Tag Archives: City Saunter

Aside

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 … Continue reading

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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.

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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

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.

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.

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Fluffy Strawberry

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

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Love the Look

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

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Cowdog

Cuddly Pumpkin

Cuddly Pumpkin

Scooby

Scooby

An adult dressing up like a dog.

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Frog Dog

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Color coordination is always a winner!

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Super Hero Huskies

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

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!

Exploring Ralph W. Crego

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com

Ralph W. Crego Park

When I heard that a wilderness area that was closed for twenty-five years due to contamination had reopened, I must admit my expectations were quite low. The area now known as Ralph W. Crego Park was familiar to me as the polluted, swampy area east of Aurelius. It was also the location my uncle would sneak into to search out morels. Sometimes he would also go there because the city would dumb collected downed trees there and set it up as a first come first serve firewood buffet. In the last two years or so word started getting out that the area was no longer contaminated. A couple of years ago the dark, green county park sign appeared at the north-east corner solidifying the rumors of a new, usable area. After reading about this park again in the City Pulse, I thought I should go check it out. I loaded up the twins and headed into town. I remembered exactly where it was from my City Saunter walk of the street. When I had passed by, it was still a closed off area. This time, as I drove down the dead-end road I could see new details. There was a brilliant white sidewalk on the east side of the road as we drove in and a gorgeous lake. On the west side of the lake new decking and walk ways were built. There was a drinking fountain and a port a potty. Along the trail there were sporadically placed black benches, perfect for resting or enjoying the view.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com

The long view of the lake. The lake is extremely clear.

And what a view it was. Much like Hawk Island, it is often surprising that something so beautiful is really part of Lansing. But it is. Not only that but these beautified locations are becoming more and more the norm for Lansing. It makes me really excited for what’s in store for our area. While watching groups of bikers travel around the lake I fantasized about a connected biking trail that someday will easily connect East Lansing or even Haslett to this ever increasing trail system. The idea of accessible trails like this is something northern Michigan really excels at and I am excited to see them in Lansing. I have been on the Lansing River Trail and spoke to bikers who say they’ve traveled from long distances just to use our trails. They come to use OUR Trails! While I was at this park for an hour at least ten different groups came through. Some came by car, some on foot and quite a few by bike. The trail from the lake area meanders west through fields of Michigan wild flowers and eventually connects to the River Trail just east of Aurelius. It’s a nice place to travel to from almost any part of Lansing via the river trail. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. Until then here’s some of the photos I took while we explored.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

We found this little guy just hanging out

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

These boys came in off the trail and were very nice.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

Quite a few different groups stopped by the lake while I was there.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

Gorgeous Michigan wild flowers adorned all the fields.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

You can clearly see the fish in the water.

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

Extended trail that connects to the Lansing River Trail

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com Lansing Michigan Photographer

The familiar swampy Sycamore Creek area

© Ariniko Artistry-- www.ariniko.com

Ralph W. Crego Park

Year In Review

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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…

bullet  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!)

bullet 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.

bullet 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.csIMG_5016

bullet April: After returning from Florida I quickly returned to Lansing activities including The Lansing Marathon, photo (1)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. IMG_6319It had finally warmed up outside and I took my longest walk to date. Maybe I was inspired by all the marathon talk!

bullet 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 telethoncsIMG_9381_1 and the second was a private shoot with the new Lansing City Attorney, Janene McIntyre, whom I went to high school with.IMG_8128_2o

bullet 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.IMG_0494ap

bullet 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”aaIMG_1384and the Architect of Air which was a giant blow up building. aaIMG_1482Both inspired me to keep on keeping on!

bullet 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. _MG_6344avI also volunteered my photographic abilities to two incredible events. The first was Lansing’s BlessFest aaimg_2572nand the second was New World Flood’s Backpack giveaway. csIMG_2477I am so fortunate to know some unbelievably generous people.

bullet 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!aaimg_4864agaaimg_4926at Thank you again Zig for including me on this amazing adventure!

