Singer-songwriter and University of Michigan student Frances Master opened The CoOp in January with a vision of offering the Ann Arbor community an intimate, accessible, and community-oriented concert venue.
"Our mission is to give artists a platform to perform for an attentive and thoughtful audience," says Master, the venue's artistic director. "We want to give listeners a space to slow down, be present, and immerse themselves in a palpable experience."
Master rents studio space at the Openfloor Studio, 213 S. State St. in Ann Arbor, for CoOp shows that take place three to four Friday evenings per month. The small space can comfortably fit about 50 people.
The CoOp’s musical offerings are diverse. It's so far hosted performances by folk, soul, jazz, hip-hop, bluegrass, and indie rock artists.
The common thread across the shows is a sense of connection and intimacy.
"They are a bit like house shows in the sense that the artists are up close, and listeners are attentive and relaxed," Master says. "Think candles, blankets, pillows, twinkly lights, and yoga mats."
Within the next few months, she hopes to start offering CoOp memberships. Once enrolled, patrons would pay a monthly fee to attend unlimited CoOp shows.
"It would be like a Spotify subscription for live music," Master says.
Whether people stop into The CoOp once or countless times, she wants every person who walks through the doors to connect with those around them and enjoy great, live music without any distractions.
"We are different from other venues because for us it’s all about the experience and the community," Master says.
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently in based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Openfloor Studio.