Lansing United

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

The full stands at East Lansing Soccer Complex

Sometimes in Lansing you come across something new and exciting without really knowing how you haven’t known about it before. Sometimes it’s a passing blip on your Facebook wall. Sometimes a friend in going and mentions it to you. Sometimes someone you know creates the entire branding for a new sports team and his son plays on their reserve team. Even this last part didn’t get me fully interested in this new team. It wasn’t until I was asked to write a “break out” piece for a local paper about Lansing United, that I finally took the time to really find out about this new sports team.

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

Lansing United vs. Minnesota United Reserves

Lansing United is the newest members of the National Premier Soccer League. The NPSL is the fastest growing national soccer league in the United States. Lansing United is an expansion team in the Great Lakes Conference. Last week this team came in first place in the Great Lakes Conference and moved on to the playoffs. There were four teams that got to play in the Midwest Region Playoffs. The game I was asked to cover was Saturday’s semi final game. Lansing United played against the Minnesota United Reserves.


 

I really didn’t know what to expect when I got there but I thought I would wing it. I had looked up the address before leaving. The home games are all held at the East Lansing Soccer Complex. I didn’t even know this place existed.  I had a brief memory of this place from about 6 years ago as a dirt pile at the end of a new walking trail. It’s amazing how quickly things can grow in this area.

Walking up the walkway I already could feel the intense playfulness atmosphere. There were children running around passing a soccer ball between them. In fact almost every kid had a ball. There was a pizza truck parked to the side of the pavilion and stacks of pizzas were being carried into the pavilion. There were lots of people dressed in bright baby blue vests. These are the volunteers that answered questions, watched the gate and sold you tickets. It’s very professional looking.

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

Dave Ellis, the media director said that without the support of so many, this would not have come together as well as it had. He wants to thank everyone for all their support.

Inside the gate the stands were full. I found out later from the media director that the stands were full for every game. Not only were the stands full but a good chunk of grass had folks sitting on it. I would say there were close to 1000 people watching this game.I quickly made my way to the very verbose cheering section. I had been told to get a photo of them by Camron Gnass whose creative studio, Traction created the branding for the team. The sea of blue was easy to spot as well as the constant singing, chanting and yelling that came from this section. And if that didn’t draw me down there the smoke canisters and flying flag would have.

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

Sons of Ransom- The #1 Supporters of Lansing United. Their name comes from Ransom E. Olds.

I found a place nearby and watched as the game began. The last time I watched a soccer game was when my boys were on a team. It’s been a long time. I have never watched adults play soccer. I was instantly amazed by the stamina, agility and speed of these players. The maneuvering of the ball with their feet reminded me of ballet, until they pulled that leg back and gave that ball a full on kick. There is a fascinating balance between the precise positioning of the ball with the feet and then the aggressive full on assault to get that ball into the goal. It really is amazing to watch.aa-EOS 70D_0046AA-EOS 70D_0074 AA-EOS 70D_0087After getting some really great shots I left. I found out through social media they had won the semi final game and that meant they would play Sunday as well in the finals.AA-EOS 70D_0094I brought my family back for that one and we watched this inaugural Lansing team play at an East Lansing sports field and win the Midwest Region Championship.

I am so glad Lansing has another win.

Exploring Ralph W. Crego

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com

Ralph W. Crego Park

When I heard that a wilderness area that was closed for twenty-five years due to contamination had reopened, I must admit my expectations were quite low. The area now known as Ralph W. Crego Park was familiar to me as the polluted, swampy area east of Aurelius. It was also the location my uncle would sneak into to search out morels. Sometimes he would also go there because the city would dumb collected downed trees there and set it up as a first come first serve firewood buffet. In the last two years or so word started getting out that the area was no longer contaminated. A couple of years ago the dark, green county park sign appeared at the north-east corner solidifying the rumors of a new, usable area. After reading about this park again in the City Pulse, I thought I should go check it out. I loaded up the twins and headed into town. I remembered exactly where it was from my City Saunter walk of the street. When I had passed by, it was still a closed off area. This time, as I drove down the dead-end road I could see new details. There was a brilliant white sidewalk on the east side of the road as we drove in and a gorgeous lake. On the west side of the lake new decking and walk ways were built. There was a drinking fountain and a port a potty. Along the trail there were sporadically placed black benches, perfect for resting or enjoying the view.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com

The long view of the lake. The lake is extremely clear.

