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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Interlochen

We embrace four key pillars in leading diversity, equity, and inclusion work at Interlochen. These pillars are Education, Transparency, Vulnerability, and Accountability. They serve as a foundation for necessary conversations and help us move toward Transformation.

We are committed to using the arts to promote world friendship, and it is an integral part of our culture to learn, grow and continue on our journey toward becoming citizen artists and creating positive change.

Native American Heritage Month

Education

We seek to expand our understanding and work to be culturally and socially competent. As an institution, we work to stay informed on industry standards and seek to be a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion education locally and abroad. As a community, we educate through workshops, training, curriculum, guest artists and necessary conversations. As individuals, we recognize the importance of having agency over our own education.

Kenyatta Hinkle (center) chats with Instructor of Visual Arts Megan Hildebrandt (right) while the students work.

Transparency

Through transparency, we release the desire to hide behind our mistakes. We acknowledge that healing begins with honesty, and that speaking the truth in love leads toward the wholeness we seek for ourselves and those around us. By showing up as our authentic selves, we free others to do the same.

A girl with glasses talks to a boy in a red plaid shirt about a large white posterboard, covered with pictures and with the title "Venezuela."

Vulnerability

As individuals, as a community, and as an institution, we lean into our discomfort and push through it to engage in meaningful and sometimes challenging conversations in order to grow stronger as a community. We understand the importance of dialogue, reflection, and action to activate campus-wide positive change.

Dr. Loretta Ross speaks at Interlochen Center for the Arts

Accountability

Accountability is not only being accountable for your own words or actions, but being accountable for the whole community. Together, we are working to create a “call in” culture where disagreements and discomfort are met not with shaming, but with empathy and grace. Our goal is to disrupt harm, ensuring those who are most at risk do not have to advocate for themselves. If all of us are doing this work, we will move closer to a truly inclusive community.

Education, Transparency, Vulnerability, and Accountability lead to Transformation

DEI graphicAs our community grows through mutual education, we become more aware of our own implicit and explicit biases and become transparent about how those impact our lives. This moves us into a vulnerable state but, as we lean into the discomfort, it becomes increasingly easier for us to be accountable for our own actions as well as those of our community and the world. We then must engage in necessary conversations, reflect, and take actionable steps to create positive change that moves us toward transformation. We know this will take time. It is not a destination but rather a journey—0ne that we are committed to beginning over and over again.

Commitment

Review Interlochen's latest diversity, equity, and inclusion update which showcases our philosophy and mandate. It also includes a comprehensive list of initiatives and programs.

View Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update

Interlochen Center for the Arts acknowledges that it occupies the ancestral and contemporary lands of the Anishinaabe Three Fires Confederacy, and specifically the Ojibwe/Ojibwa (Chippewa) Odawa (Ottawa), and Bodéwadmi/Bodowadomi (Potawatomi/Pottawatomi) peoples. We pay our respects and give thanks to the past, present, and future traditional stewards of this land.

Land Acknowledgement

It is not enough to acknowledge the land. Interlochen is committed to taking actionable steps and building relationships with our local and global indigenous communities. We encourage you to take action today. Learn more: native-land.ca | nativegov.org

Education

We've implemented an education and training schedule for students, faculty, and staff, alongside outreach initiatives within our local community. We’ve also created a resource guide dedicated to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

Esther Triggs with Daniel Bernard at Interlochen Arts Academy
Academy Student Education
  • Calling In Student Training
  • 1:1 Education
  • Mediation
NPR's Eric Deggans presents to Interlochen Arts Academy students
Faculty & Staff Education
  • New Hire Implicit Bias Training
  • Education Division Training
  • Student Life / Residence Life Training
  • International Manager Training
  • Building an Inclusive Team
Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network
Community Education
  • Central United Methodist 
  • TAHAR
  • Traverse Connect Young Leaders
  • The Children's House
  • Father Fred Foundation
  • TADL
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • Northern Michigan Arts and Culture
  • Tart Trail
  • TCAPS

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team

At Interlochen Center for the Arts, our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is a collaborative effort, with our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team at the forefront of championing a culture where every voice is not only heard but deeply valued. Our dedication to fostering an inclusive environment is a joint effort, and we actively collaborate on innovative initiatives and ongoing education to enrich our creative community.

Esther Triggs

Esther Triggs

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Tifini McClyde

Tifini McClyde-Blythe

Associate Vice President
Human Resources

Kalyn Rabuse

Kalyn Rabuse

International Student Services Manager

Transparency in Numbers

Transparency in diversity, equity, and inclusion data is vital. Numbers not only hold organizations accountable but also drive informed strategies for positive change.

39%

student domestic diversity for Arts Camp

32%

student domestic diversity for Arts Academy

17%

faculty diversity for Arts Academy

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion News & Stories

Meena Karimi wears black attire while she performs in the woods.
From Afghanistan to Interlochen: Meena’s story

Cello major Meena describes how she overcame her fears about studying abroad, dove into clubs and activities at Interlochen, and found the courage to share her country’s culture with fellow students.

Stanford Thompson
Creating opportunities through collaboration

Interlochen Arts Camp alumnus Stanford Thompson unites musical organizations across the country to level the playing field for BIPOC musicians.

A dark-skinned man wearing a multicolored shirt and silver necklace gazes to the viewer's right.
A vision for change: Adrian Matejka welcomes marginalized communities to the pages of Poetry

The acclaimed poet and editor shares his remarkable story, his passion for inclusion, and his advice for young writers.