Imagine a place where art, science, history, music, theatre, dance, films, camps, classes and professional world-class entertainers all live under one roof! This is Midland Center for the Arts, a beautiful landmark facility where people of all ages are invited to create as well as appreciate and explore these many areas of interest. With two performance venues, two museums, art studios, lecture halls, a historical campus and more, Midland Center for the Arts is unique among arts centers: it encourages participation in as well as appreciation for art, music, science and history.
Located in Midland, Michigan, Midland Center for the Arts is just a 2-hour drive from Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City, enjoys handy access to US-10 and M-20, and offers convenient amenities to make your visit a pleasure:
- Ample free parking with safe, easy access to the building
- A gift shop where you’ll find unique and beautiful items
- Our Saints & Sinners Lounge where you can enjoy a drink, meet friends and relax before and after the show
MISSION: A regional cultural destination where people find meaning and connection in their busy lives.
OUR CORE VALUES: Every day in every way we commit to:
- Delivering WOW Service
- Performing Our Personal Best
- Creating Open and Honest Relationships
- Embracing Change through Creativity
- Creating A Positive Team Environment
- Escaping the Ordinary!
ALDEN B. DOW MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & ART
Celebrate the visual arts and sciences through individual participation, appreciation, education and expression. Over 50,000 visitors explore our featured exhibitions each year. The hands-on Hall of Ideas, classes at the Studio School, educational and community outreach programs, and inspiring special events round out the Museum’s programming.
CENTER STAGE CHOIRS
Community participation has been the lifeblood of Center Stage Choirs for over 55 years. Its performance season draws audiences from across the Great Lakes Bay Region and includes an exciting variety of choral programs.
Five choral ensembles make up Center Stage Choirs: the Bella Voce Singers, the Camerata Singers, the Chorale, Center Stage Youth Choirs, and the Men of Music.
CENTER STAGE THEATRE
Center Stage Theatre is a national award-winning volunteer theatre program with a performance season that draws tens of thousands of theatre-goers from across the Great Lakes Bay Region and includes comedies, tragedies and musicals, from popular favorites to lesser-known titles.
In addition to main season shows, its Off-Center Stage productions are works on the cutting edge, and the Peanut Gallery and Interim Theatre programs feature the talents of youth ages 10 through 21.
MIDLAND COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Travel through time and explore the history of our region at Heritage Park. One-of-a-kind outreach programs bring local history to thousands of students each year. Visitors of all ages enjoy special exhibitions and interactive presentations, and the on-site research library – open to the public – houses important documents from the region.
MIDLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The Midland Symphony Orchestra has a bold new beat! Music Director Bohuslav Rattay brings a new style and flare to the podium that takes your classical music experience outside of the box.
Experience the energy on stage between Maestro Rattay and the orchestra with an expanded concert series and acclaimed guest artists for a year of unparalleled performances not to be missed!
How We Began
Long before there was a Midland Center for the Arts there were people in the area making music, staging dramas, painting landscapes and appreciating fine concerts and rare books. The places they gathered in the name of art were diverse: barn lofts, churches, company cafeterias, riverbanks and school auditoriums, to name a few.
The idea of combining the arts programs and activities under one roof in Midland was discussed as early as 1960. A definite move in that direction was made when interested members of the Midland Art Association (now part of the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art) and the Midland Little Theatre Guild (Center Stage Theatre) got together to discuss their housing needs. In 1965, the organization of Midland Center for the Arts was formalized under a preliminary set of rules drawn up by John E. Riecker.
Midland Center for the Arts, Inc., is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501C(3) educational corporation chartered in the State of Michigan and governed by its own Board of Directors. Charter member groups included; Midland Art Council, Theatre Guild, Midland Symphony Orchestra, Music Society, Midland County Historical Society and Community Concerts.
The massive drive for funds to build a new “home” for the member groups, was launched in 1967 and headed by Dr. Shailer L. Bass, with many others helping. Funding came from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Alden B. and Vada Dow, as well as over 3,000 individuals giving various public support. Ground was broken in July 1968 and the building was officially deemed complete and turned over to the Board of Directors on January 1, 1971. The first opening night was the annual Christmas symphony concert on December 5, 1970, with Don Jaeger conducting. Special dedication performances and exhibits were scheduled by each group during a month-long celebration in May 1971.
The building was the creation of internationally-noted architect Alden B. Dow, son of Herbert H. Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company. The construction of the 200,000-square-foot building took 1,500 tons of structural steel, 7,000 yards of concrete, 20 truckloads of brick and lighting equivalent to 27,000 100-watt bulbs. It is situated in “Discovery Square,” a name that Alden B. Dow had given to the area which includes Dow Gardens, the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library and Michigan Molecular Institute. Alden Dow believed that some of man’s most fertile ideas have resulted from a cross-breeding of many disciplines. “The Center,” he said, “was conceived not only as a facility to enhance arts involvement in a community long devoted to the intertwining of science and culture, but to provide a setting in which all of the arts are free to grow and experiment in a stimulating, interpersonal environment without fear of failure so detrimental to the creative impulse.”
The facility includes:
- A 1,500-seat Auditorium
- A 400-seat Little Theatre
- A 97-seat Lecture-Recital Hall
- The Hall of Ideas – permanent interactive exhibits
- Museum exhibit areas on the fourth level
- Art Studios & Rehearsal Rooms
Today, the Center continues to offer a diverse array of cultural programming from world-class guest artists, internationally known art and science exhibits, professional symphony concerts, award-winning theatre and choral programming, and historical programming at Heritage Park, its Main Street campus.