They say you can't go home again, but in the spring of 2016 that's exactly what we did. Returning to Austin meant keeping up the momentum we'd captured the year before, and it also meant pushing beyond the magic of those original four days. We wanted to come back bigger with more visitors, more partners, and more programming, but to also hold onto the intimacy of the first House. It had to be more than just an imitation. It had to be a leap forward.
With re-imagination on the mind, we found a new location to transform. An East Austin home that combined a simple and soothing interior with a truly unique yard that called to mind a secret garden. Again, we turned a family home into a hospitality space capable of hosting hundreds per day. Again, we moved their possessions out and our Michigan Made furniture, art, and products in. Again, we carved out a space where relationships could be built and ideas could be exchanged.
Austin 2016 included more serious programming in the form of conversations and panel discussions. It featured daily song recordings, interviews, and performances, as well as two nights of off-site venue showcases that let Michigan musicians get loud on a big stage. We invited alumni from The University of Michigan & Michigan State to get back to their roots. We put on headphones and threw a backyard silent disco. And we brought 200 Detroit style Coney dogs to the land of food trucks and tacos.
Michigan House//Austin 2016 succeeded because it became its own unique experience. It held onto the elements that had made the first Michigan House work, but it explored more edges and found new possibilities. The message of a vibrant, collaborative Michigan remained the same; we showed the true depth of those realities.