Looking Forward: 2021

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a relaxing couple of weeks off. I’m taking the time to soak up this last week with my roommates before the semester starts.

I arrived back in Ann Arbor a couple of days ago and I have to say it feels like a different place than when I moved here three and a half years ago. Businesses have closed down, the movie theaters are still dark, restaurants and bars are limited to take-out-only. When I walk down Main Street, I no longer see lines for concerts at The Ark or jazz at the Blue Llama. And while I would love to sit in Hill Auditorium and see a Gerswhin show, I know that all of this is to protect our community. 

The past semester felt dark, at times, especially being so rooted in performing arts, but this blog has been a shining light. It has allowed me to speak with some incredible people and hear hopeful stories of how the arts are surviving on campus. I’ve been in awe over the creative ways that academic departments, student organizations, and campus resources have adapted to the challenges this year has presented. They have not only found a way to continue their missions amid a global pandemic, but many have addressed students’ mental health and wellbeing as well as critical social justice issues. We have shown up for one another, and that is a beautiful thing. 

This blog is all about looking towards the future, and the new year is all about that prospect. Of course, we know that 2021 is not a fresh start that will magically solve all the world’s problems, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot also recognize the hope that this year brings. So let us hope that 2021 brings us more community, more creativity, and more compassion. I am so looking forward to having new conversations with resources and organizations on campus, and to hearing how students are “looking forward” this year. 

Til’ next week, 


P.S. If you have any suggestions for organizations/people I should interview – please leave me a comment below!

Get cozy over winter break with arts, ink.

Welcome to arts, ink., where our student artists and writers are given a forum to illuminate the Michigan student experience through art. Why not get cozy at home and read, watch and listen to some of what they’ve created this fall… We’ve compiled some of our favorite posts from the past few months under the “Winter Break Reading List” tag for you to enjoy!

If you’re a U-M student interested in becoming a weekly contributor, there may be a position available to get paid for your work. We review applications and hire new bloggers twice a year, in September and January. Read more about Blogging Opportunities here!
Email us at arts@umich.edu with questions.


Art Biz with Liz: Ending 2020 with Classical Music

What “normal” aspect of life on campus do you miss the most? Game days? Studying in Hatcher? One of the things that I miss the most about a “normal” school year at the university is the vast array of live performances. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of concert halls, theaters, and opera houses across the country. Those on campus were not excluded, and it’s been strange to walk past Hill Auditorium and think about its emptiness.

2020 was a tumultuous year. Still, there were plenty of inspiring performances throughout it that demonstrated artists’ dedication to keeping their art forms going. Shutdowns sparked a flood of videos across the internet that showcased determined singers and musicians, both amateur and professional, performing from their homes. The shift towards online was not only encouraged but necessary as online viewers became the only audience. With grace and determination, live performances became synonymous with livestream, a moving reminder of the flexibility and unity needed to survive trying times.

It only seemed fair to end 2020 by listening to the art that I have greatly admired throughout the pandemic. Since the start of my college career, I’ve been grateful to Arts at Michigan, the University Musical Society (UMS), and friends I met on campus for introducing me to the magic that is live classical music in the form of professional quartets, orchestras, and more. I remember seeing the Takács Quartet with clarinetist Anthony McGill, for example, at the Rackham auditorium in April of my freshman year. Yesterday, I watched and listened to the Takács Quartet again, only this time through a special reprise of a UMS digital presentation that was available for streaming through December 31st. Listening to the emotional drama unfold in Price’s String Quartet No. 2 in a minor (Mvt. ii) and the dizzying array of timbres in Debussy’s String Quartet in g minor (Mvts. iii, iv) seemed like a fitting end to 2020. Whatever next year brings, I wish you health, happiness, and *hopefully* a live concert or two.

Check out the UMS website to read more about digital presentations being offered this season.

Study Hal: Week 30 – Surprise Gifts

Happy holidays, everyone! It’s been a nice and restful break over here. Today, though, a special surprise shook things up: Hal got a late-coming package from his cousin Fil!

Fil started knitting during the first lockdown. Apparently, he’s only been getting better, because he managed to make a whole hat for Hal! It’s not quite the right size and style for Hal’s head? But, it’s the thought that counts. Hal had to call him to thank him for the gift right away.

Did you get any late-arriving surprises from relatives? More likely, did you catch up with loved ones over the phone? However you’re celebrating the end of the year, Hal and I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

For those of you not in the know, Hal is a U-M student studying remotely this school year! Check out the Study Hal tag for more of his antics, or come back on Tuesdays in the new year for new installments!