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…
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!)
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.
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.
April: After returning from Florida I quickly returned to Lansing activities including The Lansing Marathon, 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. It had finally warmed up outside and I took my longest walk to date. Maybe I was inspired by all the marathon talk!
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 telethon and the second was a private shoot with the new Lansing City Attorney, Janene McIntyre, whom I went to high school with.
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.
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”and the Architect of Air which was a giant blow up building. Both inspired me to keep on keeping on!
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. I also volunteered my photographic abilities to two incredible events. The first was Lansing’s BlessFest and the second was New World Flood’s Backpack giveaway. I am so fortunate to know some unbelievably generous people.
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! Thank you again Zig for including me on this amazing adventure!
This month I also coordinated my 3rd Peace of Lansing event. 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. Finally, 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.
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. At 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. 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!!!So much so, that…
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.
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. I 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.