The Ark is a nonprofit music club created in Ann Arbor in 1965, and currently hosts live music more than 300 nights a year. Established to provide a safe place for students from drugs, alcohol, and daily life stressors; The Ark stays true to that purpose today. It was founded to offer students a place to show their talents through music, poetry, and artwork. With over 400 volunteers, The Ark is noticeably well loved in its community and happily recognized throughout its state.
Four churches were the original creators of The Ark: the First Presbyterian, Calvary Presbyterian, Northside Presbyterian, and the Campus Chapel. These churches had no intention of preaching to the people who came into The Ark, it was simply a safe haven and a place for creative outlet. During the Civil Rights Movements of the 60’s, there were many political debates along with ethical discussions. However, as time went on, The Ark became much more informal. Eventually, the churches were no longer able to financially support The Ark and it became recognized as a nonprofit organization.
The Ark is known for its many events that are put on each year. The Annual Fall Fundraiser will be taking place on November 18th of this year and will feature “An Evening with Carolina Chocolate Drops.” The Ann Arbor Folk Festival is one of the biggest events put on by The Ark and the musical line up is always phenomenal. The Storytelling Festival takes place every February featuring storytellers from all over. Along with these annual events, The Ark always has fresh, exciting talent to keep the community entertained.
While you certainly do not have to be a member to enjoy the wonderfulness that The Ark brings, memberships are available. Benefits of being a member include discounts on merchandise, being able to purchase Folk Festival tickets in advance, and validated parking. You also have to be a member to purchase alcohol at The Ark. These memberships can be purchased at prices ranging from $5 to $5,000.
The Ark is always looking for volunteers to help in many different areas. Club volunteers usher, process memberships, and sell food and clothing at concession stands. Tech volunteers set up lighting, do sound production and sound checks, and meet artists for load-in. Volunteer loader positions are also available to assist bands with lifting and setting up the stage. Volunteer applications are available on The Ark’s website. Without the help of volunteers, The Ark would not be able to exist. The Ark is essential to the creative community of Ann Arbor.
~Jennifer Hamilton, feature writer