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Programs 1971 – Now


Current programs

  • Creative Washtenaw (contracted) - Creative Washtenaw is contracted to administrator and manage this local arts agency that champions, supports and advocates for the arts and creative industries—arts and creative individuals, organizations and businesses—to ensure that the greater Ann Arbor, Michigan region remains a great place to create, live, work, learn, play and visit. A sampling of the recent projects of Creative Washtenaw managed by Artrain include:
    • A multi-phased Washtenaw County Creative Center Assessment Report on the possibilities for one or more sustainable cooperative multi-purposed spaces for artists and creative individuals.
    • The Arts & Cultural Education Integration for Student Excellence (ACEISE) , a partnership of Creative Washtenaw and Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) that was awarded a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant to develop a long-term sustainable plan in place to offer all WISD students the chance to benefit from high-quality, consistent, sequential and standards-based education through the arts, culture, design and creativity – based in production/performance and integrated education in curricular and co-curricular settings.
    • PowerArt!, in partnership with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority and the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission (AAPAC). PowerArt! is a project to wrap 42 traffic signal boxes in downtown Ann Arbor with vinyl-printed replicas of local artists’ work. PowerArt! was awarded a FY2018 Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs project grant.
  • Artrain’s fiscal sponsorships include:
    • A2 JAZZ FEST- A free two-day jazz festival held in September each year, the A2 JAZZ FEST brings multiple generations of local jazz artists together with a supportive community of fans to create a great celebration of jazz in Ann Arbor. The A2 JAZZ FEST mission is to showcase and promote jazz by presenting live performances of original compositions and jazz standards by Michigan-based artists.
    •  Commie High: The Film - Produced and directed by Donald Harrison, Commie High: The Film is an independent documentary about one of the longest-running alternative public schools in America – Community High School (aka, Commie High). 
    • “Building Character and Grit—The Right Way”  The Red Berenson Legacy Film

A core group of Red Berenson supporters called “Team Red” is teaming up with Picture Show Films to produce a one-hour documentary featuring legendary University of Michigan Hockey coach – Red Berenson. Team Red is seeking contributions to fund the production of this impactful story which will capture the legacy of Red Berenson and ensure his “leadership” and “integrity” will be a part of the “M” lore and collegiate athletics forever. Mike Leonard and Picture Show Films is producing the documentary with former University of Michigan alum and M baseball player, Steve Seyferth overseeing. 

2016 – 2017

Artrain continues to manage administration and projects for Creative Washtenaw, the arts and creative industries service and advocacy organization in Washtenaw County, MI. Creative Voice continues and receives a National Endowment for the Arts grant to expand it nationally. The National Park Service (NPS) and Artrain produce the Paths to Peace project with Ypsilanti, MI and Windsor, Ontario, schools. New fiscal sponsorships and management contracts include two films: Commie High: The Movie and The Bob Ufer Story plus the A2 JAZZ Fest.


Artrain continues to produce Creative Voice, a video-based arts journalism source that creates videos for Southeast Michigan arts and cultural events for promotional purposes. National Park Service (NPS) and Artrain plan a second Paths to Peace project for 2016-17 with Ypsilanti, MI and Windsor, Ontario, schools. Fiscal sponsorships and management contracts begin to expand as awareness builds.


Artrain and its Paths to Peace partner, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial receive the National Park Service National Partnership Award. Artrain’s Mr. B’s Joybox Express Mississippi River Road Ride kicks off in Lake Itasca, MN, in September and 75 days and 2,000 miles later concludes in New Orleans, LA.  CriticCar Detroit announces name change to Creative Voice and Artrain produces a Soldiers Stories photo shoot for photographer Jennifer Karady. Infinite Mirror concludes its national tour after reaching 13 cities across the United States.


Artrain becomes producer of Mr. B’s Joybox Express 2014 Mississippi River Ride, to bring attention to and raise awareness about the positive effects of arts and athletics. CriticCar Detroit continues as does Artrain’s management contract with Creative Washtenaw. Infinite Mirror continues to tour including exhibiting in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan’s Duderstadt Gallery. Creative Washtenaw, the local arts agency in Washtenaw County, contracts Artrain to provide management services.

2011 - 12       

Artrain celebrates its 40th Anniversary. In partnership with the National Park Service, Artrain produces Paths to Peace, an international education and art program commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  Artrain produces CriticCar Detroit, a citizen’s arts journalism program using social media. Infinite Mirror is on tour.

2009 - 2010   

Artrain retires its train museum and commissions designs for a new mobile museum on expandable semi-trailers. Artrain produces, Infinite Mirror:  Images of American Identity

2006 - 08       

Artrain awarded the prestigious National Medal for Museum Service – the nation’s highest award for Museums.  Native Views, on tour through 2008, is recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as an American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of American Genius project.


Artrain celebrates 30 years as Michigan’s cultural arts pearl visiting a dozen communities across the state on its 30th Anniversary Michigan State tour.

1999                 Artrain is selected as an official associate partner of the White House Millennium Council.

1998 - 2002   

Comprehensive Campaign to fund a new railcar museum and increase organizational capacity. Goal = $6.3 million. Total raised = $6.6 million.


Artrain receives Michigan Governor’s Arts Organization Award.


Sesquicentennial murals are painted on the train to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Michigan’s statehood.


Artrain established as an independent nonprofit 501(c)3.


National Endowment for the Arts funds Artrain’s first national tour to seven Rocky Mountain States.

1971 – 1975  

Michigan Council for the Arts creates the Michigan Artrain.  Artrain launches its first exhibition Man Creates…A Vision of Art and the Innovators on tour via the railroads to Michigan cities reaching 191,000 visitors in 28 cities in its first year.