O REO! My REO

01_IMG_1964

In the early spring of 2013, as I worked my last 9 months of a three year project to walk every street in Lansing, I had no idea what my next step would be. I had thought maybe the city would hire me for my accumulated data collected while walking all 537 miles of the city. I thought maybe I could concentrate on my photography business, Ariniko Artistry. I had prayed many times for a studio to begin portrait work. In April of 2013 I booked my soon to be created City Saunter Exhibit at Art Alley in REO Town. I spent the rest of the spring and summer finishing the walking, creating prints and buying frames. My fundraising endeavors had helped make this dream a possibility. I was incredibly excited to have my art from this three year project framed and hanging in a real gallery. Then in September 2013 the gallery group that promised to hang my art moved out. I wasn’t given a warning, they actually never contacted me. I was told by a friend who was in the same building. After the shock, I went into action and per advice from many friends; I called and arranged to rent the same space that had once been Art Alley directly from the landlord.

02_01IMG_6918

02_1IMG_6544

I paid for 3 weeks and signed a lease with the management group. Running the exhibit there for 3 weeks was amazing. My husband and I packed up our computers from our home offices and drove to our new REO Town office on weekdays. I immediately felt at home in the space. I loved watching all the walkers go by my window on their way to local eateries or school. I loved the artistic sense in the area and the growing hunger to bring more to the location. While in my space I met the other renters who all had small businesses. I met Kathaleen Parker who owns Soulful Earth Herbals who had the other window space next to me.

02_2IMG_4872

I met Paul Starr who ran I’m a Beer Hound in one of the smaller offices.  In the next office was Paul Schmidt, owner of UnoDeuce Multimedia, who I knew from Market Lansing events. Good Fruit Video owners, Justin Caine and Kraig Westfall rounded out the tenants on the lower level of 1133 & 1131 S. Washington Ave. All of these people became fast, close friends. We spoke about small business, REO Town, networking, art and family regularly. We encouraged each other and supported each other. We even worked for and with each other.

03_aacreative_cooridor

When my lease time came to an end I had a decision to make. I had floated the idea by the landlord of staying on full time to attempt to recreate what Art Alley had been doing. He was excited about that idea and asked me to consider it. Both of us were already fielding questions about folks desiring to use the space for events and dancing. He asked me to manage the space and I decided to do just that. I had really wanted a photography studio for myself and to share with photographers and this would be perfect for that. When events weren’t booked, photographers could come in hourly to rent the space for their business. I created a new name, AA Creative Corridor (with the AA representing Art Alley as well as Ariniko Artistry and Creative Corridor was a synonym for Art Alley), a website, and a Facebook page and began marketing this space as a creative rental space in the heart of REO Town. For 3 years I booked, hosted, and cleaned up after countless birthday parties, holiday parties, anniversaries, weddings, business meetings, artistic exhibits, pop up markets, open houses, concerts, dancing and theatrical productions. I drove in from Haslett to let other photographers use the space, as well as comedian groups, yoga instructors, actors and musicians. I also was able to use the space as my studio for inside photography shoots.

IMG_5949

 

04_6315

05_IMG_1935

06_IMG_3571

I had great pride and joy knowing REO Town was becoming a destination location for many of the events I was booking. I had folks coming in from all over Michigan and for some events all over the country. I had a virtual architecture college exhibit with me with students meeting for the first time from Texas, California, Canada and Michigan. Many who came to AA Creative Corridor had never been to Lansing before.  I would ask those who rented from me what brought them to AA Creative Corridor and was told over and over that it was right in the middle between Detroit and Grand Rapids; the perfect midpoint for families spread out across Michigan.

07_IMG_9287

For almost four years I booked events, scheduled photographers and hung art for exhibits.

08_IMG_1943

IMG_8525

09_IMG_9076

I spent the majority of my weekends in REO Town either working my events or volunteering at a REO Town event like Art Attack or Thrift Store Gala. I was voted onto the REO Town Commercial Association board in April 2015. In 2016 I was voted in as Vice President of the board. I took my role on the board very seriously and attended all meetings, volunteering when I could and joining the Business Development and Promotional subcommittees.  I met business owners in the business district. I attended grand openings of new businesses. I virtually supported as many businesses as I could. I honestly delighted in being part of this wonderful community.

