Recently the administration of Interlochen Center for the Arts has taken a number of actions that we believe threaten the integrity of this important institution and the quality of education provided to its vibrant young artists. From the termination of beloved teachers, lack of transparency in financial and personnel decisions, over-enrollment and soaring tuition, as well as many more issues of concern, many in the community feel that Interlochen is heading in the wrong direction. We must encourage President Kimpton and his administration to engage in an inclusive and open dialogue with the broad Interlochen community in order to implement real, tangible and systemic reform.
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Interlochen Arts Academy, we, as stakeholders of the Interlochen community, having an interest in preserving the integrity and safeguarding the future of Interlochen, call on the current administration to address the following concerns. We are current and former ICA students, campers, faculty, staff and parents, as well as members of the broader national and international artistic community. We feel it is our responsibility to bring these concerns to light, and to bring to bear what pressure we can to see that they are rectified. We come together out of love for the institution of Interlochen, respect for the artists who live and work there, and dedication to our duty of stewardship to Joe Maddy’s legacy. We call for:
• The immediate renewal of contract for Larry Reiman.
• Transparency in personnel decisions; a “paper trail” of student, peer and supervisor generated performance evaluations; a clearly and publicly defined set of artistic and academic standards; and an inclusive and open process for the replacement of heads of department.
• A meaningful and fixed minimum number of positions on the Board of Trustees to be reserved for professional artists currently working in their field.
• Reevaluation of the large salary discrepancies between faculty/staff and administrators, including recent dramatic increases.
• A rejection of the so-called “prep school model” to maintain IAA’s position as America’s premier high school for the arts.
• Urgent action to address soaring tuition rates that place Interlochen out of reach for many talented young artists, including an honest assessment of actual financial aid and scholarships available per student.
• An evaluation of the threat that over-enrollment poses to the reputation and quality of an Interlochen education, with attention paid to faculty input.
• The continued use of the “flex day” schedule.
• Immediate reconsideration of and a transparent dialogue about the new laptop requirement; with due consideration of the cost burden to students and the actual technical needs of faculty and staff.
• An end to the climate of fear and intimidation, including the stifling of input and opinion from, as well as explicit and implicit threats made against, students, faculty and staff.
• Constructive, inclusive and open dialogue about all of the above with the entire Interlochen community, leading to real, tangible and systemic reform.
We hope that our message will be received in the spirit of our mutual interest in the prosperity and longevity of Interlochen and the artists it nurtures. We are determined to pass on Joe Maddy’s legacy stronger and more vital and able to weather another fifty years.