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335 West Ann Street
Ann Arbor, MI, 48104
United States

Threads All Arts Festival


What's Been Going On

Karen Toomasian

Hey everyone!

It’s been awhile since you last heard from us, and a lot has happened. Hopefully this can serve as your quick and easy guide to what happened, why it happened, how it happened, why you haven’t heard from us in a while, and why we are so excited for Threads 2018. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves; we need to start with a look back. Threads, in its earliest form, was born in December 2015, and its simple mission was to showcase local artists. At this time we constructed “local” to mean Ann Arbor artists. All of us on the Threads team had seen people we knew and respected in Ann Arbor play, promote, or put on shows that didn’t get the turn out they deserved. We wanted to bring these folks together to showcase local artistic innovation and talent. But even in these early stages of the festival it became clear this restrictive definition of local was unhelpful. The community of arts in southeast Michigan is connected and sprawling. By the time we were actually putting on the first iteration of Threads, which took place in the spring of 2016 at the Yellow Barn in Ann Arbor, the idea of what is local had changed in our minds. Threads 2016 featured artists from Ann Arbor, most of whom have played, worked, and collaborated in other communities in southeastern Michigan, and many of whom's band members and collaborators were not exclusively Ann Arborites. Moving forward, it proved impossible, or at the very least amoral, to ignore or restrict these artistic crosscurrents. It became clear that some type of organizational change in how we thought about and ran the festival was necessary.

A lot has happened since the first, and to this point, the only real-life occurrence of Threads: we hosted a battle of the bands at the Neutral Zone, we are working on becoming a certified local food event, we fully planned Threads 2017, we then had to postpone Threads 2017, we went into hibernation, we got some new team-members and had to say goodbye to others, we changed how we thought about the festival without really keeping the outside world up to date (sorry about that), we found a wonderful new venue, and most importantly the concept of local, in the context of Threads, changed. The Threads 2017 call for artists was extended towards arts organizations in Detroit, Ypsi, Flint, Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and artists communities all over southeast Michigan. We are very grateful for the diverse set of submissions. As it turned out, our artist pool reflected an organic growth in its second year. From this pool, it was our responsibility to craft a festival based on the submissions we received. When Threads 2017 was postponed, and became Threads 2018, we had the opportunity to seek out a new venue, and, as recently announced, Threads 2018 will be held at the Historic Ypsilanti Freighthouse. This move is in line with Threads being a place for people from all over the arts scene(s) in southeastern Michigan. It is in line with Threads being young and amorphous. It is in line with the fact that of the 184 artist submissions we received from our call for artists, when asked about their connection to southeast Michigan, nearly everyone voiced how they perform and share their work all over the various towns and communities in southeast Michigan.

The change of venue, city, and interpretation of “local” lets us more accurately represent what we perceive to be the artistic reality of southeastern Michigan. It also lets us work with the Ypsilanti Freighthouse on their mission of bringing communities together, and making cool shit happen. We are so excited to host Threads in Ypsi. We are so excited to see folks from all over southeast Michigan boogie down and work together and learn from each other. We are so excited to continue to learn how to run a festival dedicated to showcasing diverse artistic communities. We are so excited to be present to the outside world again, after burrowing down in planning and creating. We love you all so much. We hope you will continue to keep us honest, and have a good time. Seasons change, venues alter, artistic paths reroute, and we want to go along for the entire ride. We are so excited to see you in March.

We, us, you,