10_IMG_8896

11_IMG_8522

12_IMG_5104

The passion Local REO Town people have for what they do surpasses anything I’ve seen before. I watched a strong core group build this community up every day. They built stages, giant signs, and picnic tables.

13_IMG_2285

14_IMG_2350

15_IMG_2307

They established yearly events that keep growing year after year.

16_IMG_3801

I watched every commercial spot fill in with another energized small business. And if one left another would take its place quickly. I watched hand-crafted signage go into place door after door. I watched Vintage Café close down only to be replaced soon after by the incredibly successful Saddleback Barbecue.

17_IMG_3822

18_IMG_4914

I watched Vintage Junkies, The Nook and Thriftique move in along side St. Vincent De Paul and catapult REO Town into a second hand, vintage hot spot.

19_IMG_4880

20_IMG_4903

I watched Riverview Church move in, repairing an incredible worn out building and parking lot to a level of sophistication and grace perfect for REO Town. I watched the graffiti wall change face more times than I could count, providing the perfect backdrop for a portrait photographer.

21_IMG_6875

I participated in the Arts and Craft Beer Festival for 4 years as both a venue and an artist. I watched Art Attack get bigger and better every year. This year we’re shutting the street down for the biggest one yet.

22_IMG_3785

23_IMG_2332

I watched Dylan and Jeana-Dee buy, rebuild and open The Robin Theatre to great success. Together our two venues have participated in multiple pop-up markets drawing even larger crowds to the area.

24_IMG_4909

I watched Michigan Creative and Blue Owl move in, changing the dynamic of our quaint street.

25_IMG_4915

26_IMG_4898

I watched board members create a business entity to buy even more buildings. Their latest will host a pottery business, a music venue and a distillery. Each week there’s a new activity. Each week there’s something exciting. Each week I fall more in love with this part of the city, which makes what I have to do very, very difficult.

27_IMG_1949         I am not good with change. Once I get a situation, a relationship or a lifestyle in place I stay quite loyal to it. The idea of making any change is frightening to me. So I do the simple thing, and stay, despite the arrangement being detrimental to my emotional and physical health. It became apparent to me at the beginning of this year, soon after being diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in my right calf, that I had worn myself out. I had put off working on any AA Creative Corridor since mid December so I could enjoy the holidays and my birthday. Before I was able to get caught up I was admitted to the hospital. I was then placed on multiple blood thinning medications. For a week I was queasy from the medicine and the shock of going to the hospital and having quite a few aspects of my personal life affected. By the time I was able to concentrate on booking events I’d gotten quite a bit behind. I worked really hard to get caught back up but the drain of the health situation, getting a new puppy and watching my 4 year old grandson had really started to wear on me. I kept pushing forward, hoping I’d get my footing again.  I was booking multiple events from Thursday through Sunday almost solid through July. Sometimes the schedule had me on my feet for over 16 hours a day. I had hoped to bring someone on to help with the schedule. Unfortunately that was put on hold when an increase in the budget made that more complicated. As the year continued my emotional state had also changed. I found I was upset when someone called. I was agitated with each drive through Frandor. I was annoyed by things that never seemed to bother me before. I was burned out; really, really burned out. So I prayed. Through prayer it became evident that it was time for me to let this dream go. As heartbreaking as that has been for me to accept, I know it’s the right decision. I’ve been fighting with this for 3 months and it wasn’t even up until yesterday that I fully decided. I have come up with variation after variation to make it work or make it not work. Over the weekend a friend simply stated that I should make a pros and cons list. I had been doing this list in my head but hadn’t taken the time to write it out. So I did. Sure enough, my reasons to leave out weighed my reasons to stay. I was really saddened of the thought that I may lose my REO Town Board position. I was also concerned about the financial situation as we will not only lose the venue income but also my photography will take a hit from no longer having a studio to shoot in.

28_IMG_1661_1

I’m hoping something else comes along or that I can find places to shoot in. On the other hand I am excited that I’ll finally have time to work on my City Saunter book which has been on hold since I finished the project in 2013. I am also excited about concentrating more time on Ariniko Artistry, which took a back seat to the gallery. I can’t wait to be home to spend weekends with my twins and my husband as well.

