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UMS at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse

UMS returns to the Freighthouse this April!

UMS will launch a new season of events the Ypsilanti Freighthouse, with four weeks of programming for all ages from Apr 4-28!  Explore events

Our two-year partnership results in arts programming for Ypsilanti residents, families, and schoolchildren. A community-informed programming process is the catalyst for these dynamic residencies, activating the unique and historic civic space for performances, arts learning and participation, and creative exploration.

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Upcoming Events

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Freighthouse FAQ

What is the Ypsilanti Freighthouse?
Located next to Frog Island Park on the north side of Depot Town, the Ypsilanti Freighthouse was built in 1878 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Sites. The Freighthouse originally served as 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.
Why is UMS doing a residency at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse?
UMS has been active in Ypsilanti for several years, collaborating with a range of organizations to offer learning and engagement programs and presenting performances and other events periodically at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse. This residency is a natural extension of those activities, offering a more visible and sustainable commitment to the community through recurring residencies.

By serving as Resident Arts Partner for the Ypsilanti Freighthouse and in partnership with the City, UMS seeks to share its programming, producing, and educational resources with the broader Ypsilanti community, and to use our platform to spotlight Ypsilanti’s vibrant and creative cultural scene.

Can anyone attend these events, or do you have to be an Ypsilanti resident?
A top priority of this residency is to create arts programming accessible to Ypsilanti residents. As such, Ypsilanti residents (both city and township) will have first dibs for all events at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse, whether that is through an early registration period for free events or priority access to ticketed events. After the priority period, anyone can register or purchase a ticket. All are welcome.
Why do Ypsilanti residents get first access?
We want to prioritize access for residents of Ypsilanti for these events to ensure that the programming that is being curated with and for the community is actually available to be enjoyed by those in the community.
How can I get tickets to events at the Freighthouse?
There are three different types of events:

  • Free: just show up! (Open Mic Night)
  • Free Family events: register to hold your spot, no tickets required (slapslap and Moving to the Beat workshops)
  • Pay-What-You-Wish events: you can decide how much you wish to pay for tickets to these events

What is a Pay What You Wish (PWYW) ticket?
With Pay What You Wish (PWYW), we're trying to remove barriers between you and great art, and to make it as easy as possible to attend something that may be a new experience. We don't want to let ticket prices shut anyone out of great performances and want to welcome everyone to the Ypsilanti Freighthouse. With PWYW, you get to decide what you wish to pay.
Why is UMS offering PWYW tickets to certain events?
The PWYW model is about making tickets more accessible to more audiences. Some places call it Pay What You Can or Pay What You Decide. Ultimately, we hope that those who can afford to pay a little more will do so, to help make it more affordable for someone else. The artist receives the same fee regardless of how much money is collected from ticket revenues. As a nonprofit organization, UMS is investing significant resources into this residency and is not making a profit from tickets.
Where can I dine or grab a coffee or a drink around the Freighthouse?
Ypsilanti has a ton to offer, and we encourage you to visit for options.


Thank You to Our Residency Supporters

The Ypsilanti Freighthouse residency is supported by Menakka and Essel Bailey and Matt and Nicole Lester.

Additional residency support from WEMU 89.1 FM.

Funded in Part by

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan