The Dow family plays a vital role in the development of Interlochen’s art facilities

The Dow family’s commitment to the arts extends far beyond Midland – about 120 miles northwest, to be exact. This year, the Interlochen Center for the Arts celebrates the completion of its 30-year master plan for its campus, which has benefited greatly from the foundations created in memory of the Dows.

The Dow family has been involved with Interlochen for more than 60 years, beginning with Alden B. Dow, who contributed to the center of fine arts’ first master plan. Alden, who was a trustee of Interlochen, led the design and development process for the facilities in the 1960s.

Interlochen President Trey Devey explained that when the Interlochen Academy of Arts Dance Company performed at the Midland Center for the Arts – which was also designed by Alden – the performers enjoyed the similarities in architectural design.

“It felt like we were at home,” Devey said.

Interlochen’s second master plan, the “Sasaki Associates Campus Master Plan”, began in 1990. Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow were also former trustees of Interlochen, and their foundation agreed to fund the plan director, which was completed this year. The Sasaki Plan has guided 17 major facility projects and culminated this year with the renovation of the Dance Center and the creation of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow House.

When Interlochen opened in 1928, it all started with a simple summer music camp. It has since expanded to include seven artistic disciplines. In 1962, it opened the Interlochen Academy of Arts, becoming the country’s first arts-focused boarding school; today, it welcomes 550 students year-round.

The Dow House will fulfill Sasaki’s master plan objective of developing additional residence halls to accommodate more students. Faculty will stay in the Dow House during the summer months, while up to 72 academy students will live in its dormitories during the school year and visiting artists can stay in a special wing at any time during the school year. year.

The Dow House was completed just in time to welcome students at the start of this school year.

“To me, it’s pretty remarkable that the Dow family has guided the transformation of our campus,” Devey said. “As a result, we are the world leader in arts education.”

Other Midland organizations have supported Interlochen over the years. The Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation provided grants. The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation helped establish the Interlochen Music Center and issued a challenge to help encourage donations for a dance center and the Dow House. The Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Foundation contributed to the visual arts center that bears the couple’s name. The Alden and Vada Dow Foundations have supported, among many other initiatives, the Music Center and the Herbert H. and Barabara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts. The Allen Foundation contributed to the Interlochen greenhouse.

“There’s been this huge support from the Midland Foundations for the work that we’ve done,” Devey said. “’Thank you’ does not begin to express the level of gratitude we have for Midland’s major foundations. While there are institutions that deserve credit for making Interlochen a global institution, none have more impact than those of the Midland community.

Devey went on to comment on the remarkable balance of arts and sciences shared by various members of the Dow family. Because of their philanthropy and commitment to the arts, the Dow family has positioned Interlochen to better develop the people and programs that make the fine arts center unique.

“Creativity is something that won’t go out of style,” Devey said.

For more information about the Interlochen Center for the Arts, visit

William E. Bennett