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National Medal of Arts in Photos

ums presidence ken fischer receives national medal of arts from president barack obamaUMS was selected as one of the 2014 recipients of the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest public artistic honor, awarded annually at the White House by the President of the United States to those who have “demonstrated a lifetime of creative excellence,” according to the National Endowment for the Arts, which oversees the selection process. In the photo above, UMS president Ken Fischer receives the award.

Explore other photos from the ceremony below, including photos of the UMS delegation, the other National Medal of Arts recipients, and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.


At our Ovation Spring Gala

Our Ovation Spring Gala took place on May 14, 2016. Congratulations to honorees DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year Ann Arbor Public Schools Wines Elementary teacher Beth McNally and School of the Year Ann Arbor Public Schools Allen Elementary! Sincere thank you to all of our supporters. Ovation support helps UMS provide excellent educational experiences for K-12, university, and community.

With honorary chairs Jim and Sarah Harbaugh, chairs Sarah and Dan Nicoli, and University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel.
With honorary chairs Jim and Sarah Harbaugh, chairs Sarah and Dan Nicoli, and University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel.

Jim Leija and Beth McNally
Honoree Beth McNally with UMS director of education & community engagement Jim Leija.

With honorees Allen Elementary
Honorees Allen Elementary with Coach Harbaugh.

Missed the gala? Ovation support helps UMS provide excellent educational experiences for K-12, university, and community. Make a gift today.

Masks at Southwest Detroit Immersion

mask making workshop
As part of a day-long Southwest Detroit Mexican Arts & Culture immersion, teachers created masks at the Detroit Institute of Arts. We’re getting ready for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán on April 1, 2016.

Robots at the Power Center

robot in lobby of power center
Before Nufonia Must Fall this past weekend, U-M Robotics showed off their own robots in the lobby of Power Center.

Behind the Scenes: Dance Activities

Camille A. Brown & Dancers performed Black Girl – Linguistic Play on February 13, 2016, and the dancers also participated in various community activities including a free Breakfast Download post-performance discussion and all-levels You Can Dance workshop. UMS also hosted a panel celebrating 25 years of the Dance Series at UMS.

What some of the participants thought about their experiences:

Photo moments from the weekend:scenes from dance activities

Quotes from the weekend:

“I saw myself in this play. The way the dancers expressed themselves in each scene seemed like flashes of my own life.”
-Christina DeBlanchi, Black Girl: Linguistic Play audience member

“Being in college means I have to be an adult who is focused on reading and writing. It was really fun to see something equally, or even more important, happening on stage. It brought me joy. And these experiences give me the opportunity to learn more by exploring my self, instead of reading about others.”
-Alexis Lesperance, U-M Residential College student

Interested in more? Learn about our community education programs.

Taylor Mac Visits U-M Course

Taylor Mac visited the U-M Engaging Performance course last week:
taylor mac and students

Did you attend the performance? Don’t forget to share your thoughts.

Ken Fischer Receives Award


We’re proud of our president Ken Fischer! He received Chamber Music America’s Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award this past Sunday.

Cheer at Our Holiday Party

ums staff party
Fun had by all at our holiday party! Current UMS Staff and UMS alums from as far back as 1966 got together for some cheer earlier this week.

Free Dance Workshops for All

Lots of happy faces at our You Can Dance workshop and Breakfast Download Discussion event this weekend.

collage of participant photos from you can dance and breakfast download
Photos by Sharman Spieser.

Interested in more? See the full listing of upcoming free activities open to all levels.

You Can Dance: Sankai Juku

Did you know that you can join dancers from visiting companies for an exploration of the company’s movement style? These “You Can Dance” workshops are for everyone, no dance training or experience necessary. Ages 13 and up are welcome. The workshops are free, but first come, first served until studio reaches capacity. Last night, dancers from Sankai Juku led a workshop.

Workshop participant Sharman Spieser caught up with her fellow participants.

Megan and Lindsay drove from Detroit for the workshop.

you can dance participants megan and lindsay
We caught up with a few other participants on video.

First is Petra Kuppers, UMS Mellon Faculty Fellow and Professor of English Languages and Literatures, Women’s Studies, Art and Theatre. She is currently teaching a course on artistic collaboration at U-M, and her class will see the Sankai Juku on Friday. With the support of the Mellon Foundation, she is thinking about how to bring UMS into the classroom, and will use the dance exercises she learned tonight in class. Second is Susan, who drove from Toledo and “would go to Paris to see Sankai Juku,” but because of UMS she doesn’t have to. Our third participant is Jim, who “works in Ypsilanti and plays in Ann Arbor.” He lives in Saline and came “with an open mind.”

Interested more? Here are 10 things you may not know about butoh.

Antigone at the Big House

members of antigone cast and crew visit the big house
Members of the Antigone cast and crew visited the Big House on Saturday. Did you attend the performance? Share your thoughts.

Highlights from the Field

On October 10, musicians of the New York Philharmonic took to the football field along side the U-M Marching Band at the Michigan vs. Northwestern Homecoming game.


Three concerts and a slew of activities were a part of the residency, which is part of a five-year partnership with the orchestra.

Interested in more? Watch the full halftime show over at U-M Athletics.

At the Victors for Arts Gala

scenes from victors for arts gala
Scenes from our Victors for Michigan gala dinner, a special event kicking off a weekend of concerts and residency activities with New York Philharmonic.

In center photo, UMS president Ken Fischer (left), University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel (right), and Eugene Grant, whose $1 million gift makes the residency possible.

Interested in more? Explore the full range of residency events and activities.

Talking dance with artists

Editor’s note: This post is a part of a series focusing on education and community engagement events surrounding our dance performances.

The 25th UMS Dance Series opened with L-E-V, an adventurous new ensemble of fiercely talented dancers, the culmination of years of collaboration between two Israeli creative superstars: Jerusalem-born Sharon Eyal (muse, dancer, and choreographer at Batsheva) and Gai Behar (who produces live music, techno raves, and underground art events in Tel Aviv).

Right after the performance, audience members could ask the artists questions about the performance as part of the post-show Q&A with artists. And the morning after the performance, dancers, audience members, and UMS staff got together for a post-show conversation, part of a new series of events called Breakfast Download Discussions (which feature bagels and coffee, too!).


Photos by participant Sharman Spieser.

Go Blue: National Medal of Arts

Go Blue moment: UMS President Ken Fischer & U-M president Mark Schlissel with UMS National Medal of Arts. Ken traveled to the White House to receive the medal on behalf of UMS on September 10, 2015.

U-M Swimming & Diving Team Meets UMS

On a summery July 2015 day, the University of Michigan Swimming & Diving team spent the day with UMS, getting an up close look at Burton Tower and historic Hill Auditorium, and learning more about performance. Go blue and watch the highlights of the day:

Interested in more? Read this great re-cap of the day.

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