29_IMG_1026

I will always treasure the almost 4 years I spent in REO Town. I met some of the most amazing people there, including business owners, patrons, photographers, artists and residents. My twins spent almost half their life with me managing this space. What an incredible adventure this district gave me and my family. With that, at the end of July I will gracefully depart from the REO Town district as the manager of AA Creative Corridor. The 1133 S. Washington Ave. space will then be exclusively used by Salsa Capital (2nd and 4th Friday) and the Speakeasy Stomp blues/swing dancers (formally known as Sugar House Blues and Sugar House Swing) that host dancing every 1st & 3rd Friday and Saturdays of the month.

30_IMG_3798

To all the people I met while being a part of REO Town I honestly, from the bottom of my heart, want to thank you. Thank you for letting me in. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for including me. Thank you for befriending me. Thank you for all that you did to help me create this wonderful venue space. I will miss this space and all of you more than anyone could ever put into words.  Oh, REO Town! My REO Town, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sincerely,

Ariniko

31_4393

The No Longer Secret Garden

blog_IMG_1368

View on 496 overpass facing south.

Yesterday I drove into REO Town like I have thousands of times since becoming part of this bustling, edgy neighborhood and a new expanse met my eyes. For years I’ve exited the 496 highway onto the downtown exit and turned left onto Washington Ave. to find a view of aged pine trees lining the hilltop of a hidden garden area. Few knew about this treasure. In fact I accidentally found it and made it a point to explore it for a City Saunter Walk back in 2012. You can find that blog here. As I turned this day the sky glared brightly before me, no longer blocked by the shapely trees with all three towering coal stacks protruded rudely out of the barren hilltop. At this starkness I cried. I knew it was coming but had no idea the profound reaction I would have.

blog_IMG_1415

View from bridge over the river on Washington Ave.

About a year ago I was told about the new BWL plans. I wasn’t happy to hear this news. As it turned out BWL, in the process of decommissioning the Eckert plant, would need to establish a new energy hub; a substation. There was a very specific need for this new substation. It would need to be along an existing power line and it had to be a certain distance away from the original source. There weren’t many properties that fit these requirements. Unfortunately the location they’d decided was the Scott Sunken Garden and adjoining house. For the next year the Lansing community would debate the need for such a move. As I’ve found out over and over in life, if an entity has more power, more authority and more money than any opposing entity, it will most likely get its way. Despite strong opposition from the community, BWL went ahead with their plans.

blog_IMG_1313

View from bridge on Washington Ave facing west. 

The plans for this new construction hit me from two specific perspectives. As the City Saunterer I was greatly disappointed. This area had a unique beauty to it and a historic significance. However, I’ve been through the area multiple times and visually could see the neglect. I’ve seen tossed away clothing, food and trash scattered throughout the area. The brush has grown up around most of the outlying areas making it unwalkable. The garden itself was a beautiful gem, yet underutilized and underappreciated.

blog_IMG_1401

The riverbank view with the trees down. The stone walkways are now visible. 

I also had the perspective of an active member in REO Town. As the Vice President of the REO Town Commercial Association I participated in multiple meetings where BWL presented their plan. They offered funds that were sorely needed. They offered art grants in excess of past offerings. They designed access where there was none. They promised to create a more friendly community garden area. They even offered to pay to have the historic house moved. For each loss they offered an olive branch. For almost a year I hoped something else would come along. I hoped a new decision would be made. I hoped a new plan would develop. Unfortunately nothing new emerged as an option. It had become apparent that this was going to happen and I was trying to find the silver lining in the situation.

blog_IMG_1357

The entrance to Cooley Garden is currently blocked. The proposed plan will resurface the parking lot which was full of pot holes and relocate the Scott Sunken Gardens to the lower level of the lot, making it closer to the Cooley Garden area. These two gardens will be connected with a lit pathway. 

A couple months into the New Year signs that this was really happening started to appear: fencing around the property, traffic cones, and tree trimming. They quickly moved into demolishing the historic house that sat on the property. The offer to move it was turned down by multiple groups as the repairs to the house made it unaffordable. Then within this last week or so all the trees were cut down. I’m not sure why that was the part that brought me to tears, but it was. It changed the entire landscape. The hidden garden was no longer hidden. Trees that once protected this treasured grove now lay piled in a heap of shredded pulp. A secluded grassy knoll now lay barren and muddy with only the ancient limestone structure remaining, void of most its greenery.

blog_IMG_1322

The limestone foundation of the Scott Sunken Garden. 

blog_IMG_1330

A large pile of mulch. 

blog_IMG_1339

The stumps from removed trees. 

blog_IMG_1342

The loss of trees drastically changed the landscape. 

