The Ark is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the enrichment of the human spirit through the presentation, preservation and encouragement of folk, roots and ethnic music and related arts. The Ark provides a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all people to listen to, learn about, perform, and share music.
In 1965, four Ann Arbor churches envisioned a gathering place for students – a coffee house like many that were springing up on campuses all around the country. First Presbyterian Church provided the major portion of the funding and the church house on Hill Street known as Hill House.
The financial support from the four churches gradually dried up, and The Ark had to support itself with monies from admission fees and donations. The Ark initiated a major fundraiser in 1977, the now yearly Ann Arbor Folk Festival. In the late 1970s The Ark was reorganized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. By the early 1980s First Presbyterian Church wanted the Hill Street property for its own use and The Ark ended it first phase of its existence.
The second incarnation of The Ark was at 637½ S. Main St. above the original South Main Market. Ark II opened on September 8, 1984, featuring performer Michael Cooney. The Ark continued to grow, and on September 12, 1996, Ark III opened at its current location at 316 S. Main.
The location at 316 S. Main became The Ark’s permanent home on December 28, 2012 when they purchased the venue as a condominium. For the first time in our history, The Ark owns its home!