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Art & Soul: The Ark Calls On Its Creativity To Remain A Strong Ann Arbor Music Venue In The Pandemic

The Ark
Jennifer Patselas

Like all entertainment venues across Washtenaw County, The Ark on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor closed its doors to customers several months ago due to COVID-19.  But they have found new and creative ways to connect with the community and keep the music playing.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Marianne James, the executive director of The Ark, about how they have been able to do that and sustain the live music venue while its doors remain closed to the public.

The Ark
Credit Andrew Rogers
Marianne James, executive director of The Ark

The Ark in Ann Arbor is a "mission-driven organization," according to executive director Marianne James.  She says, second best to gathering in person, they have created several different ways to bring live music to concert-goers online during our current pandemic.  She says, "The Ark has been able to think outside the box and pivot to deliver a variety of musical performances via live streaming." 

These include...

  • Ark Family Room Series – livestream, donation/tip jar based.
  • Ticketed events with Ark-supportive artists, such as Jeff Daniels.
  • Promoting and supporting what’s happening with local artists and Ark artists through their own networks.
  • Broadening our reach to music fans around the country and the world – well beyond our typical patron who would be able to attend in-person shows there.
The Ark
Credit Jennifer Patselas
People waiting outside of The Ark entrance

James says they will continue to look for ways to connect with the community and keep the music playing in public health-inspired ways until they are able to open the doors to the public once again.


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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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