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!

Study Hal: Week 26 – Refreshed

Like much of the United States, Hal spent last week waiting for election results by constantly refreshing the vote map. When the news came in about our new president-elect, Hal actually felt relieved and refreshed… But it only lasted about 10 seconds. Then he realized how much work piled up while he was worrying about the election results.

It’s been really hard to balance schoolwork with the stress of modern issues. The fight for equal rights and a more democratic and unified country are far from over, but us students have 30 pages of reading and five essays due next week… Hal would like to remind you to be kind to yourself in the coming weeks. He’s working hard to get back on track, but even if it’s slow, it’s amazing to be doing any work at all in a time like this. To all of the students trying to hang in there: amazing job so far, and you’ve got this going forward!

In case this is your first time here, Hal is a U-M student who’s studying remotely for 2020. He’s back on Tuesdays with new adventures, but you can check out all of the previous weeks on the Study Hal tag.

Study Hal: Week 25 – Election Day

Hello from the polls! Hal’s been pretty stressed about the election. But, that anxiety inspired him to be an election official, to help folks vote in person! It’s a good cause, but, like the rest of the election inspectors in Michigan, he had to get up early. (Early enough to be at his precinct at 6 AM!)

If you can vote and you haven’t already submitted an absentee ballot, please try to get out to the polls today! Folks like Hal are there to help you make your voice heard as quickly and safely as possible. Check out The Michigan Daily for info on in-person Ann Arbor precincts, and be sure to get in line before 8 PM in Michigan! On that note, please be kind to your election officials, too! They’ll probably be working until after 10 PM to ensure everything runs smoothly.

In case you’ve missed it, Hal is a U-M student studying remotely this semester! Check out the Study Hal tag to learn more, and see more clips here every Tuesday!

Looking Forward: Meet the Writer

Hello arts, ink readers!

Welcome to my new column here on arts, ink.: Looking Forward. My name is Lucy. I’m excited to get started on my journey as a writer in this space, but first, let me introduce myself. 

I’m a senior in LSA majoring in Communication & Media Studies with a double minor in Performing Arts Management and Writing. That’s a really long-winded way of saying that this blog is right up my alley; I’m really passionate about connecting students with the arts on campus. The talent and resources we have access to while we’re at Michigan are incredible, and I encourage everyone to take full advantage of them during your time here.

I’m currently the co-president of MUSIC Matters, a non-profit student organization that aims to use the unifying power of music to drive social impact in the community. Through our capstone event SpringFest, as well as our programming throughout the year, I’ve been able to see the breadth of work that students on campus are doing in the arts and I hope to help showcase that in this column. I’ve also worked as a Program Assistant for Arts Ambassadors through Arts at Michigan, where I got to learn 

more about the campus resources that are available to students wanting to engage in the arts. 

My professional interests lie in the intersection of arts and community, with special emphasis on diversity and accessibility. I’ve seen how the arts can bring people together, it’s a powerful force. By allowing us to see others’ forms of expression, art encourages us to engage in empathy, which the world could use more of right now. I’m excited to continue advocating for the arts and the connections it can forge throughout my career, wherever it may take me.  

Enough about me, I’m sure you’re curious about what this column is. The goal of Looking Forward is to engage in conversations with arts groups and resources on campus. Every Friday I’ll be spotlighting one, exploring the strategies that they’re implementing to continue their programs and engage with the community during this complex public health, social, and political time. I also want to provide a space where students can access information about how to engage with these arts platforms, whether by participating or viewing since it can feel very decentralized at the moment. Hopefully, you’ll find this column to be a place where you can discover arts resources, reconnect with old favorites, or just learn more about the arts scene on U-M’s campus right now. 

I’m excited to get started. If you have any questions or requests for groups or resources to spotlight, please feel free to leave a comment!

See you next week!


Study Hal: Week 22 – Absentee

Just about everyone has been talking about the upcoming election, and for good reason! It’s important to make your voice heard, and during a pandemic, voting takes extra planning. Hal has had his absentee ballot for a while now. He decided to take a break from studying to fill it in, but he didn’t realize before opening the ballot that there were so many items to vote for!

Though he was tempted to skip the races he didn’t understand, Hal researched every race using the League of Women Voters nonpartisan voter guide. (They have different chapters all over the country! Hal highly recommends finding your local voting guide.) Hal was able to find candidates he agrees with and figure out what the proposals mean. It took him a while to get it all sorted out, but he did it! Tomorrow morning, he’s going to drop off his signed and sealed ballot in the official drop box in front of the city hall. Have you already voted, or do you have a voting plan? Better yet, do you have any voting uncertainties that Hal or I could help you with? Leave us a comment below!

If you’ve missed it, Hal is a student at U-M who’s staying remote for the semester. He’s around every week with a new video, so check out the Study Hal tag to see more!

Study Hal: Week 21 – Home Alone

Hal’s been staying in his childhood home since March, but today was the first day in months that he’s been there all by himself. Though he gets kind of annoyed when other folks distract him from his work, he found himself wandering aimlessly through the house in search of company. He was relieved when someone finally got home with the groceries!

Hal keeps telling me that he’s learning about himself from this pandemic. For instance, he used to think he’d rather live alone than with roommates, but now he thinks now he’d rather have people around more often. What do you think? Have you learned something unexpected from this time at home? Do you want roommates more or less than when this whole thing started?

If you missed it, Hal is a student here at U-Mich. He’s studying remotely this semester from his home in Michigan. If you’d like to see more of his exploits, check back in next Tuesday, or check out the Study Hal tag!