And what a view it was. Much like Hawk Island, it is often surprising that something so beautiful is really part of Lansing. But it is. Not only that but these beautified locations are becoming more and more the norm for Lansing. It makes me really excited for what’s in store for our area. While watching groups of bikers travel around the lake I fantasized about a connected biking trail that someday will easily connect East Lansing or even Haslett to this ever increasing trail system. The idea of accessible trails like this is something northern Michigan really excels at and I am excited to see them in Lansing. I have been on the Lansing River Trail and spoke to bikers who say they’ve traveled from long distances just to use our trails. They come to use OUR Trails! While I was at this park for an hour at least ten different groups came through. Some came by car, some on foot and quite a few by bike. The trail from the lake area meanders west through fields of Michigan wild flowers and eventually connects to the River Trail just east of Aurelius. It’s a nice place to travel to from almost any part of Lansing via the river trail. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. Until then here’s some of the photos I took while we explored.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

We found this little guy just hanging out

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

These boys came in off the trail and were very nice.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

Quite a few different groups stopped by the lake while I was there.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

Gorgeous Michigan wild flowers adorned all the fields.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

You can clearly see the fish in the water.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

Extended trail that connects to the Lansing River Trail

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

The familiar swampy Sycamore Creek area

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com

Ralph W. Crego Park

Celebrating Freedom

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The twins posing in the street in front of the Capitol Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade
© Ariniko Artistry

Last year we had family out for the fourth of July and we skipped heading into Lansing for any festivities. To be honest in 2012 when we attended both the parade and fireworks display some freaky things happened that made me not want to come back. Although the parade was fine in 2012 it was hot out making sitting through the parade almost painful. This year it was almost a tad, a smidge, an iota chilly. Luckily my husband led us to the perfect, sunny, photographic location.

Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade
© Ariniko Artistry

We sat directly in front of the closed off parking ramp on Allegan. Every photo I took was back dropped with the Capitol and a gorgeous Mid Michigan blue sky.

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Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

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Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade
© Ariniko Artistry

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Lansing Lugnut’s Car Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

 

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Zap Zone Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

In 2012, although there was a good enough attendance, the participants within the parade seemed thin. By that I mean each group had only a few people representing them. There was a huge difference this year where each specific group had a large crowd with them and almost every group interacted with the crowd by handing out candy or some such thing. We came home with flags, coupons, magnetic clips and even packets of orange Kool-Aid with directions to create Kool Aid playdough from Lansing Charter Academy and Windmere Park Charter Academy. The New Citizens Press Community Action Network Inc. and its Stop the Violence campaign which also partnered up with Mike Karl and The Homeless Angels had over 125 in their group. As they passed by it was hard not to join in with their encouragement to “Keep the peace, stop the violence”.  Within their midst was Yvonne LaFave and her Go Green Trikes carrying  the Quality Dairy (Pine St.) water donation to keep the group hydrated. They later donated the remaining water to Livity Inc which is a nonprofit fighting to rid the Capital city of poverty and hunger.  These types of activities are what really make Lansing amazing.

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Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July parade © Ariniko Artistry

In 2012 we came into Lansing late and our normal spot was full. We then decided to park in Old Town and walk to our normal location by the Lansing City Market. I’m not sure if it was the heat or something else but there was a strange feeling to this night. It seemed there were large groups of people who could at any moment cause trouble. Many of the members of the groups were visibly intoxicated.  At one point we thought we even heard a gunshot. Although we were walking quite fast we were unable to fully make it to our desired location. As the first fireworks began to light up the sky we found ourselves stuck under the Shiawassee St. Bridge.  The photography from this location was terrible. We then decided to go onto the bridge.  Again we found ourselves in the middle of two separate groups, sizing each other up. At one point the mayor and Capt. Daryl Green raced to where we were standing, dramatically looked around and then took off in a car. Once we got home to safety it came to our attention that someone had been shot very near to where we were at. The whole situation left me feeling unsure about ever returning to watch fireworks in Lansing.

Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July © Ariniko Artistry

Lansing, Michigan Fourth of July
© Ariniko Artistry

However after a year off I was willing to try again. Our original idea for this year’s Fourth of July was to attend the Lugnuts game. This would provide the safety needed to feel comfortable in the city, enjoy some baseball and be in the perfect spot for fireworks. Then again you can wait too long and not be able to get tickets. The next idea was to just find the perfect photographic location so I can get some good shots. With this in mind we headed to the top of Sparrow Hospital parking ramp. We had parked on the top-level a few months ago and found that the view was phenomenal.  We honestly didn’t even know if we could park there but as we drove in we found ourselves in a small parade heading into the ramp. We parked lower down for a fast get away and began our hike up 5 levels of stairs. At the top we found a very large group of people waiting for the light show. There were numerous security folks keeping the peace and all in all a family friendly environment. And as I had thought, the view was spectacular. We enjoyed watching the panoramic view of the horizon as consumer level explosions shot into the sky. It was great for people/car watching as well. We quickly settled in at a space by the wall so I could take photos and the kids took out the chairs and the bucket of popcorn I’d made just before leaving. Just after 10:00 p.m. the first city display shot off. This was the perfect spot!

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The View from Sparrow Hospital © Ariniko Artistry

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The city of Lansing fireworks © Ariniko Artistry

The show was great. Then we waited patiently for the Lugnuts game to finish, their lights shut off and their fireworks to begin. And we waited. And we waited. I started texting people I knew were at the game and found that at the bottom of the 14th there was still no score.

The cars leaving after the city fireworks  © Ariniko Artistry

The cars leaving after the city fireworks
© Ariniko Artistry

From our eagle eye location we could see the traffic and decided we would wait the game out. Forty minutes later the news came in via Facebook that the Lugnuts had won. The lights went out over the stadium and we sat through a second fireworks display. It was a gorgeous night and even though those fireworks were farther away there was something really memorable about seeing the moon resting to the south of the Lansing downtown skyline and the baseball game fireworks filling the sky to the north.

 © Ariniko Artistry

© Ariniko Artistry

By the end of those fireworks the traffic was flowing smoothly and we had no trouble getting home. As we pulled into our driveway we were greeted by nature’s own fireworks; millions of fireflies flitting and glowing all over the tree line. This was really the perfect ending to a perfect day of celebrating our independence.

 

12 Locations in Lansing, Michigan that are spectacular and all ours!

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  • Cooley Garden & Scott Sunken Garden- I’ve written about Cooley Garden here during my City Saunter project. This gorgeous park sits right in downtown Lansing yet you would never think it was. With the majestic tree line that blocks out the skyline, traffic and city bustle it’s easy to believe this park is located in a less urban area.

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  • Shigematsu Memorial Garden-This gorgeously landscaped koi pond with other Japanese themed objects surrounding it, is located on the North West section of LCC Campus. Inside the blocked off garden you find a private walking path, koi pond and waterfall. Its isolation from Capital Ave. and the rest of LCC makes this the perfect place to reflect, meditate and relax.

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  • The Grand River-This beautiful asset to the Lansing area provides the perfect sights, travel, pathway and nature setting. Its greatness throughout Lansing, from west to east and then to the north provides stunning visual sights and boating adventures all year round.

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  • Turner-Dodge Mansion-Lansing has a rich history and beautiful buildings truly show the majesty of our past. The preservation of our oldest buildings shows Lansing’s dedication to history and beauty.

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  • Hawk Island-Twenty years ago this was a gravel pit that kids snuck into. Now it’s a flourishing, expanding family adventure! It now hosts not only picnicking, parks, boating, fishing, cycling, and walking trails but also a winter snowboarding & tubing hill and members only dog park. It also has a fantastic water play area for the kids in the Lansing hot summers.

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  • Francis Park-This is another of those tucked away beautiful gardens. The grounds are well kept and produce some of the area’s most gorgeous roses. Its location above the river provides excellent views with a very relaxed environment. It’s a must see in the spring through summer months.

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  • Theo Fulton Park-I found this park on my City Saunter walks and had never heard of it at all. It’s one of the most isolated parks in a neighborhood few Lansing people travel. Yet, if you travel the Grand River from Dimondale you’ve probably passed it.