Soon the new construction will begin and it will become normal to see a stone wall facing north as I turn onto Washington Ave. off the 496 highway. At some point it will probably feel like it’s always been there. I’m curious to see what that will look like. I’ve seen the renderings and it will be impressive. I’m excited to see the art on display. I’m hopeful about the proposed amphitheater area. I really like the idea of river access off Washington Ave. and the lit pathway leading to the Cooley Garden area and the newly established Sunken Garden BWL has promised to recreate. I feel at some point this REO Town addition will feel normal. But for many there will always be hidden deep inside that stone structure and updated art, the specter of a lost treasure; a beautiful sunken garden surrounded by towering, protective pines.

blog_IMG_1316

View through the fence on Washington Ave. 

blog_IMG_1362

One of many stumps left by removing the trees. 

blog_IMG_1378

Looking north from Washington Ave, shot over the fencing. 

blog_IMG_1390

The east wall of the Scott Sunken Garden. These stones will be reused to replicate the garden in the new location. 

**This blog post is written as my personal perspective and in no way represents the opinions of the REO Town Commercial Association or its members.

Aside

TheBook

A few days ago I announced to the Facebook world that I had decided to begin my City Saunter book. I did that because I find when I tell people what I am going to do, it really holds me to it. I have been trying to write this book for over 2 years now. I’m not fully sure why I couldn’t. My excuse was that I couldn’t come up with a title. Lame, I know. After I made the grand announcement I wrote out a page of titles. I’m sure one will click. Or maybe, I’ll come up with something even better as the process begins.

Then I spent two days organizing my images. I created folders for each walk and put the photos I took from those walks into the folders. I now have a total of photographs taken from this project and it’s a mere 10,000, which isn’t nearly as many as I had thought I’d taken.

Today I sat down and wrote. I was actually shocked at how easy it was. I wrote out 4 pages and 1600 words for my “Puke Draft”. Thank you Wil Wheaton for the terminology! I accomplished this in less than an hour.

I am actually REALLY excited to do this!

 

“We Were in the Band Together”

Quaker_band_1986_1Lansing is often referred to as a Little Big City. I think if you asked 5 people what that really means you probably would get 5 different answers. For me, it means there are enough big city activities such as museums, theater, and festivals to entertain the locals and make us feel we have a variety similar to any larger city on one hand. Then on the other you still feel your voice matters, you can get involved in a more intricate way and if you are out and about you run into people you know. This Saturday was a blaring example of this point. Since completing City Saunter and taking on the management of a creative space in REO Town, I have increased my presence down there, including hosting local events, helping with the festivals hosted by REO Town and being voted in as a board member of the REO Town Commercial Association. This means when something is going on down there I am usually present.IMG_7795p Yesterday was the 5th year of REO Town’s Art Attack event. It’s an amazing day spent creating art, listening to art, tasting art, buying art and watching art being created.IMG_7737f The smell of spray paint and the sounds of local bands is a given. This year one of the bands playing was Bastards of Young. I wasn’t familiar with the name but one of the band members was someone I was familiar with, Scott Owens. Some of you might know Scott from the band 19 Wheels.000_0809 But I know Scott from many years earlier when I entered Lansing Eastern High School for the first time as a freshman in 1984. I had signed up to play flute for the Lansing Eastern High School band and band camp was a month before school even started. I clearly remember my dad dropping me off in the high school parking lot that summer. I had no idea what I was doing. I found one of my middle school friends; Jennifer Foster (no relation) and she led me around, helping me load my bags into the buses and giving out instructions. She’d been through all of this with her siblings. I unfortunately was a first born and all of this was new to me. When it was time to get on a bus, I just picked one. I didn’t really know anyone so it didn’t matter to me much.  This bus only had seats in the back available and I somehow picked a row very near Scott and the senior drum major, Rip Kinne. They sang loud and proud to every song on Prince’s Purple Rain cd and by the time we arrived at the Ebersole Center I was well versed in all the band chants, Quaker cheers and “Let’s Go Crazy” was my new favorite song. This was the very beginning of turning into a band geek. These Quakers became family as I spent more time with them through four years of camps, practices, games, class time, parades, and trips out of state than my actual family. It was probably because of how much time we spent together that these years still mean a great deal to me. Some of my closest friendships formed through the band.File1603File1629File1605 File1928So when I found out that not only was my old drum major playing at Art Attack but three other fellow Quakers (two of which were in the band with us), I immediately sent out a social media post that some Quakers were in the house. Soon we had collected six other Quakers (3 of which were in the band together) to rock out to our friends performing on stage. To add to the fun, we ran into our band director, Jack Mike, who had come out to watch the guys play. Some 30 years after we were all in the band together we had met up again to enjoy a wonderful #lovelansing event on a gorgeous Michigan day. IMG_7837rIMG_7824kIMG_0856IMG_7865sTo me that’s what makes Lansing so great. I can head out to enjoy an exciting festival and still find a handful of old friends and memories, overlapping, year after year, event after event. The weaving of these encounters; remembering who we were, embracing where we are and anticipating who we will become, only reinforces my love for this little big city I call home.

