Tag Archives: Art Attack

“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.

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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.

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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.

Creating a Festival

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Over the weekend I had a photo shoot at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing, MI. It was obvious from the elaborate setup, well organized music stages and greatness of its capacity that this had been a festival many years in the making. In fact this was its twelfth year. As someone who has attempted to create a new festival for four years now, it’s hard to not be envious of the success of this festival, or really any other festival that is thriving. It’s a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of connectedness to the community. I feel I cash in much of my “social equity” to make this event happen. However it’s not impossible. Through the years I’ve watched organizations put on successful event after successful event. I have also seen groups of individuals put together a great event with very limited resources. Some of those events are yet to be held this year. Here’s a sample of some of Lansing’s upcoming locally created festivals. 

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

New World Flood Backpack Expo: August 18 at the Lansing Center. New World Flood is the do good non-profit that makes the world better one rain drop at a time. This event brings together almost everything a student would need to succeed at school. All children and their parents are welcome to stop by, collect needed school supplies and receive other services that might help them out.

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Lansing Flow Fest & Lansing Bless Fest: August 22 & August 23 at Adado Riverfront Park.  Two all day events meant to give back to the community. This event is put on free of charge to attend so the community can be blessed. Flow Fest is an evening outdoor concert featuring Christian Rap and Hip Hop music. On Saturday return for another fun filled day of giving. There’s free food, music, raffles, kids games and so much more.

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Art Attack: September 6 1123 S. Washington Ave. This event is actually the same location as Peace of Lansing. It used to be a cool dirt parking lot but now it’s a cool, paved parking lot owned by Riverview Church. They generously allow these events to take place on their property. Art Attack is a laid back, art filled gathering with music and on site art creation.

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Capital City Dragon Boat Races: September 13 and 14 at the Adado River Front Park. This fantastic event is back on track after taking a year off. I haven’t been involved with this year’s planning like years past but I am excited to see it back. I know from the year I helped out on the committee that there was a very small groups that really put all the guts into this race.

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photo by Ariniko Artistry http://www.ariniko.com

Peace of Lansing: September 21 at 1133 South Washington Ave in REO Town. This is the event I host. I mostly run the show. Each year we provide peace crafts for kids, entertainment, relaxation activities, book give away and a collection for Lansing Public School teachers. It’s a wonderful way to get the community thinking about peace. The theme of this year is “Who will you make peace with?”

Community strengthening is the goal of all of these events. Each and every one of these gives back to the community. Check them out, volunteer or participate. I’m sure all the organizers would appreciate it! I know I would!