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  • Crego Park-This recently reopened swampy area was once contaminated and blocked off to the public and might be why it reveals a rugged, undamaged wild feel about it. It is located directly north of Fenner Nature Center and south of the River Trail.

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  • Michigan Hall of Justice Building -This building is immaculate. If there was ever a building that represented the wealth of the city at the time it was built, it’s this building.

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  • Sycamore Golf Course- This is an amazing patch of river trail that runs south of Mt. Hope, through what use to be a full golf course, then meets up inside Scott’s Woods and eventually takes you to Hawk Island. It is probably one of the best new add ons to the river trail Lansing’s put in. It is used by walkers, bikers, nature lovers, runners, and dog walkers. It takes on the feel of a wilderness preservation and is delightful.

 

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  • Roger-Carrier House- This is another beautiful house in the Lansing area. The architecture and attention to detail makes it really stand out on Capital Ave.

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  • View from Boji Tower - If there is ever the chance to climb above Lansing, do it! Seeing the Lansing area from the Boji Tower, Capitol or even the roof top of one of the buildings in downtown Lansing expands the beauty of this little city.  The sites from the top of the Lansing Capitol will be a moment I cherish for the rest of my life.

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When it all Comes Together

cropped-newlogo22.jpgSometimes I am overwhelmed by the events that led me to where I am now. When I began City Saunter I had no idea that it would end with me having photos in a gallery and that I would also be managing that same art gallery in REO Town. As much as I have enjoyed keeping this blog for my journeys while walking all the streets, I am finding it hard to fit any of my new activities into this blog without changing the dynamics of the posts. Given that, I have created a new blog which is more inclusive of the many facets of my life right now. I would love to have all of you who have followed along on this journey join me on this new blog. It is called Niko’s Notions which is a name my friends and family have called me for years. I also have a photography based blog that is part of my photography website. Until I can get a “submit” button added please check back regularly.

Thank you all again for your support, love, friendship and involvement in this project. It really had made all the difference.

Sincerely,

Ariniko

Winter Walk

aaIMG_9959Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I did something silly today. I weighed myself. It was such a foolish stunt to try so soon after Christmas and two weeks of being pretty much snowed/iced in. I guess the silver lining is it’s not as high as it usually is this time of year. I’m really thankful for those 200 miles of walking I did last September to finish my City Saunter project right about now! I have realized that since I completed my walking project I’ve really missed the walking I was doing. I’m not sure why I didn’t keep it up. Today’s weigh in plus a new lens waiting for me at the East Lansing post office was the perfect incentive for a nice winter walk. I decided to walk the Lansing River Trail starting at the trail head south of Kalamazoo St. It’s one of my favorite locations and not too far from my house.aaIMG_0023Snow covered Bridge on Lansing River Trail ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I was very happy to find that the parking area was plowed and there were three other cars there. I am often amazed by Lansing’s exercising community. After dressing for the adventure, placing my lens in my pockets (I like winter because of the extra pockets!) and ducking into the strap of my camera, I pulled up my mapmyrun app on my phone (boy this is feeling a lot like a City Saunter) and started down the path.  Unfortunately the cleared path was short lived and soon I was trekking through a foot of snow. It must have been a Lansing Township lapse because the trail cleared off again and remained that way for the rest of my walk. Today was still quite chilly. The expected high is 17 but I think the wind chill is still pretty close to zero. I would have been just fine except I had forgotten to put on long john’s and I kept taking my gloves off to take photos. Even so, I was able to walk 3 miles in the woods on the river trail.aaIMG_9892 Frozen Branches on Red Cedar River  ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9906Frozen Branches on Red Cedar River ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I have always loved the serenity of a winter walk. I love to cross country ski and would head out to Lake Lansing North and ski the trails. There are not nearly as many people out this time of year and many times you are the only one. On this walk I only past two others, both runners. For much of this walk I was alone. On the way back I actually became numb and the cold no longer bothered me. I found myself wading into the deeper snow for better photos and even stopping and listening to the sounds. Even though there weren’t any people out there I found quite a few animals out and about. At one point I was hearing this loud rustling sound and couldn’t figure it out. Finally I looked up and there were squirrels in the tree tops scurrying about.aaIMG_0002Squirrel in trees on Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I also found woodpeckers and ducks.aaIMG_9978  Woodpecker in tree on Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9942Ducks in the Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9925Duck in the Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

