I have been finding it very difficult to begin, let alone finish this blog post. How does one write a post that summarizes a three year project? It started out as a simple walking project. Somewhere along the journey it changed. I changed. It started as a show and tell; look at Old Town, now let me tell you about it. Here’s Hawk Island, let me tell you about it. Somehow, though, you let me get personal. You let me tell you about my deceased brother and our adventurous childhood in north Lansing. You let me express my heartache that comes with a grandmother aging out of her matriarchal position in a family. You let me tell you about people I admired. You let me express great excitement with events and festivals. You put up with all the photos of my twins.
You followed me as I traveled through your streets, around your neighborhoods, and into your businesses. When I began to get attention from media, or a photograph was purchased, or I was asked to join in on something great, you cheered me on. Then as I was coming to the end I needed support for my gallery, and you all came through on that too! I sit here in a gorgeous turn of the century space with 32 framed pieces of art on the walls, four of which have little sold signs under them. I have my LSJ article framed as well as the Capital Gains article written by my friend Suban. I also have a pile of The Lansing City Pulse sitting on a table with my photo on the cover.
So let me tell you about Lansing. Lansing is my home. It’s filled with people I love, admire, trust, respect and believe in. It has mom & pop and farm to table. It has urban gardens and Land Bank restorations. It has local celebrities that aren’t afraid to wear a pair of red and white striped socks or don a suit to be auctioned off for charity. It has sports teams and races (dirty, marathon, or colorful). It has green enthusiasts (Sweaty Mouse, Mid-MEAC, Walk & Bike Lansing) and the Blues (Blues Fest, The Root Doctor). There is such an excitement for entertainment and fun that holidays are invented and created here; Plaidurday, Capital City Dragonboat Races, Vacant, Peace of Lansing. There’s an entrepreneurial spirit here that pairs up alongside the corporate world creating this wonderful ebb and flow. It houses a captivating Capitol building that spurs conversation and debate. This is Lansing, Michigan sitting dead center in the palm of my right hand that I forever will clutch to my heart. Thank you Lansing! #lovelansing
Tagged Ariniko Artistry, Capitol, City Saunter, exercise, gallery, Lansing, Michigan, Old Town, outside, project, REO Town, walking, Walking Lansing
When I started this project almost 3 years ago I took on the physical process of touring every street of the Capitol city. I had no idea where this process would lead me. I had some guesses that I would see parts of the city I had never gone to before. I figured I would meet new people interested in my task. I thought maybe one or two media sources might find this project interesting. Never, ever did I think that I would, through this project, become part of so many exciting groups (Lunch with a Purpose, #lovelansing, MarketLansing, Crazy Geeks with Cameras, CCFF, Ignite, TEDx, DirtyFeat, Lansing Marathon Committee, Lansing Dragon Boat Committee), meet so many exciting people (way too many to name), and be invited to do amazing things. Yesterday, because of my City Saunter project, I was invited to go on a private tour of Michigan’s Capitol. I climbed, with a group of nine other people, every level of the Capitol to the top most windowed area during a two and a half hour exclusive tour.
I recently read a post called “23 Things Every Woman should Stop Doing”. The second thing on the list was stop saying yes to everything. For whatever reason I had found that normally (pre City Saunter) I would say no to everything. I wanted to stay home and not exert too much energy. I turned down late night drives with my husband (too tired), going out with friends (too much work, too tired, cost money), I wouldn’t hang out without Pat (I feel bad when he can’t come out), or really anything fun. This project has completely changed my perspective. It forced me to go outside of my comfort zone in a way I had never done before. NEVER. I now talk to strangers. I smile at everyone. I say hello/bye to everyone I pass, all the time. I don’t even realize it anymore until I’m walking with someone and I am interrupting our conversation to smile and say hi to people we are passing. I’ve gone on radio stations and television stations. I’ve been on the upper floor of the Boji Tower. I climbed onto the roof of Kathie Dunbar’s van to get a photo of Art Attack and when that wasn’t good enough we went to the roof top of another tall building across the street to get the photo. I’ve been on top of the Knapp’s building at night. I paddled a Dragon Boat. I planned an event inside an airplane hangar. I created a new event for peace. I’ve walked 400 miles of city streets. Now, I’ve climbed to the top of the state Capitol building.
I don’t feel that I am anything special. Three years ago I was a stay at home mom with twins starting kindergarten and two sons in college. I was dabbling in photography and had a degree in psychology with neither landing me a full time career. I was wallowing in my situation; anticipating the sadness I would have with my kids all gone. Then this project came to me like a gift from God. I didn’t think I could do it but instead of saying no, I said let’s do this! For three years now I’ve walked, smiled, talked, interviewed, photographed, blogged, volunteered and journeyed through this city. Yesterday I was able to view it all from the tippy top of our Capitol building. What an amazing journey I have been on. And all of it began with a one mile trek around that very same Capitol almost three years ago.
I have more photos on my Flickr Account
And also on my website