This month I also coordinated my 3rd Peace of Lansing event.aaIMG_5129aaIMG_5243 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. aaimg_4044amFinally, 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.

bullet 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. csIMG_6602At 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.csIMG_6625 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!!!csIMG_9145So much so, that…

bullet 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.csIMG_9076

bullet 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. aacreative_cooridorI 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.

Sincerely,

Ariniko

City Sauntered Top Ten Unusual or Unexpected Finds (Part 1 of a 3 Part Series)

I believe in every interview I had while doing this project I was asked what was my most unusual or most unexpected find. Now that the project is complete I can actually put these lists together. This will be the first and I will have two other “top ten” later on. These are just randomly listed so there isn’t any meaning to the order.  

1. Theo Fulton Park:csIMG_3595 I remember when I did this walk and was about to give up on this neighborhood having anything really interesting. Then I found this park. Recently, I was having a conversation with Kathie Dunbar and she talked about this park and asked if I knew about it. She led off with the thinking that I didn’t know about it. But as she described it I knew exactly what she meant and was able to even show photos of my experience there.

Gorgeous stairs that lead right to the water’s edgecsIMG_3578To the westcsIMG_3567To the EastcsIMG_3564

2. People living under overpasses or in the woods:csIMG_2863In 1998 I worked for the Mid Michigan Red Cross as an after-hours worker. My duty was to place people who were homeless, just getting out of jail or visitors without an overnight stay in a shelter. If there wasn’t one available I was able to offer a hotel room. From what I remember there was a new law that made it illegal to sleep on the streets. I would have police officers drop homeless people off at the office because they wanted to offer these folks the chance to find a place to stay instead of jail. I have always known there were people who chose the streets over shelters. I had women with small children that refused to go to a shelter because of fear their child would be sexually assaulted, especially if that child was a boy. However, as I walked through the city it was still surprising to find mattresses, blankets and tents.csIMG_3821

3. The plethora of Urban Gardens on the Eastside of Lansing:csIMG_7331This was a pleasant surprise. I loved finding all the urban gardens throughout the city. Another area that really had some great gardens was Barnes St.csIMG_7313csIMG_7330csIMG_7292

4. A military presence on Logan (MLK), Grand River, Filley and Sheridan Rd. area.:

csIMG_0974I grew up in this area but I don’t ever recall so many military personnel in this location. It was a bit Close Encounters of the Third Kindish. I am also thinking it had something to do with Emergent being in this area. I could be wrong though. I didn’t ask a lot of questions.

5. How little access and usage there really is on the Grand & Red Cedar Rivers:

csIMG_0961This isn’t a new idea to use our rivers as an attraction. I am still uncertain why so many buildings have their backside facing the rivers, why we don’t have easier access points or that we no longer offer any boat rentals in the area. I remember Potter Park renting canoes. I also remember a River Festival that had a boat parade down the Grand River in downtown Lansing.csIMG_9120aaIMG_2048aaaIMG_2060f

6. How many “rural” areas there are within the city limits:

csIMG_0668In every direction of the city there was some sort of rural area. From corn fields, to wooded plots, to unpaved roads to vast open fields, Lansing has some really non urban spots. The north side would have very small, bungalow type houses sitting on an acre of property. There’s a strip of houses on the west side that have sprawling, riverfront property. It was also surprising how many farm houses were still present.

Church Hill Downs areacsIMG_3366

Jones Lake AreacsIMG_5827

Off Northrup on the south sidecsIMG_6584

7. The walkway from Judicial Building to the Capitol:

It stretches from Martin Luther King Blvd. to Capitol St. and is pedestrian only. aaimg_4918v

8. Scott Sunken Garden (and everything in this area)IMG_0205This hidden gem of an area still amazes me. If you figure out how to park at Cooley Garden you can check out the Sunken Garden, the Women’s Historical Society, and the R.E. Olds plaques. It’s worth the walk.csIMG_0175csIMG_0208csIMG_4650