A friend of mine who recently moved to Ludington posted on Facebook the quote: “No such thing as bad weather…. just bad gear.” I think I would have to agree with him. We live in a gorgeous land, where we have different environments all the time. I think it’s a shame not to enjoy them.aaIMG_9939Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

Year In Review

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So many things came to fruition this year. It seems like each month, as I looked back over my photographic diary, had something extraordinary happen. It all began in January…

bullet  January: It was during an uneventful night of television that the idea to have City Saunter photographs in a gallery sprung forth. My husband and I were watching a silly show called Whitney. The main character is a photographer and often feeling insecure (bingo), not worthy (hello?) and inadequate (nail on the head). In this episode she was lamenting her lack of paid jobs and was deciding to throw in the towel and just work at a gallery instead of doing the hard work of making her art. Her husband, in exasperating response, says; “your art should be hanging in a gallery!” She goes on to do the, “what, me?”, “who you kidding” that most artists put out there while all the time inside saying, “Hell yea!” Pat paused the show and turned to me and said, I want to record this and play it to you every day. The bug was placed. I honestly had never thought to put the photographs I’d captured throughout this project into hanging pieces of art. I had thought of a book but never a gallery exhibit. Well, I made some phone calls and was connected to Art Alley in REO Town. I would need to raise some money but was put on the October schedule to exhibit for that month! This gave me 6 months to finish up almost the entire south side of Lansing. No sweat! (yeah, right!)

bullet February: Of course, with six full months to finish, I was in no real hurry to walk. I did what I could, but since it was a very cold, icy winter I didn’t get nearly as many walks in as I would have liked.

bullet March: I DIDN’T EVEN WALK!! (I will sorely regret this in September!!!) Instead we decided to take a much needed vacation to Florida. My grandparents live there and we hadn’t been there in 6 years.csIMG_5016

bullet April: After returning from Florida I quickly returned to Lansing activities including The Lansing Marathon, photo (1)which I had landed myself on the planning committee just before leaving for Florida and the third Capital City Film Festival which I was the photographic coordinator for. IMG_6319It had finally warmed up outside and I took my longest walk to date. Maybe I was inspired by all the marathon talk!

bullet May: Still inspired by the marathon, I continued to walk closer to 6 miles each walk, than the 3 I normally do. I am getting pretty good at walking almost a 7 mile 2 hour course. In May I also had some great photographic opportunities. The first was the Sparrow Foundation’s yearly telethoncsIMG_9381_1 and the second was a private shoot with the new Lansing City Attorney, Janene McIntyre, whom I went to high school with.IMG_8128_2o

bullet June: Within the first week of June I realized I will now need to take my kids with me on my walks since school is out. This always slows me down. I am now really regretting not walking more when they were still in school! I was also asked to photograph the DirtyFeat Adventure Race for the second year.IMG_0494ap

bullet July: I was able to do some great walks that incorporated some great events going on in Lansing. The first was the Color Run; “The Happiest 5k on the Planet”aaIMG_1384and the Architect of Air which was a giant blow up building. aaIMG_1482Both inspired me to keep on keeping on!

bullet August: This year I had three huge activities that I was the lead coordinator of. The first was my high school’s (Lansing Eastern class of ’88, baby) 25th reunion. This was scheduled for August 11 and pretty much went off without a hitch. However, I spent an incredible amount of time and energy into making that a true statement. _MG_6344avI also volunteered my photographic abilities to two incredible events. The first was Lansing’s BlessFest aaimg_2572nand the second was New World Flood’s Backpack giveaway. csIMG_2477I am so fortunate to know some unbelievably generous people.

bullet September: Back in August I scheduled a walk with a person I had never met before but who was a fan of my blog. The roll was quickly reversed when Zig Olds invited me to join him and 10 others for a private tour of the state Capitol. This day will forever be one of my most favorite and treasured days of my life!aaimg_4864agaaimg_4926at Thank you again Zig for including me on this amazing adventure!

