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


The Dow family’s commitment to the arts extends far beyond Midland – about 120 miles northwest, to be exact. This year, 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 Dow.

The Dow family has been involved with Interlochen for over 60 years, starting with Alden B. Dow, who contributed to the first master plan of the fine arts center. Alden, who was a director of Interlochen, led the facility design and development process in the 1960s.

Interlochen President Trey Devey explained that when the Interlochen Academy of the 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 was 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 directors of Interlochen, and their foundation agreed to fund the master plan. , which was completed this year. The Sasaki Plan guided 17 major facility projects and culminated this year with renovations to the Dance Center and the establishment 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, he opened the Interlochen Academy of the Arts, becoming the country’s first arts-based boarding school; today, it welcomes 550 students all year round.

Dow House will fulfill Sasaki’s master plan goal of developing additional residences to accommodate more students. Professors will stay in the Dow House during the summer months, while up to 72 academy students will live in its dorms during the school year and guest artists can stay in a special wing at any time of the year. year.

The Dow House was completed just in time to welcome the students back to school.

“To me, it’s quite remarkable that the Dow family has guided the transformation of our campus,” said Devey. “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 awarded grants. The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation helped establish the Interlochen Music Center and presented 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 named after the couple. The Alden and Vada Dow family foundations contributed to the Interlochen greenhouse.

“There has been tremendous support from the Midland Foundations for the work we have been doing,” said Devey. “Thank you” does not begin to express the level of gratitude we have for the major foundations in Midland. While there are institutions that deserve to be recognized for having made Interlochen a global institution, none have more impact than those of the community of Midland.

Devey then commented on the remarkable balance between the arts and sciences shared by various members of the Dow family. Because of their philanthropy and commitment to the arts, the Dow family has placed Interlochen in a position to better develop the people and programs that make the fine arts center distinctive.

“Creativity is something that will never go out of style,” Devey said.

For more information about Interlochen Center for the Arts, visit


William E. Bennett

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