Twenty Five Days left

City_Saunter_ReviewI have been managing the Kickstarter campaign for five days now. I think I’ve shared it on all the social media sites I have! I’ve started sending direct emails to people. I even pulled out the sign in book I had at my exhibit opening night!

Right now I have reached 45% of my goal (31 books!). I’m really excited about that, but until I have fully funded these pre-orders, I will feel I still have work to do.

I had a text conversation with someone today who mentioned he didn’t need to buy the books because he grew up in Lansing. Funny, to me, that’s the very reason someone would WANT to buy it! This also made me realize that those who are buying the books right now, are doing so on trust and generosity. They are trusting that I tell I good story. Or they are being incredibly supportive of me and this project. The image at the top of this blog is direct quotes my friends (beta readers) sent to me after they read the book. I am sharing this so you can see from their words how they felt about my stories in A City Saunter Story. Maybe you’ve also been a life-long Lansingite, but I wonder if you, like me, only know your Lansing. Do you know my Lansing? Do you know your neighbor’s Lansing? It’s interesting how you can get something more out of an event, person, or place, by hearing a new story about it. Have you ever loved something more because you learned a little something personal about it? I would think that this story is like that. I hope that it’s like that.

The Kickstarter Pre-Order campaign will continue through July 6.

To all who have ordered already, thank you! Sincerely, thank you! For those who may have additional questions, don’t be shy. You know I like to talk! Let me know what your thoughts are, and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Thank you!

Ariniko

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Aside

Book_Cover_MemoirThis book has been in the works for over two years! In 2013, as I was finishing my walking project, being asked what I was going to do next was asked often. Usually the next line was, “Are you going to write a book?” At the time I just assumed it was going to happen. “Of course I’ll write a book,” I would confidently offer. Never did I realize how overwhelmingly complicated that would be. First, I was held up because I couldn’t decide on a title. “I can’t write, I don’t have a title,” I would tell my husband. At some point, after being asked over and over, I finally decided to push beyond that. A title would come. Or it already came. Then my other complication stemmed from being so busy managing a hopping event space in REO Town, participating on their board for 4 years, and helping host event after event, that I didn’t have time to write.

Two years ago, I made the heart aching decision to close down AA Creative Corridor to dedicate more time to my photography and writing this book, and that did that trick! That summer I was able to begin the dedicated writing process. The words flowed from me, which was nice, but the story was huge, like 95,000 words huge! I was having a hard time finding direction for the story. Should it be chronological, themed, or both? In the end, after creating a list of every blog I made, taking notes on the process, creating a timeline, reevaluating the photos I took (It was amazing how much having the photos helped me remember), and finally an outline, I was able to put together an intriguing story. From there I began the editing process. The whole time I was also researching publishing, editing, editors, and everything I would need to bring this story to life. My first thought was I would use Amazon just like all the other self published authors I knew. I checked out the publishing site, and although complicated, I thought it was relatively uncomplicated. Through their publishing site I could do Direct Orders and with the proceeds have copies made as I could. Those would be soft cover, pre-sized, books. And I was fine with that.

BETA Readers

As I moved through the editing process I knew I would need people to read the book through–my beta readers. These would be entry folks who would notice continuity flaws, typing errors, repeat of story (which I was having a hard time with), and accuracy of details. It was early October 2018, and I couldn’t wait to hear back from these close family and friends. By November, I hadn’t heard a peep from any of them. My husband was slowly working through the book and bringing me edits about once a week, but that was it! No one was reading it for me. So I sought out more editors. This time I decided to pick people I knew had written books, as well as published. They knew the system. They knew how to edit. And they were very eager to read my book! One of these editors was so thorough, he’s actually now considering adding professional editor to his resume. He fact checked, he helped organize my thoughts, he pointed out where something wasn’t quite working, and it was a perfect reevaluation of what I had already written. The other beta readers were also coming in with similar responses. This was happening!

Finally Done! 

By early spring of 2019 I had reread the book at least 15 times. I was mentioning it to people who hadn’t heard about my walking project, and they were excited to hear about it. I had a list of people who had already told me they couldn’t wait to buy the book, and it was about 100 people! At one point, while attending an event on Michigan Ave, we ran into the new mayor of Lansing. A friend was with us and he boldly told the mayor about my walking project and that I had a book coming out about it. The mayor then said, let me know when it’s out and I’ll buy your first copy. Without thinking, I said, I already have a whole bunch of people ahead of you, but I’ll definitely let you know when it’s ready! After he left me husband looked at me and said, “Did you just tell the mayor to take a number?” I felt so badly, but yes, I had in fact told the mayor of Lansing to take a number!

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Kickstarter

One of the notions that began to form from those reading the book so far was that it needed to be published in hard cover. Hard cover is a different self publishing animal. They felt it was such an extraordinary book, one that would be sought after for schools, local museums, visitor centers, libraries, and such, that it needed to be durable and hardbound. From the research I had done, I knew making it hard cover was going to be more complicated and more expensive. Again, I began researching. There are multiple sites that create hard cover books, with the best being Ingram Sparks. I was also beginning to put together the companion photo book, as many of the stories talked about in the memoir referenced back to a photograph. Through Blurb I was able to create the photo book and link it to Ingram Sparks.

I really am still forming a publishing game plan, but I feel that having the pre-order payments will get me through the last leg. The books are done, they only need to printed at this point. There’s a few fees associated with that, like buying an ISBN number for each book and set up fees for Ingram Sparks. Easy enough!

Final Stretch

Last night I launched my Kickstarter campaign. I have one month, 30 days, to raise the funds needed to print out these books. I was so scared last night to click go, but again, friends came through late into the evening offering support, and I did it! I clicked that big green launch button. This morning I woke up to four books purchased! My mental goal is 50 of each sold. There are some other great rewards, though, if having the books isn’t what you’re looking for. Here’s the link for the Kickstarter City Saunter Book Campaign. Please share with anyone you know that may be interested in a good book about Lansing, growing up here, watching it develop into what it is now, and a project about walking all the streets in Lansing. It’s a good read. The photo book will be one of a kind as well!

Kickstarter Campaign Link

Thank you for supporting this project!

Take care,

Ariniko

O REO! My REO

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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They established yearly events that keep growing year after year.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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The No Longer Secret Garden

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The limestone foundation of the Scott Sunken Garden. 

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A large pile of mulch. 

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The stumps from removed trees. 

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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.

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View through the fence on Washington Ave. 

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One of many stumps left by removing the trees. 

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Looking north from Washington Ave, shot over the fencing. 

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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.

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Lansing, MI view from the Boji Tower

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Floating on Air

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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.

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

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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!”

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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