This month I also coordinated my 3rd Peace of Lansing event.aaIMG_5129aaIMG_5243 Despite the better weather, I had not put as much of my heart into it (I think I was really busy, haha) as I would have liked. I am really hoping to change that for 2014! My final activity was being invited to shoot at the MSU Marching Bands Concert for Kids. This was a private event held at Tim Staudt’s house and included band directors, coaches, Sparty and many other key MSU personnel. I felt very thankful to be included. aaimg_4044amFinally, this month alone I was able to walk over 200 miles for this project. I am still amazed that I was able to walk this many miles. I was walking about 4 hours a day, almost every day and averaging about 10 miles each day.

bullet October: My exhibit was scheduled for October 4. It was a Friday and my plan from day one (after getting the gallery invite) was to have all of my streets walked except Baker. On this day I planned to meet up with a very large and excited crowd, including the mayor, city council members, media groups, blog followers, family, and if I was lucky, a marching band (I think big) at the corner of Baker and Cedar St. Then together we would walk this last stretch in a fanfare of excitement to Washington Ave. and then walk the last block to my gallery opening event where I had set up light snacks, drinks and my giant map. Although; after walking 29 miles the day before to complete the entire south side, I had completed all the walking, and the Lansing City Pulse ran a gorgeous article about my ending of the three year project, the crowd never arrived.  I sat at the corner with one blog follower and my brother in-law and our 4 kids. And yet I was gloriously happy. csIMG_6602At 4:30 we began the last walk. We blew bubbles. We talked. We laughed. I pointed out the guy on a bike with a wagon full of hay bales. We got to the corner and turned onto Washington Ave. and kept walking. Pat drove up with another walker and she quickly fell into pace with us. She mentioned that I had finished at the corner. Oh yeah, I had. I HAD. We had. I did it. I walked the last street and didn’t even realize it! We all cheered and continued past the massive BWL building. There was no rush now and we let the kids play at the fountain. I could see Pat walking towards us from the gallery. No one else was there, just Pat. I found I didn’t care. I had Pat and my kids and family. My three year project had finished without a whole bunch of fanfare but I was super happy. I don’t know why there wasn’t more attention from the community. Maybe it was the timing? Maybe it was all schedule conflicts? Maybe not enough effort from me to let people know what I had planned? Really, I don’t know. I tried not to think about it, but instead think about what we had going on right there, with those that were there. We all entered the gallery. I announced that I needed to mark off my last street. We videotaped it. And it was good! We cheered, we ate and we talked. The photos were on the walls thanks to Pat and Laurel Winkel who came down that morning to help (she also bought a sign in book, flowers and bubbles). Everything was good! Then people started coming; lots of people. I’m glad they signed in because I really couldn’t recall much after that.csIMG_6625 I sold three photos that night and an additional 3 more after. For the next three weeks I worked out of the gallery space at 1133 South Washington Ave. and I loved it!!!csIMG_9145So much so, that…

bullet November: I was asked to continue on at 1133 South Washington Ave by the landlord. So here are a few details I skimmed over:

Back in September I was talking to a friend of mine whose business resides at 1133 South Washington. He calmly informed me that Art Alley (the group I was booked with for October for my exhibit) was at that moment packing up and moving out. Well, what the heck!! I had 24 hours of complete panic as I had spent most of my summer raising donations to pay for that exhibit space. This also is testament to the amazingness of Lansing and its people, because I had at least 5 people trying to locate new space for me within 5 minutes of learning that Art Alley had closed up shop. Amazing!! I also decided to talk directly to the landlord of the building to see if I could rent directly. Within a day I was given the go ahead by the landlord to rent the gallery space, formally known as “Art Alley”. I was back in business! For the three weeks I rented the gallery space I would come down, set up my computer, put out my open sign and sit there. I would talk to the other business owners, talk to people walking by, invite people in and talk about the project and mostly enjoy being in REO Town. Early on I had the idea that I could continue what Art Alley had done. I had a few meetings with people involved with Art Alley, got some pointers and finally decided to pitch it to the landlord. I also applied for a job in East Lansing. Sometimes I don’t know why I do the things I do. So for two weeks I sat in a panic not know what to do, which I wanted to do, how much I could do. And blah, blah, blah. In the short explanation, I didn’t get the job, the landlord thought my idea of a photography share + managing events + using the space for Ariniko Artistry + managing gallery exhibits was worth a try. So did I.csIMG_9076

