Arts and Culture
There are several commercial movie houses in Ann Arbor, and many offer student discounts if you show your MCard. The Michigan Theater and State Theater are located on central campus, Goodrich Quality 16 is located on the west side of Ann Arbor, and Cinemark Ann Arbor 20 + IMAX is located on the south side.
In addition, there are several University student film groups and academic departments offering almost nightly showings of classic American and foreign films. These groups also show experimental films and some current hits, all at reduced prices in University buildings. Consult the Current, the University Record, the Michigan Daily, and individual listings that are posted throughout campus.
Performance Groups and Venues
The University Musical Society (UMS) is considered one of the top presenters of performing arts in the country. The Musical Society presents more than 70 concerts annually featuring renowned guest artists and offers more than 100 free educational events. There is a 50% Student Ticket Sale held at the beginning of each semester.
The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance offers many free concerts by orchestras, choirs, bands, and faculty and student chamber ensembles and soloists. Fully staged productions of opera, drama, musical theatre, and dance are presented each fall and winter term. The calendar of events is available online.
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, a regional community arts organization, offers several productions each year. Many U-M students find a creative outlet here. All auditions are open.
The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra gives a series of concerts from September through April, and offers student discounts.
The Gilbert and Sullivan Society, a performing student organization open to all members of the community, puts on two Gilbert and Sullivan shows a year.
The Ark, one of the nation’s premier acoustic music clubs, offers traditional folk music, blues, jazz, and world music in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.
The School of Music (University Productions) presents productions in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater and the Power Center for the Performing Arts, under the direction of faculty and visiting artists. A special student ticket rate (with student ID) is available for all shows. Season schedules and ticket information for performances (including the School of Music Opera Theatre, Musical Theatre, and University Dance Company) are available on the website.
The University Activities Center, the largest student-run organization on campus, sponsors several student theater and production groups such as MUSKET, the Comedy Company, and Amazin’ Blue.
The Arts & Culture office acts as a catalyst to enable students to take advantage of the many arts opportunities on campus and to create additional opportunities and partnerships. You can get involved as a volunteer for arts events, as an Arts Advisory member, and as a consumer and producer of art yourself. For information, visit the website.
The Center for Campus Involvement is a dynamic, student-focused department that serves undergraduate and graduate students campus-wide through its programs and student organization support. Through meaningful involvement, the Center creates transformative experiences, a vibrant community, and lifelong memories for University of Michigan students.
Museums, Galleries, and Libraries
Founded in 1946, UMMA is considered one of the most important university art museums in the country. It houses nearly 18,000 works of art in the Western, Asian, and African traditions, including works by most of the great masters and representing the key schools and movements in these cultures. Its collections of works by Whistler and Picasso, and of Chinese paintings, Japanese prints, Korean ceramics, and Congolese sculpture are among the finest in North America.
Housed in one of the oldest buildings on campus, the Kelsey Museum exhibits include artifacts retrieved at the University’s excavations in the Mediterranean and Near East. Exhibits feature textiles, sculpture, coins, glass, inscriptions, building materials, and pottery from Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern civilizations. There is no admission charge, although donations are accepted.
The Museum of Natural History features exhibits on prehistoric life and dinosaurs, Michigan wildlife, anthropology, Native American cultures, astronomy, geology, biology, ecology, and zoology. The Museum also features a Planetarium and Museum Shop; advance reservations are required for groups. Individuals and families receive free admission, and Friends of the Museum receive substantial discounts on planetarium shows and at the store.
Please Note: The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is currently closed while it moves 4 billion years of natural history to its new home right next door in the Biological Sciences Building, opening in 2019.
Please Note: The Planetarium is currently closed. It will reopen in a new location in 2019.
Located in the old fire station building downtown, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is a children’s museum featuring interactive exhibits and experiments. Fun for all ages!
The Gallery, located in the U-M School of Art and Design on North Campus, maintains a schedule of frequently changing exhibitions, including work by students, faculty, and visiting artists and designers, as well as traveling exhibitions from other institutions. The focus of the exhibitions is on contemporary art and design. Admission is free.
Be sure to visit the Ann Arbor Art Fair when it takes over the streets of Ann Arbor for four days each year in late July. Media represented include printmaking, painting, ceramics, woodworking, leather, stained and blown glass, fiber and fabric, jewelry, photography, sculpture, and metals. For more information, contact the Michigan Guild of Artists and Artisans.
Provides free service to all those living in the Ann Arbor School District (with proof of residency, so bring your lease). It has a number of special features, including fiction and non-fiction sections, unusual magazines, sheet music, a wide array of computerized resources, and framed art prints that you can rent. In addition to the Downtown Library, the Ann Arbor District Library has four branch locations: Mallets Creek, 3090 E. Eisenhower Parkway; Traverwood, 3333 Traverwood Dr.; Westgate, 2503 Jackson Rd.; and Pittsfield, 2359 Oak Valley Dr.