The University Musical Society and the city of Ypsilanti are continuing their artistic partnership with a four-week residency in September that features expanded programming for residents, families and schoolchildren at the historic Ypsilanti Freighthouse.
A community-informed programming process is the catalyst for this dynamic residency to continue activating the unique and historic civic space for performances, arts learning and participation, and creative exploration. Additional residencies are being planned for April 2024 and September 2024.
A successful pilot residency week in April featured nine unique programs — all free or “pay what you wish” — and brought together multigenerational audiences from Ypsilanti and beyond, with enthusiasm and energy from artists and audiences alike.
These residencies are a natural extension of UMS’s engagement in Ypsilanti over the past several years. At the Freighthouse, UMS presented the International Contemporary Ensemble in a Secret Show in 2018 and dancer Caleb Teicher in 2019, as well as an interactive event related to Parable Path A2Ypsi, which was developed in conjunction with the theatrical presentation of “The Parable of the Sower” by Toshi Reagon in March 2022.
Additional partnerships have included free You Can Dance workshops at the Riverside Arts Center, a post-pandemic series of workshops for teens with Corner Health and providing dance instruction for summer camps at the Parkridge Community Center in 2022 and 2023.
“On the heels of our April pilot residency we are buoyed by the extraordinarily warm response from the Ypsilanti community to our initial offerings. This September we’re back for a month of arts programming at the Freighthouse, developed in response to feedback from residents,” said Cayenne Harris, UMS vice president of learning and engagement.
As part of the Freighthouse residency, UMS will prioritize access for Ypsilanti residents through both early registration for free ticketed events and a pay-what-you-wish structure for live performances. Tickets and registration are available for Ypsilanti residents and will open up more broadly Aug. 15.
“The city of Ypsilanti is thrilled to welcome UMS back to the Freighthouse. We continue to support this work and build a lasting partnership that will support the Ypsilanti arts community,” said Ypsilanti City Manager Frances McMullan.
Located next to Frog Island Park on the north side of Depot Town, the Freighthouse originally was a distribution center for rail-bound goods, and is now owned and operated by the city of Ypsilanti as a gathering space for many community and private events.