The State & Michigan Project

A gift for Ann Arbor: Securing Our Historic Theaters

To enable the State Theatre to better serve the community and recapture its Art Deco magic, the renovation project will:

  • Install a full-sized elevator, with stops at each level of lobbies and theaters
  • Realign theaters with comfortable seating and increased leg room
  • Restore and refresh renowned architect C. Howard Crane’s beautiful Art Deco design of the façade, entrance, lobby and restrooms
  • Add new ADA features for mobility-impaired, hearing-impaired and vision-impaired citizens
  • Install new heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and safety systems
  • Update movie projection and sound systems

The Michigan Theater has been well used by over 6 million visitors since its last renovation and now requires significant technical updates and operational improvements. Among its vital needs:

  • New, more comfortable and historically appropriate seats
  • Accessibility enhancements in the balcony
  • Updated stage equipment
  • New, efficient “green” stage lighting and architectural lighting
  • Digital cinema improvements and integration
  • Specialized, historic paint and plaster work to preserve the building and maintain the “glow”

Menakka Bailey

“The people at the Michigan have done a fabulous job in maintaining different levels of entertainment and education,” Bailey says. “I like the idea of the State coming completely under their auspices. It will add to the quality of life in Ann Arbor, and as one gets older, that’s the kind of legacy one wants to leave behind.”

Alec Allen

“The current campaign for the State and Michigan is vital to preserving film in this area,” Allen says. “They’ve been a cornerstone for this part of downtown and can be a cornerstone again. People who’ve been to the Michigan know what a serious job the staff does in preserving and enhancing this institution, and now we have a chance to do the same thing for the State. If we hadn’t stepped forward and said we’ll preserve it, it would be offices. It was still a pit, but now it will be a gem.”

Hilary Murt

“There’s not a time when my husband and I go to the Michigan that we don’t bump into someone we know,” Murt says. “It’s like walking through the doors of a friend’s home. The Michigan has been Ann Arbor’s community address, where there’s an exchange of ideas, of thoughts, of the way people view the world and think about the world. Now we have a chance to replicate that experience at the State.”

Sultan Sharrief

“All filmmakers want to eventually show their films on screen,” says Sharrief. “Nothing compares to an audience of people watching something you’ve created, sharing the emotions they experience. The Michigan and the State constantly enable independent filmmakers like myself to do that. The theatrical experience is one of the last remaining vestiges of our public storytelling culture. What we’re doing with The State & Michigan Project will help us preserve that part of our culture.”

Donate to the State and Michigan Project

It is our mission, our responsibility and our duty to preserve these two community treasures.