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Capital Improvement Project Reimagines Alden B. Dow Museum, Historical Collections, Art Studios and Overall Guest Experience

Midland Center for the Arts in Midland, Mich. has announced a $47 Million transformational project that will reimagine the way art and science intersect in Michigan – a campaign they are calling, Center of Possibility. Having just commemorated its 50th Anniversary, the Center for the Arts celebrated its rich history as a regional destination for immersive exploration, historical research, artistic expression and scientific discovery.

To date, the Center for the Arts has secured over $40 Million for the project through the support of foundations, corporations, individual leadership donations and self-funding. The capital campaign invites the community to imagine and build an art and STEM Center filled with endless possibilities for learning, creativity, and connection. “The community’s overwhelming support of this mission has been absolutely breathtaking,” remarked Lisa Ungerleider, Midland Center for the Arts board chair. “It stands as proof that our inspiring vision to deliver an extraordinary new Center to the region is shared by all.”

In 1971, Midland Center for the Arts opened its doors as a facility design by world-renowned architect Alden B. Dow. From Dow’s philosophical perspective, his design was more than a building, it was an idea without boundaries that stood as a testament to the unlimited spirit of human imagination. 

“While the mid-century modern legacy of Alden B. Dow lives on in this 50-year-old cultural destination, he believed it to be a working institution that would change and grow, supporting his assertion that creativity is organically alive,” said Diane Willcox, Vice President of Communication and Development for the Center. “As we look toward the next 50 years, this project will deliver an exciting and engaging world-class cultural destination to captivate the hearts and minds of the next generation.”

Jon Loos, the Center for the Art’s COO added, “This transformational project will make Midland Center for the Arts a statewide and national destination to challenge traditional thinking, encourage explorers of all ages to create, and provide a space for play and discovery in unique and inspiring ways, while elevating the visitor experience to new heights for all of our guests.”

The extensive facility renovations will provide more engaging and welcoming patron interactions, encourage exploration of innovative technology in exhibits, classrooms and archival spaces, and will significantly enhance accessibility. Improvements include:

Cutting-Edge Art & STEM Museum: A restored, refreshed and more open museum for scientific discovery and artistic expression. The Hall of Idea’s iconic architectural rings in the Alden B. Dow Museum will be more visible, reestablishing the museum’s unique and powerful center. Exhibit spaces will expand, including a fully renovated lower level for additional exploration, providing a total of five floors of science and art exhibition space. With cutting-edge technology and fully interactive exhibits, the new museum will envision the Michigan of tomorrow.

World-Class Art Studios: A pillar of the facility, the art studios will be redesigned and moved to an accessible and highly-visible space in the building for both professional art instruction and creative endeavors that encompass a variety of artistic mediums.

Professional Historical Research Archive: An accessible and technologically advanced historical archive that is professionally maintained and available for public research and understanding in the Center’s main building. This will serve as an interactive space where community history comes alive and is celebrated.

Elevated Guest Experience: A new, centralized main entry and lobby space will immerse patrons in the true intersection of art and science by offering striking, multi-level views into the interactive museum exhibits. Redesigned, modern activity spaces throughout the Center will provide numerous opportunities for community gatherings, meetings and celebrations.

“The Center is a treasured regional gem that embarked upon a transformative journey several years ago. Our staff and board continue to forge ahead with unlimited drive and enthusiasm. The team has dedicated exceptional amounts of time, expertise, and energy to ensure the overwhelming success of this project,” said Ungerleider. She noted, to date, “Eight generous lead donors and foundations have partnered with us to provide an outstanding level of cornerstone support. In addition, the Center’s strategic, determined recovery efforts with FEMA and other agencies have identified additional funding to fuel this comprehensive path from flood recovery to the bold and bright future that our community so deserves. As we move past the pandemic and the devastating flood of 2020, the Center will create even more meaning and connection for people throughout the region and beyond.”

Midland Center for the Arts continues to engage potential lead donors for the renovation, and will be highlighting and celebrating these gifts publicly prior to reaching out more broadly for additional community-wide support and engagement. To learn more about the project, visit

About the author

Josh Holliday

Josh Holliday

Josh Holliday is the former Director of Communications at Midland Center for the Arts. Telling the stories of artists, innovators and modern day explorers!

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