The Academy’s 50th: Past, Present and Future

As 2012 comes to a close, the Arts Academy’s 50th anniversary will become part of Interlochen’s history - and what a remarkable chapter this has been. During the May reunion, we welcomed 1,000 Academy alumni back to campus to celebrate the past and witness the creative and artistic vitality of the present. More than 6,000 alumni, donors and other guests attended performances and presentations given by our students as they toured the country. And this fall, the focus of our 50th events shifted to a focus on the future with a symposium that brought leading artists and thinkers to campus to collaborate, discuss, envision, and start building a better future for the arts.

As we stand at the beginning of our second 50 years, I am heartened by what I have seen in the last 12 months: unprecedented engagement in our alumni community, generous support from those who share our hope for a brighter future in the arts, and exceptional artistic achievement.

One of the lasting legacies of the 50th anniversary is a commitment to share Interlochen’s vibrant past with alumni and other supporters. You can now explore and share 50 years of history - and counting - through Interlochen’s online archives, which include highlights from five decades, recordings of student performances, digital yearbooks and much more. 

While our archives and reunions provide opportunities to reminisce, I hope that you will make time to look just as closely at the present. More than ever before, tools like YouTube, live webcasts, Facebook and Twitter give our alumni and friends a chance to experience what is happening at Interlochen today. As someone who is literally surrounded by the amazing work of Interlochen students and faculty, I can assure you that you will find our student performances to be inspiring; you cannot help but to have great hope for the future when you see our students in the present.

The future of the Arts Academy is being created today, and not just by those of us who are on campus. Alumni and other supporters can help by simply staying in touch with the Arts Academy through “Crescendo,” and the wonderful technology connections. If you are not in a position to give financially, help us by finding young artists in your life and sharing Interlochen with them; word-of-mouth promotion is vitally important in our efforts to find talented and motivated students. Lastly, if you can, please give. A quality arts education at an independent boarding school is expensive: small class sizes, a talented mentor faculty, and specialized facilities and production services are previous investments that make the difference for Interlochen students. Many deserving artists cannot afford the cost on their own. Each year, we give financial assistance to nearly 80% of our students, more than $10 million in total. Your continued support will help us maintain the quality of the instruction and the students at Interlochen Arts Academy.

With your support and involvement, the class of 2062 will look back on the Academy’s second 50 years with the same sense of pride and appreciation that we have just seen for the first 50.


Jeffrey Kimpton
President, Interlochen Center for the Arts