Interlochen Center for the Arts takes major step towards providing accessible venues and facilities for all
Rotary Charities, The Les and Anne Biederman Foundation, The Oleson Foundation, Michigan Arts and Culture Council, and Interlochen alumnus Robert Wade Anderson will help reopen the beauty of the arts to those affected by hearing loss.
Thanks to the support of four granting organizations and individual donors, those with hearing impairments will be able to better experience the arts in an inclusive community.
Rotary Charities, The Les and Anne Biederman Foundation, The Oleson Foundation, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, and Interlochen alumnus Robert Wade Anderson have partnered with Interlochen to provide hearing assistive systems in seven of the most-utilized public venues at Interlochen Center for the Arts. This $118,000 project will allow guests with varying levels of hearing loss equal participation and inclusion during performances.
"The aging demographic is real and those with hearing loss often become isolated from the community because they can’t participate like they once did in things they love doing. This system will broaden the world for those people, give them opportunities to participate and be a part of the community,” said Jim Moore, Executive Director of Disability Network of Northern Michigan. “It shows leadership on the part of Interlochen by sending a message to the public that the arts should be available to everyone, here is what they are doing, and that it is something for others to think about doing as well. And, for those with hearing loss, it allows them to continue to participate in the community, participate with family and friends. It brings them out of isolation. It is a very welcoming act."
Two types of hearing loop systems will be installed. For Interlochen’s larger venues with fixed-seating, installation of a telecoil loop or T-coil loop system will magnetically transmit sound from the public address system to the patron's hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. If the patron does not have a Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid, the system comes with a portable receiver. Fixed seating venues to install T-coil systems include: Kresge Auditorium, Interlochen's largest performance venue, seating 3,929 patrons in a covered pavilion; Harvey Theatre, a three-quarter thrust theatre seating 173 patrons; Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall, which accommodates 230 in pew-style seating; Upton-Morley Pavilion, an outdoor performance space with 467 open-air seats; and The Writing House, with small performance and public reading spaces.
For Interlochen’s non-fixed seating venues, a wireless FM T55 assistive hearing system will be implemented to enhance cochlear implants and assist people who are hard of hearing but do not wear hearing aids. An FM system empowers users with lightweight, portable, and discrete equipment for use when additional hearing assistance is required. In addition, two portable FM hearing loop systems will be purchased to be used in any of ICA's 400 on-campus class rooms, venues, and residence halls as needed. Non-fixed seating venues to install FM T55 systems include: The DeRoy Center for Film Studies, which includes a sound stage and a 178-seat projection space; and Phoenix Theatre, a versatile black-box performance space with seating for 173.
These installations will occur over the next four months when the spaces are not being utilized, with all seven new hearing assistance systems in place by September 30, 2022.
“Thanks to the support from local foundations, individual donors, and the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, seven Interlochen venues will have hearing assistance systems installed and two portable systems will be available wherever needed. These systems reopen the beauty of the arts to those affected by hearing loss. We are deeply grateful for this support and can’t wait to welcome all to experience the difference these systems will make,” said John Bogley, Vice President of Philanthropy and Engagement at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
This activity is supported by the MICHIGAN ARTS AND CULTURE COUNCIL and the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.