bullet December: I spent most of November getting set up to market the gallery space. I decided that it needed a new name and settled on AA (Art Alley or Ariniko Artistry) Creative Corridor. aacreative_cooridorI call it double A Creative Corridor, or Creative Corridor, or AACC or just “the gallery”. I manage this space. I am doing it on a commission type basis. The space has housed salsa dancers, holiday parties, birthday parties, a baby shower and a handful of photographers having sessions with their clients. I still hope to bring in more photographers to join the share (“creative share”?) and join the membership. I would like to eventually have classes that help us with our art. Managing the events there has been interesting and I think I’m getting use to that part of it. There are things that still need to be worked out and created (like a website) but I think this has been an incredible journey. I know looking back to that first sauntering day that I set out with Ellie there would have been no way for me to predict where this yellow brick road would have ended, especially not managing a yellow bricked wall gallery space in the heart of REO Town.

May you all have an amazing New Year.

Sincerely,

Ariniko

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

City Sauntered Top Ten Unusual or Unexpected Finds (Part 1 of a 3 Part Series)

I believe in every interview I had while doing this project I was asked what was my most unusual or most unexpected find. Now that the project is complete I can actually put these lists together. This will be the first and I will have two other “top ten” later on. These are just randomly listed so there isn’t any meaning to the order.  

1. Theo Fulton Park:csIMG_3595 I remember when I did this walk and was about to give up on this neighborhood having anything really interesting. Then I found this park. Recently, I was having a conversation with Kathie Dunbar and she talked about this park and asked if I knew about it. She led off with the thinking that I didn’t know about it. But as she described it I knew exactly what she meant and was able to even show photos of my experience there.

Gorgeous stairs that lead right to the water’s edgecsIMG_3578To the westcsIMG_3567To the EastcsIMG_3564

2. People living under overpasses or in the woods:csIMG_2863In 1998 I worked for the Mid Michigan Red Cross as an after-hours worker. My duty was to place people who were homeless, just getting out of jail or visitors without an overnight stay in a shelter. If there wasn’t one available I was able to offer a hotel room. From what I remember there was a new law that made it illegal to sleep on the streets. I would have police officers drop homeless people off at the office because they wanted to offer these folks the chance to find a place to stay instead of jail. I have always known there were people who chose the streets over shelters. I had women with small children that refused to go to a shelter because of fear their child would be sexually assaulted, especially if that child was a boy. However, as I walked through the city it was still surprising to find mattresses, blankets and tents.csIMG_3821

3. The plethora of Urban Gardens on the Eastside of Lansing:csIMG_7331This was a pleasant surprise. I loved finding all the urban gardens throughout the city. Another area that really had some great gardens was Barnes St.csIMG_7313csIMG_7330csIMG_7292

4. A military presence on Logan (MLK), Grand River, Filley and Sheridan Rd. area.:

csIMG_0974I grew up in this area but I don’t ever recall so many military personnel in this location. It was a bit Close Encounters of the Third Kindish. I am also thinking it had something to do with Emergent being in this area. I could be wrong though. I didn’t ask a lot of questions.

5. How little access and usage there really is on the Grand & Red Cedar Rivers:

csIMG_0961This isn’t a new idea to use our rivers as an attraction. I am still uncertain why so many buildings have their backside facing the rivers, why we don’t have easier access points or that we no longer offer any boat rentals in the area. I remember Potter Park renting canoes. I also remember a River Festival that had a boat parade down the Grand River in downtown Lansing.csIMG_9120aaIMG_2048aaaIMG_2060f

6. How many “rural” areas there are within the city limits:

csIMG_0668In every direction of the city there was some sort of rural area. From corn fields, to wooded plots, to unpaved roads to vast open fields, Lansing has some really non urban spots. The north side would have very small, bungalow type houses sitting on an acre of property. There’s a strip of houses on the west side that have sprawling, riverfront property. It was also surprising how many farm houses were still present.

