opportunities—in preparing for post-secondary education, while working at the university or conservatory level, entering and developing a career, and contributing to civic life as a well-educated member of society.
The Boston Globe stated in December, 2008, that schools using the arts to achieve goals in the Massachusetts 21st-Century Skills initiative offer “a vivid demonstration of art's power to teach, transform, and develop skills essential for success.” The Globe article goes on to note that participating students mastered “a long list of skills, including collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication. According to the 21st Century Skills report, these are the competencies everyone will need to succeed as citizens and workers. These are the skills employers and colleges say are now severely lacking among high school graduates and entering students.”
These skills, nurtured at Interlochen, can enrich lives, sometimes literally. Their arts education has helped our alumni land competitive careers in the communication, entertainment, and technology industries, for instance. In addition, a study by Americans for the Arts released in 2008 determined that arts-centric businesses represent 4.3% of all businesses and 2.2% of all jobs in the United States and that the arts are a robust and formidable economic growth sector:
- More than 612,000 arts-related businesses employ 2.98 million people nationwide.
- Arts-centric businesses grew 12% from 2007 compared to the growth of 10.7% for all U.S. businesses.
- Employment growth by arts-centric businesses since 2007 was 11.6%, more than four times the rise in the total number of U.S. employees of 2.4%.
This study supports our mantra that the arts play a significant role in building and sustaining economically vibrant communities,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “It further supports the need for arts education to fuel the creative industries with arts-trained workers and arts consumers.”
Still, each student feels the impact of an Interlochen education at the individual level. Violinist Aaron P. Dworkin received his Bachelors and Masters of Music in Violin Performance degrees from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors. At the age of 26 he founded the Sphinx Organization, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping overcome the cultural stereotype of classical music, and to encouraging the participation of Blacks and Latinos in the field. Dworkin has been recognized with numerous honors; in 2005 he received a MacArthur “genius grant” fellowship, and last year he was accorded the Newsweek Giving Back Award.
When Dworkin was in high school, he was awarded a scholarship to attend Interlochen.
“Interlochen,” Dworkin has often told interviewers, “saved my life.”