Ann Arbor Summer Festival to hold Black community listening session

A2SF seeking participants for its October session

Screenshot from A2SF's discussion with Black arts leaders in Washtenaw County on July 7, 2020. (Ann Arbor Summer Festival)

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor Summer Festival is looking for community members to participate in its October Community Listening Session focused on Black residents in Washtenaw County.

According to a press release, the session is aimed at helping “A2SF learn how to better serve and represent residents in its programming and leadership.”

A2SF launched its listening sessions in February, which included a session on the South Asian community and virtual meetings during the pandemic.

“The work we began earlier this year with the South Asian Listening Session with support from the National Endowment for the Arts energized our organization,” A2SF executive director Mike Michelon said in a statement. “It sparked a series of sessions and expanded to the Black community. Ultimately, we desire deeper relationships with all residents throughout the county.”

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To end the 2020 season, A2SF held a virtual public panel discussion called The Future of the Arts Must be Antiracist with local Black arts and nonprofit leaders. Participants included Yodit Mesfin Johnson, the President & CEO of Nonprofit Enterprise at Work (NEW), facilitated the conversation with Omari Rush, CultureSource Executive Director, Jenny Jones, Development and Administrative Director for Title Track, and Jamall Bufford, Project Specialist coordinating Washtenaw My Brother’s Keeper (WMBK).

The festival’s programming and operations manager James Carter was recently accepted to NEW’s Champions for Change program.

To participate in October’s Black community Listening Session, contact A2SF marketing and communications manager Natalie Robbins at The festival will be offering resources to support participants.