Every third Thursday, from July 2023 through June 2024, visitors can receive free admission to Cranbrook Art Museum from 11am–8pm AND Cranbrook Institute of Science from 5–8pm. Cranbrook Art Museum remains free on all remaining Thursdays of each month. Visitors are requested to register in advance to visit Cranbrook Institute of Science via their website. Walk-ins are welcome, but entrance is not guaranteed due to capacity limits.

Biannual Solstice Celebrations are a new Cranbrook tradition presented by Cranbrook Art Museum, initiated by the Free Third Thursday program funding from the Southeast Michigan Community Foundation. Occurring on or near the summer (June 21) and winter (December 21), the longest and shortest day of the year respectively, and celebrated by societies worldwide for millennia, especially in Scandinavian countries. The solstices are a universal, time-honored tradition of community gathering and celebration of our universe. These events provide an opportunity to gather the Cranbrook Educational Community around activities at the Art Museum and the Institute of Science to share knowledge, art and entertainment.  

This year’s Summer Solstice Celebration features a variety of solar-themed performances and traditional Solstice practices filled with joy and fun. The sound system supporting the music for the evening as well as the two food vendors will be solarpowered using a mobile unit provided by the organization Solar Party Detroit, co-founded by alumna Ash Arder (CAA Fiber ’18) 

At Cranbrook Art Museum:


  • May Pole Dance: Try your hand at a traditional maypole dance led by Rosalia Schultz, Brookside’s early childhood music specialist, accompanied by her accordion music. This 40-year Cranbrook tradition invites alumni and members of the public to join in this joyful dance!
  • Sunset Tapestries: Make your mark on our large sun-inspired fabric tapestries in this collaborative art making project. Harnessing the colors of the sunset, participants will contribute to large, abstract designed wall hangings of tied fabric in brilliant hues.
  • Mourning Doves Solar Sounders: Learn about solar-powered instruments with Dominant Hand! Derived from 9-volt solar panels which allow environmentally-influenced modulations through the single-oscillator circuit, the use of solar power and shadows as performative elements enables multiple actors, human or otherwise, to impact the sound. 
  • Suncatchers: Join us in the ArtLab to craft your own suncatchers! With a variety of materials, including prisms, you can design a piece that will bring rainbows into your home, capturing the magic of sunlight in your windows.


  • Jared Talaga and David Hurley: At 6:30pm, join us near the Triton Pools for a unique soundscape! Talaga and Hurley will use percussion and a Buchla synthesizer to incorporate the natural sounds of the Triton Pools and Orpheus Fountain to create a lush, ethereal experience.


  • Sunset Dance Party: End the night with a lively sunset dance party featuring sun-themed music from the extensive vinyl collection of Moondog Detroit, DJ’d by Nervous Recs. Dance to a curated mix that celebrates the warmth and energy of the sun.


  • Jaro Farms: Discover beautiful dried floral crowns made from locally grown spring flowers. Each crown is a unique piece of wearable art, perfect for celebrating the solstice.
  • Bombshell Treat Bar: Indulge in special hand-dipped ice cream treats! Enjoy unique flavors and high-quality ingredients that make each scoop a delightful experience.
  • Tacos Hernandez: Savor delicious New Mexican-style tacos. With a focus on authentic flavors and fresh ingredients, Tacos Hernandez brings a taste of the Southwest to our celebration.

About Key Participants:

  • Solar Party Detroit: Solar Party Detroit, L3c is a Detroit-based, women-owned company co-founded by Ash Arder (CAA Fiber ’18) that seeks to educate clients and the general public about solar power, while making clean, mobile, electricity more accessible. Since 2016, we’ve worked with clients across many sectors and disciplines to power small and large-scale events.
  • Moondog Cafe: The Summer Solstice Celebration is co-presented with our partners Moondog Cafe. Located in the heart of Detroit, Moondog is a new music venue, café, and listening space centered on creating an essential outlet and resource for neighbors, music seekers, Detroit’s creative communities, and touring artists making a stop in Detroit. Moondog serves as an intimate platform for local and visiting artists, encouraging new relationships and the strengthening of bonds across distances, centered around listening to and sharing new music.   

Free Third Thursdays is a program sponsored by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.