Church Hill Downs areacsIMG_3366

Jones Lake AreacsIMG_5827

Off Northrup on the south sidecsIMG_6584

7. The walkway from Judicial Building to the Capitol:

It stretches from Martin Luther King Blvd. to Capitol St. and is pedestrian only. aaimg_4918v

8. Scott Sunken Garden (and everything in this area)IMG_0205This hidden gem of an area still amazes me. If you figure out how to park at Cooley Garden you can check out the Sunken Garden, the Women’s Historical Society, and the R.E. Olds plaques. It’s worth the walk.csIMG_0175csIMG_0208csIMG_4650

9. How really difficult some places were to walk:IMG_7285csIMG_5107Aurelius Rd was one of the worse streets for walking. From the lack of sidewalks south of Mt. Hope to the I-96 over pass with knee-high ledges preventing a fall, I think this area truly needs some updating. I am so thankful that Mid-MEAC and AARP grouped up for the walkability audit. It’s really worth the effort with 17% of Lansing residents not owning a car.csIMG_7542
10. Village Summit: csIMG_3063 csIMG_3251The little micro community center set in the middle of a beleaguered neighborhood. I first found myself here with Lunch with a Purpose. We spent an hour cleaning and organizing games, toys, clothes and books; all donations to help those that needed them. This house, bought with retirement money from two local teachers who didn’t want to see the house fall into the wrong hands, became the epicenter of hope in this area off Washington and Barnes. They provide lunches for the kids during the summer. They offer computer access for parents searching for jobs. They built multiple urban gardens to help feed the neighbors. They built a community where there was truly a need for one. csIMG_7454

Still Telling My Story

csIMG_6544I like this. I really, really like this. I am sitting at 1133 South Washington Ave.; the newly energized AA Creative Corridor (that’s another blog), with my photographs from a three year journey on the walls. I have friends, family and even strangers that stop and read through each of my placards for the photos on display. I get feedback and questions. I have really great conversations with the people who pass through. What I really like is the relaxation of this new part. Before, when I talked about City Saunter the question always came up; “how much more do you have to walk?” This suspension of completion always irritated me. I know it makes perfect sense to ask, but I felt like because the project was unfinished it was dismissible. I would feel exhausted thinking about how much work I still had to do. Now that all the walking is complete, I get to analyze it. I get to theorize it. I get to share it. I really enjoy that part. I’ve found through this analysis part that there are many aspects to this project and it’s often hard to settle on just one as the most significant.

IMG_1541_1There’s the photography. I loved that I was able to use my journey to solidify my love of photography. I also love that it is through the photographs that I get to share Lansing. For the few moments you take to look at the photographs, you LIKE Lansing, you really like Lansing. It’s gorgeous and fun and exciting from the perspective of this exhibit. I enjoy bringing that to people.csIMG_5114Then there’s the process; the how I worked my way through all the streets of Lansing. I didn’t systematically walk the streets. I used events, and volunteering and familiarity to branch out across the city. This allowed me the chance to get into a lot of different aspects of the city as a venue. I remember a few years ago Lori Lanspeary the Leisure Marketing Manager for Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau invited me to Lugnut’s stadium for her birthday because “I was helping her do her job and she wanted to thank me”. I hadn’t even met her! It was these type of piggy backing that allowed me the greatest opportunity with this project; meeting amazing people that were also trying to make Lansing amazing. We all #lovelansing.IMG_9364_crop

aaIMG_4871gThen there was the actual walking part. A woman just came in today and after checking out the exhibit looked at me and said, “You look amazing.  I mean you did all that walking”. She then took me to the photo that LSJ took of me in February 2011. My face is much rounder in that photo than what it is today. I think she was a bit embarrassed but I understood what she meant. I was walking a lot; 535 miles to be exact! From September 4 to October 4 I walked 197 miles. On October 3rd alone I walked 29 miles and biked about 5 more. It was 10 hours of exercising! There is no way I could have ever done that before. Twenty Nine Miles!! I have it colored in orange on the map at the gallery; I’ll show it to you!IMG_9104I’m sure there are other aspects to this project that I haven’t even gotten yet. There has definitely been this “opening of doors” effect that still astounds me, especially as I sit here in gorgeous REO Town, in an historic building, diligently working on the next aspect of this journey.gallery_novCome down to 1133 Washington Ave this week to catch an encore presentation of the City Saunter Exhibit. I’ll be here from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. every day this week. There’s no need to knock, the doors will surely be open!