Traverse City News and Events

Grants, Donations Bring New Accessibility To Interlochen Venues

June 25, 2022

Thanks to four nonprofits and individual donors, those with hearing impairments will be able to better experience the arts at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Rotary Charities, The Les and Anne Biederman Foundation, The Oleson Foundation, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, and Interlochen alum Robert Wade Anderson have partnered with Interlochen to provide hearing assistive systems in seven of the most-utilized public venues at Interlochen Center for the Arts. The $118,000 project will allow guests with varying levels of hearing loss equal participation and inclusion during performances.

Two types of hearing loop systems will be installed. For Interlochen’s larger venues with fixed-seating, installation of a telecoil loop or T-coil loop system will magnetically transmit sound from the public address system to the patron's hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. If the patron does not have a Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid, the system comes with a portable receiver. Fixed seating venues to install T-coil systems include: Kresge Auditorium, Interlochen's largest performance venue, seating 3,929 patrons in a covered pavilion; Harvey Theatre, a three-quarter thrust theatre seating 173 patrons; Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall, which accommodates 230 in pew-style seating; Upton-Morley Pavilion, an outdoor performance space with 467 open-air seats; and The Writing House, with small performance and public reading spaces.

For Interlochen’s non-fixed seating venues, a wireless FM T55 assistive hearing system will be implemented to enhance cochlear implants and assist people who are hard of hearing but do not wear hearing aids. 

The installations will occur over the next four months when the spaces are not being utilized, with all seven new hearing assistance systems in place by September 30, 2022.

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