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When will The Ark reopen for live shows?

It’s unknown.  The Ark’s ability to reopen is dependent on state guidelines, artists’ touring schedules, and audiences’ readiness to return.

  • Michigan’s 6-phase reopening plan currently has venues like The Ark reopening in Phase 6, “Post-Pandemic”-essentially after the development of a vaccine or other effective treatment.

  • The majority of The Ark’s programming is based on touring artists.  Most artists are canceling their current tours in light of the pandemic, with many of them rescheduling for 2021.

  • Music lovers miss live music, but while some audience members are ready to return to indoor concerts anytime, many have said they won’t feel safe until after a vaccine or other treatment is available.


Could The Ark reopen at partial capacity before Phase 6 if the state allows it?

Yes and no.  The short answer: it’s not likely while social distancing is in place

  • As long as social distancing requires maintaining 6 feet of distance in all directions, only about 40 people could attend The Ark and they’d be scattered around the listening room.  40 people is 10% of The Ark’s capacity.

  • This isn’t financially viable, and also not the kind of live music experience most people are looking for.

  • That said, it’s possible we could present an occasional socially-distanced live broadcast from The Ark, which would allow a small number of people to attend in person and a wide audience to view remotely.


When The Ark does open, how will it address safety measures? 

The Ark is participating in weekly discussions with a group of arts and cultural organizations focused on developing best practices and sharing information about safely re-opening and proper sanitation.

  • The Ark is also keeping up on the current guidelines from various sources, including the CDC, OSHA, Washtenaw Health Dept. and the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association.

  • We’re maintaining and modifying our safety plan as these guidelines change and stocking appropriate supplies so that we’ll be ready to open. 

  • Whenever we open, we’ll have proper cleaning, sanitizing and public health protocols in place based on requirements and recommended best practices at the time. 

  • We’ll post our safety plan at the venue and online prior to opening and whenever it’s updated.


How is The Ark operating without live, in-person music?


  • Our focus during the pandemic is on developing and delivering virtual programming and expanding our social media outreach to keep people connected to music and each other until we can gather together again.

  • We’ve developed a new, curated livestreaming program, the Ark Family Room Series.  Hosted on The Ark’s Facebook page, the series features live performances by Ark artists playing from their homes and streaming straight into your own living room.

  • We’re developing a youth open stage program with support from The Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor Foundation.

  • Our Ann Arbor Folk Festival is going virtual and will be announced soon.

  • We are now presenting and promoting many ticketed livestream events which you can find listed on our event calendar


  • Our weekly enews has new features on spotlighting local/regional artists and amplifying voices of color

  • We’ve launched a new monthly Member newsletter

  • We have expanded content on our social media channels, particularly with Instagram Stories and archived Ark Family Room performances on YouTube.

How is The Ark functioning without earned income - ticket sales, concessions, merchandise?

A combination of cutting expenses, increasing fundraising, pursuing COVID-related grants and loans, and managing modest reserves will help get The Ark to the other side of the pandemic.

  • Donations are The Ark’s main source of income right now, and donors have been generous during the months that our doors have been closed. Thank you!

  • Memberships, individual contributions, and grants from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and a CultureSource consortium of funders have helped compensate for our significant monthly losses.

  • The Ark has a modest reserve that is “buying” us time to continue to seek additional funding.

  • We eliminated discretionary spending and received a Federal Payroll Protection loan that enabled us to keep our staff fully employed for an additional two months after we closed our doors.  When that expired in early June, we made the difficult but necessary decision to furlough our three Night Managers and implement pay cuts to the remaining staff.


Why doesn’t The Ark just close down during the pandemic and reopen when it’s over?

The Ark has a mission and it’s important to keep fulfilling it.  For 55 years, in good times and challenging times, The Ark has been a community-based organization dedicated to the enrichment of the human spirit through the power of music.  A vast array of musicians and music lovers are longing for musical experiences to ease pandemic-weary spirits and find inspiration in the struggle for social justice.  The Ark is committed to continuing to enrich spirits through music at a time when it’s needed most.


How can I help support The Ark?

So many ways!

Financial support:

  • Make a donation

  • Become an Ark member

  • Renew your Ark membership

  • Upgrade your membership

  • Support The Ark through special fundraising initiatives like Giving Tuesday coming up on December 1, 2020.  

Non-financial support:

  • Join us for a concert in The Ark’s livestreaming Ark Family Room Series.  If you can, donate to the tip jar to support The Ark and the artist

  • Respond to requests for advocacy support by contacting your legislators on behalf of issues that affect The Ark, arts organizations, music venues, the music industry

  • Use social media to spread the word about The Ark.

  • Drop us a note or email and let us know what The Ark means to you.


Livestreaming: Family Room Series FAQ’s

Can I view the livestreams if I don’t have a Facebook account?

Yes!  Go to the Ark Family Room Series page on The Ark’s website and click on the artist who’s playing.  When you get to the Facebook page, scroll down until you see the concert in progress.  Click on that to open it. Many Family Room Series concerts are also streamed live on The Ark’s YouTube channel. Simply visit The Ark on YouTube to find the livestreams as they air.

How much does it cost to attend a Family Room Series show?

There’s no charge but a donation to the tip jar supports both the artist and The Ark.

Are the livestreams archived?  How do I find them?

Yes, most of our livestreamed concerts are archived.  Go to the Ark Family Room Series page and scroll down past the artists to find the previous concerts. You can also find many of the previous concerts on The Ark’s YouTube channel