Scrapping Along

small_IMG_6772The warnings started arriving via phone apps early: Heat Advisory for your area. The warning for extreme heat isn’t new in the Lansing area but we hadn’t had much heat yet this summer. Despite the threat, a purposeful storm system with high winds, heavy rain and lightening pounded the area just before noon reducing the temperatures by 10 more degrees. I’m pretty sure the anticipated high of 90 degrees never arrived. But the damage was done and plans were canceled leaving our family with nothing to do. I suggested, once again, that we could all drive to Old Town for The ScrapFest. Within minutes we were traveling west.small_IMG_6765For the first time The Scrap Fest was venturing out onto its own; it wasn’t paired with the Festival of the Sun and Moon. I didn’t really notice a reduction in foot traffic and it seemed to have a more craft festival feel to it. There were crafter tables around the perimeter of the event as well as hands on activities hosted by REACH Studio Art Center. There was the given musical entertainment area under a large canopy which had kept the crowd dry earlier. At the center was the Scrap Art. Each year participants forage through Friedland’s scrap yard locating the perfect set of recyclable material to create their masterpiece and each year the resulting art is magnificent. This year was not any different. There was a flexible metallic fish that actually had a swimming motion when a wheel was manually turned.small_IMG_6785 There was a giant mosquito that despite being all metal looked horrifyingly real, given this year’s bumper crop of the pest.small_IMG_6770 Crafted in metal there were turtles, dragons, fish, flowers, and even a mosaic Michigan table, including the Upper Peninsula as a high top table.small_IMG_6779small_IMG_6794small_IMG_6792We spent about an hour there looking at the art, enjoying the music and running into quite a few people we knew, which is one of the great things I love about Old Town.

My Michigan

Ariniko Artistry Greater Lansing Photographer

Petosky, MI

About a year ago one of my family members was moving from California to either Michigan or Florida. I quickly found myself creating lists of reasons why a move to Michigan would be the perfect choice. I guess I wasn’t the only one looking into the many assets our great Mitten State has to offer. A recent article from Thrillest.com ultimately decided that Michigan was ranked the greatest state out of all 50. Many of us here in Michigan already know that. On the same note the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau asked folks on social media to create a Pinterest page dedicated to all the things people love about Lansing summers. I was able to create this page: I #LoveLansing Summers. I think it’s natural to have pride in the location you’ve decided to live in, raise a family in, work in and vacation in. Michiganders love their state.  We love the great lakes, the urban cities, the national forests, the four seasons, and the people.

Here’s just a short list of some of my favorite Michigan places.

Ariniko Artistry Greater Lansing Photographer

Lansing, MI view from the Boji Tower

  1. Lansing, MI
Ariniko Artistry Greater Lansing Photographer

The Grand River at Francis Park

This is home. This place has such a stronghold on my heart that it’s hard to explain how much I adore it. The people here are amazing. The sense of community is intoxicating! The changes that have taken place in the last 30 years are hard to comprehend. Each year this little big city expands and grows much for the better. I look forward to seeing where we will be in another 30.

