Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

A note from Dr. Aretina R. Hamilton, Director of Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion

I am delighted to step into the position as the first Associate Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and look forward to working with you to move the institution forward.

Dr. Aretina Hamilton

It would not be an understatement to say that this current moment at Interlochen in Northern Michigan is challenging. But then again, we have lived through challenging times before. And perhaps this moment feels impossible. But as an institution, we have always pushed beyond conventional thinking to carry out the impossible. When our founder Joseph E. Maddy developed the National High School Orchestra and Band Camp in June 1928 with a meager amount of borrowed funds, a portion of his salary, and fifty acres of land that he didn’t own and only 115 students--that must have felt impossible. 93 years later---as we sit in the shadows of giants, I would like to think that while this work is challenging, it’s not impossible.

During the first 90 days of my tenure, through educational programming, public programs, and faculty and student engagement we are cultivating a community of belonging under the guiding mantra of “worldwide friendship”.  

~Dr. Aretina R. Hamilton, Director of Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion

Four Key Pillars

We will embrace four key pillars in leading the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work at Interlochen. These pillars will serve as a foundation for critical dialogues and deep engagement with topics that are uncomfortable but necessary to develop a culture of belonging on our campus.  

As a destination for young artists, Interlochen is poised to cultivate artists whose impact will change the world. Our curriculum and educational programming provides students with resources to address inequalities in the arts world and beyond and and to participate in civic engagement.

Vulnerability and Transparency
As a community, we will challenge ourselves to lean into our discomfort; and be “vulnerable and transparent” in activating campus wide change. As an incubator for worldwise friendship, we will acknowledge our blind spots and use these discussions to address and dismantle the walls of our differences.

As a community, we will remain vigilant and acknowledge that the journey towards creating an inclusive campus takes time. There will be bumps in the road, but will will travel this journey together. We will hold ourselves accountable with the understanding that if one of our community members are impacted. We are all impacted.

Through educating ourselves, engaging in transparent and vulnerable conversations and holding ourselves accountable, we can transform Interlochen and the world. This is a slow and intentional and inclusive process that will require the work of students, faculty, staff and administrators. 

Recent Programs and Initiatives

The following is a list of Programs and Initiatives that have occurred so far: 

  • Meet and Greet with the Associate Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, July 22nd
  • Conversation with Education Personnel about the Black at Interlochen movement, July 23rd
  • Conversation and Meeting with International Families, August 7th
  • African Drum Circle and Beyoncé, August 21st
  • Community Meeting on Xenophobia, September 2nd
  • Launch of the student affinity groups
  • A Conversation with the Black Alumni and the Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, September 22nd
  • A Conversation with all IAA Alumni and the Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, September 29th

DEI Team

Dr. Hamilton is joined by a talented team dedicated to cultivating a community of belonging.

Kalyn Rabuse

International Student Services Manager

Vester Waters

Multicultural Recruitment Officer