Festival Footprint Initiative

A Step in the Right Direction

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF) is pleased to announce its Festival Footprint Initiative in partnership with Toyota. This season we debut sustainability programming in the Annex to inspire and bring awareness to the environment.

We believe art should be everywhere. Nature frames over 80% of our programming. Whether it’s an aerialist employing a blue-sky backdrop or magnolia trees shading a large spectacle along Ingalls Mall, nature is an extraordinary venue.

One of the largest public arts gatherings in the state of Michigan, A2SF has an estimated economic impact of $3.5 million annually. With Toyota and our partners, the Huron River Watershed Council and the Ecology Center, we aim to transform this gathering into a zero-waste event over the next three to five years.

“Toyota continues to be a key partner of the festival, encouraging and supporting unique programming that stimulates social impact. We’re grateful for this opportunity to host community conversations around an issue that has such far-reaching impact,” said Festival Executive Director Mike Michelon. “We are lucky to have such an innovative funder who sees the benefit of ensuring this community event is here for generations to enjoy.”

Highlights from this year’s Festival Footprint environmental programming includes the following:

Tuesday, June 12, 5:30 pm 
Detroit Artist Juan Martinez will bring his Pedal Powered Kinetic Sculptures “Made in Detroit” to Top of the Park. Martinez recycles bicycle parts to create rideable animals, such as life-sized bison and rhinoceros, that surprise and delight. Martinez will also hold a mask-making workshop in the Annex that invites children and adults to repurpose materials to create new art.

Tuesday, June 19, 5:30 pm
Ecology Center will host a fun, interactive game show workshop “Guess What’s In It?” or “We Ruin Everything” to the Annex. Armed with an XRF Analyzer and consumers’ best interests in mind, a zany host guides three contestants through the veritable minefield of possible toxic products, such as children’s toys and infant car seats, while they learn about everyday items we take for granted.

Tuesday, June 26, 5:30 pm
A Long Table discussion on waste reduction will foster meaningful discussions between civic-minded Ann Arborites Join Adam C. Simon, University of Michigan Associate Professor from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Toyota Motor North America Director, Kevin Webber, Ann Arbor Summer Festival Executive Director Mike Michelon, Huron River Watershed Council Executive Director Laura Rubin, Ecology Center Executive Director Michael Garfield, Director, Michigan Sustainability Cases, open access on Gala, Rebecca Hardin, and sculptor Juan Martinez for a convening on recycling, microplastics, zero waste events, and the arts.

To demonstrate its long-term commitment, Toyota introduced its Environmental Challenge 2050, which introduced a set of six global challenges that will move the company beyond zero environmental impact to achieving a net positive impact on society.

“At Toyota, we are working hard to address environmental issues facing the global community,” said Kevin Butt, regional environmental director, Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). “While it’s important to engage in conversations throughout the festival this year and share ideas that help reduce our carbon footprint, it’s critical that we commit to actions that will have an immediate impact on communities throughout Michigan.”

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