  1. Traverse City
Ariniko Artistry Greater Lansing Photographer

Golfing at Traverse City

I hadn’t spent much time here as a child but my husband’s family did. As an adult we make a trip to Traverse City almost every year. From the camp grounds to the quaint city there is something for everyone. We’ve spent time picking red raspberries and eating cherries from a roadside stand while meandering through the peninsulas. We’ve golfed at scenic golf courses. We’ve sat at the beach and camped at the campground. There are Cherry Fests and Film fests that draw in thousands a year.

Ariniko Artistry

Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City

  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes
Ariniko Artistry

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

This can almost be rolled into the Traverse City section but since it was rated by GMA in 2011 as the most beautiful place in America, I thought I would give it its own vote. As a child I would take trips here with my grandparents who had an RV at Duck Lake. As an adult I’ve traveled to these majestic sand mountains during the summer and also winter. Some may not know but they allow sledding on these hills in the winter and it was one of the best sledding I’ve ever done.

Ariniko Artistry Photography

Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan

  1. Porcupine Mountains
Ariniko Artistry Photography

Lake in The Clouds the view from Porcupine Mountains, MI

As a child my family would travel the 12 hours to Lake Pomeroy and camp for almost two weeks. From there we would take day trips to waterfalls, Lake Gogebic and, my favorite, Porcupine Mountains. I was able to take my older kids to this beautiful wilderness area and we enjoyed ourselves greatly despite the steady rain.

Ariniko Artistry Photography

The Presque Isle River that run through Porcupine Mountains into Lake Superior.

  1. Holland, MI
Ariniko Artistry www.ariniko.com

Windmill Island Holland, MI

This was another location my family would head to when I was a child. We would take the 1.5 hour drive to the Holland Beach and spend the whole day there. My sister in law recently moved there with her family and we usually take 3-4 trips to Holland a year now. We’ve explored Tunnel Park, Windmill Island and the adorable city.

Ariniko Artistry Photography

Tunnel Park in Holland, MI

I’m sure everyone has their favorites too. It’s honestly extremely difficult to pick only a handful. I hope everyone enjoys your summer wherever you decide to spend it!

All images are ©Ariniko Artistry 2015.

Ariniko is a greater Lansing photographer who specializes in community enrichment through family portraits, business photography and event photography. To find more examples of her work check out her website at www.ariniko.com.

Up the River with a Paddle

aaIMG_3468gOn May 16 of this year I was asked to photograph a new adventure race. The creators of the DirtyFeat race were at it again. This time they established Lansing’s first kayak race. On a cool, foggy morning I joined a group of about 60 people; racers, volunteers, coordinators and fans, along a four mile stretch of inner city rivers. With my camera tucked inside a backpack I raced along the Lansing River Trail on my bike, visually documenting the progress of 40 kayakers. The process was relatively simple; check in at the Lansing City Market, leave by van to the race start near Frandor, enter the water in your kayak, and paddle back to the market. Jeff Smith, who is one of the creators of this event, said it was such a simple process that it could be recreated on almost any water way, at any time of year. There’s a hope to host it twice a year. Not only was it a great way to get out onto our amazing rivers but proceeds from the race benefit the Friends of the River Trail. If you’d like more information you can find it at the RedPaddle website. A full set of photographs can be found here.

aaIMG_3538y aaIMG_3608bf aaIMG_3700bs aaIMG_3782es aaIMG_3821fh aaIMG_3836da

 

Floating on Air

2-15-2012 2-54-09 PM

Our City Saunter interview April 13, 2011.

On a cool Mid-Michigan morning in early April 2011, I met my second news anchor in person. I had contacted Evan Pinsonnault of WLNS Channel 6 news when he put out a request for cool things happening in Lansing for his Tell Me Something Good Segment. He quickly responded to the email I sent and within the week he was joining me for one of my Saunters. He brought a camera man and they put together this lovely video. It was one of the greatest days of my walking adventure and I wrote this blog about it. After that moment I’ve had a handful of run ins with Evan; Common Ground Film Festival, Blues Festival, The Red Nose Rukus party and Ye Old Christmas. It seemed we attended quite a few of the same events and every time he saw me there, he walked straight to me, hugged me, said he was glad to see me and took time to ask how I was doing. Every time. To this day it amazes me. I’ve had folks from the Lansing community that I have photographed and been introduced to over 20 times who still have no idea who I am.

aaIMG_0019f

Evan judges Ye Old Christmas gingerbread house competition. I was the photographer for this event.

aa_EOS 70D_9316

Evan on the WLNS float during Silverbells

When my City Saunter project came to a completion Evan tried desperately to get me on his broadcast again. Unfortunately it didn’t work out.

