Occupation: Executive Director, Ann Arbor Summer Festival
How did you first get involved with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival? I first discovered the festival while visiting for student orientation the summer before my freshman year at UM. I was wide-eyed, taking in all the activity and incredible energy. At the time, I thought this was just another night in Ann Arbor! At UM, I studied Theater, primarily focused in the Design & Production and Arts Administration curriculum. Prior to working for the Summer Festival, I worked in the programming and production department at UMS.
How do you go about curating such a jam-packed program for the festival? It’s a team effort! We comb through artist submissions and a community wishlist, look at national and international trends, talk to our peers at other presenting organizations, see lots of performances, and engage a local advisory group. It’s different every year: new artists, events, and experiences. I get excited every May when our program guide arrives and we can start circling ‘can’t miss’ events for people asking for recommendations.
What do you think is Ann Arbor’s best-kept secret? Summertime! And not just because the festival is taking place. The parks and trails, kayaking the Huron River, and the restaurant patios opening up. My fiancé Rachelle and I enjoy being active and engaged in the Ann Arbor community, Michigan Athletics, and seeing performances.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about you? As a kid, I performed shows for my family – primarily American songbook with some spoken word and stand-up comedy. Unfortunately, video evidence exists!!
Where are your favorite places to meet with friends? Lately, Spencer for its rotating seasonal menu, Knight’s Downtown for a post-performance cocktail, and RoosRoast for a morning coffee.
What do you miss most about Ann Arbor when you’re away? The people – the rich conversation and relationships that come with living in a city with a world-class university and a vibrant arts and culture scene.
2018 Ann Arbor Summer Festival, June 8 – July 1