Then came the news that he was moving to California. I wasn’t surprised. He had mentioned to me before that he had hopes to move to a new location. Although I feel he will be greatly missed in Lansing, I am very excited for him.

Through communication on Facebook he suggested I come onto his Feel Good February segment to do a re-cap of the City Saunter Project, how I completed it and what I’m up to now. I, of course, said YES!

This morning I woke up bright and early, 4:45 a.m., to arrive at the station by 5:45 a.m. I’ve been to a few news stations to be interviewed for this project before but am always intrigued with the functionality of each. I was ushered to the “green room” which was really the computer offices of all the staff. One wall held at least 6 televisions all broadcasting different stations and news updates as well as the live broadcast. It was quite fascinating. I entered just as the clip showing me came on. There is something a bit surreal when you walk into a news station and you are on the news. One of the employees says, “Hey that’s you.”

I was offered a cup of coffee and told Evan would be in soon. The other anchor, Chivon, came in and we talked for a few minutes.

When the live broadcast switched to local commercials I knew Evan would be in soon. When he did come in,  just like always he came straight to me, arms spread for his perfected hug, warmly saying, “Hello my dear!”

FullSizeRender

I gave Evan this photo to remind him of Lansing while he continues his journey. I hope he will always remember his time here fondly.

I sort of don’t remember the interview. I know we talked about City Saunter. I know we plugged AA Creative Corridor. I know we plugged my Ariniko Artistry photography, I know I was so nervous and didn’t know where to look. Luckily Evan asked all the right questions and prodded me along when I need it.

It’s a bit sad thinking that these meet ups won’t happen again. Maybe I’ll write a City Saunter book and have him arrange a book signing in California!

A girl can dream, right?

xxoo

Driving Forward in REO Town

REO Town PubThursday night while attending a REO Town Association meeting, as we went over the yearly schedule for 2015, the new businesses coming to our little section of town and the recognition as a Michigan Main Street, it really sunk in. REO Town business owners, residents and those that support this area are really kicking butt! When I first started City Saunter in late 2010 REO Town wasn’t much on the map.Train Station on Washington Ave.

Construction beginning There were hints of movement within its chrysalis; Gillespie Group was interested in starting a crowd sourced restaurant and there were rumors that BWL was planning to build a new state of the art facility. One came to fruition, and the other not so much. However it provided the groundwork for the very successful Good Truckin’ Diner to move in last year.REO Town Plant

aa_Blog_Depot 3 Skip ahead five years later and The BWL Cogeneration Plant has been operating for almost two years now, Washington Ave had a complete make-over, there’s multiple places to dine with new ones on the horizon, and the Washington Ave. section has at least five new businesses that were not there five years ago, myself included.

The new signView of Washington Ave from an upper building roof topNot only are there businesses that are flourishing in this location there’s also a consistent set of festivals that have been taking place down there for multiple years now.

ARTS & CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL

Arts & Craft Beer Fest 2014At the end of January REO Town’s festival season officially begins with I’m a Beer Hound’s ambitious Arts and Craft Beer Festival. For this year’s activities there will be three venues, including the gallery space I manage (AA Creative Corridor), an outdoor area behind REO Town Pub and also inside the Cadillac Room which is now ran by Riverview Church, who moved in last year. All three venues will have music and arts as well as Right Brain Brewery beer.

REO TOWN THRIFT STORE GALA

March 21, 2015 the REO Town association will host its second REO Town Thrift Store Gala. Last year there was a combination of retro foods, products and pin-ups. It was exciting and the perfect event to get to know the REO Town folks that are working hard day in and out to make REO Town a thriving entertainment area.

REO TOWN BEER FESTREO Town Beer Fest 2014

REO Town Beer Fest 2014 after the stormJune 27 I’m A Beer Hound will be hosting its third REO Town Beer Fest out on Washington Ave. Last year, even with threat of rain, a large crowd gathered on Washington Ave. to experience craft beers of over thirty breweries, music and community.

THE DOG OLYMPICS

aa_blog_DPP_0017There isn’t a greater event than one that is create by a child for a cause that is dear to his hearts. Last year for the second time Isaac Torok hosted his good-natured, for a cause, Dog Olympics. This year it will be held July 25 and will again benefit the American Cancer Society Bark for Life. Last year they raised $1400.

aa_blog_EOS 70D_2546

ART ATTACKView of Art Attack from the roof tops

Art Attack ArtIn September Art Attack will once again take center stage. This hands-on arts event brings together craft vendors, performers and artists. Last year the artists used their incredible talents to create trashy works of arts.  By that, I mean contestants used their extensive creativity to design unique trash receptacles that were placed in various locations around town. The year before the elaborately, much photographed, graffiti wall was created. I would imagine this year’s event will continue in this vein.

Art Attack 2014

PEACE OF LANSING

Only a couple of weeks after Art Attack I host Peace of Lansing. This year will be the second time this single day of global peace has been in REO Town. This is the 5th year of Peace of Lansing and will fall on a Monday. This event is used to pass out free books, collect school supplies for Lansing School District Schools and provide a stress free time to reconnect with the community.Peace of Lansing 2014

Peace of Lansing 2014

OTHER ACTIVITIES IN REO TOWN

As great as it is to have these continued festivals it should also be pointed out that quite a few other activities are frequently happening in downtown REO Town. Every Friday AA Creative Corridor hosts dancing. The second and fourth Fridays have Salsa Capital dancing and first and third Fridays have Sugar House Blues Dancing.Sugar House Blues Dancing

Ixion Theatre EnsembleThe theater group Ixion Theatre Ensemble also performs multiple times a year in this location with the play Shipwrecked opening February 14.

The opening debut of The Robin Theater at 1105 S. Washington Ave. sometime later this year will provide the area with a fresh and exciting performance venue. Quite a few familiar faces are coordinating efforts to create this space, including members of the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle, who have already performed in the space.

LUVS performing at TEDxLansing

Last summer Co:Space opened its doors as a new collaborative workspace for state workers, traveling business people and IT Professionals that might need a location to work that fits their specific needs. The brain child of Scott McLean, Vice President of Operations at New Horizon and Ryan Kinkaid of Kinkaid Henry Building Company, this facility provides the perfect centralized location for professionals to create and connect.

REO Town Bike RackAs REO Town continues to drive forward and with staple businesses like LEAP, St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame, Leroy’s Classic Bar & GrillSoulful Earth Herbals, REO Town Pub, REACH Art Studio, Cuttin’ Up Barbershop, Just B Yoga, Good Fruit Video, Uno Deuce Multimedia, Studio Intrigue Architects and Foliage Design Systems (the short list) firmly in place, you may want to put on the brakes and visit one of Lansing’s actively artistic areas.Cooley Gardens Scott's Sunken Garden

Skyline in REO Town

Rivers EdgeREO TOWN signMoores River Park

All images © Ariniko Artistry, who has a studio in REO Town.

Dressing Up for the Dogs

Ariniko Atistry Event Photography

Super Dog!

Sometimes I have a side gig where I take photos and even write a small news paragraph to accompany the photographs for the City Pulse. I was recently asked to cover a Halloween activity in Old Town. I had a really busy week at the AA Creative Corridor and thought there was no way I could fit it in but it happened to fall into a time frame that I had nothing else planned. Plus it was something that I thought my kids might enjoy. So last Friday I loaded them both into the car and told them we needed to go to Old Town to take photos of the Old Town Doggie Trick or Treat. Our pet Samoyed, Sparty, had passed away a few years ago and both of the kids have wanted a new dog. I don’t know if my letting them hang out with a crowd of dogs benefits my reluctance to get them a dog or not. But I think they had a great time. Here are some of the photos we took.

csEOS 70D_7898

Fluffy Strawberry

I am always intrigued by the idea to put a pet into a costume.

csEOS 70D_7935

Love the Look

Most of the dogs were cute a cuddly. This one really made me laugh though. What an adorable face.

csEOS 70D_7939

Cowdog

Cuddly Pumpkin

Cuddly Pumpkin

Scooby

Scooby

An adult dressing up like a dog.

csEOS 70D_7885

Frog Dog

csEOS 70D_7931

Color coordination is always a winner!

csEOS 70D_7876

Super Hero Huskies

Happy Halloween Everyone! Stay safe, fun and be kind to your neighbors as you spend time out and about this Friday!