9. How really difficult some places were to walk:IMG_7285csIMG_5107Aurelius Rd was one of the worse streets for walking. From the lack of sidewalks south of Mt. Hope to the I-96 over pass with knee-high ledges preventing a fall, I think this area truly needs some updating. I am so thankful that Mid-MEAC and AARP grouped up for the walkability audit. It’s really worth the effort with 17% of Lansing residents not owning a car.csIMG_7542
10. Village Summit: csIMG_3063 csIMG_3251The little micro community center set in the middle of a beleaguered neighborhood. I first found myself here with Lunch with a Purpose. We spent an hour cleaning and organizing games, toys, clothes and books; all donations to help those that needed them. This house, bought with retirement money from two local teachers who didn’t want to see the house fall into the wrong hands, became the epicenter of hope in this area off Washington and Barnes. They provide lunches for the kids during the summer. They offer computer access for parents searching for jobs. They built multiple urban gardens to help feed the neighbors. They built a community where there was truly a need for one. csIMG_7454

Still Telling My Story

csIMG_6544I like this. I really, really like this. I am sitting at 1133 South Washington Ave.; the newly energized AA Creative Corridor (that’s another blog), with my photographs from a three year journey on the walls. I have friends, family and even strangers that stop and read through each of my placards for the photos on display. I get feedback and questions. I have really great conversations with the people who pass through. What I really like is the relaxation of this new part. Before, when I talked about City Saunter the question always came up; “how much more do you have to walk?” This suspension of completion always irritated me. I know it makes perfect sense to ask, but I felt like because the project was unfinished it was dismissible. I would feel exhausted thinking about how much work I still had to do. Now that all the walking is complete, I get to analyze it. I get to theorize it. I get to share it. I really enjoy that part. I’ve found through this analysis part that there are many aspects to this project and it’s often hard to settle on just one as the most significant.

IMG_1541_1There’s the photography. I loved that I was able to use my journey to solidify my love of photography. I also love that it is through the photographs that I get to share Lansing. For the few moments you take to look at the photographs, you LIKE Lansing, you really like Lansing. It’s gorgeous and fun and exciting from the perspective of this exhibit. I enjoy bringing that to people.csIMG_5114Then there’s the process; the how I worked my way through all the streets of Lansing. I didn’t systematically walk the streets. I used events, and volunteering and familiarity to branch out across the city. This allowed me the chance to get into a lot of different aspects of the city as a venue. I remember a few years ago Lori Lanspeary the Leisure Marketing Manager for Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau invited me to Lugnut’s stadium for her birthday because “I was helping her do her job and she wanted to thank me”. I hadn’t even met her! It was these type of piggy backing that allowed me the greatest opportunity with this project; meeting amazing people that were also trying to make Lansing amazing. We all #lovelansing.IMG_9364_crop

aaIMG_4871gThen there was the actual walking part. A woman just came in today and after checking out the exhibit looked at me and said, “You look amazing.  I mean you did all that walking”. She then took me to the photo that LSJ took of me in February 2011. My face is much rounder in that photo than what it is today. I think she was a bit embarrassed but I understood what she meant. I was walking a lot; 535 miles to be exact! From September 4 to October 4 I walked 197 miles. On October 3rd alone I walked 29 miles and biked about 5 more. It was 10 hours of exercising! There is no way I could have ever done that before. Twenty Nine Miles!! I have it colored in orange on the map at the gallery; I’ll show it to you!IMG_9104I’m sure there are other aspects to this project that I haven’t even gotten yet. There has definitely been this “opening of doors” effect that still astounds me, especially as I sit here in gorgeous REO Town, in an historic building, diligently working on the next aspect of this journey.gallery_novCome down to 1133 Washington Ave this week to catch an encore presentation of the City Saunter Exhibit. I’ll be here from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. every day this week. There’s no need to knock, the doors will surely be open!

City Saunter Gallery

I realized I might not have officially put this out there. I have been sitting at 1133 South Washington Ave since finishing my final walk October 4. Each day I get my kids ready for school and onto the bus then I get ready and drive into Lansing to watch over my exhibit. It has really been a lot of fun! This space also houses Good Fruit Video, UnoDeuce Multimedia, I’m A Beer Hound and Soulful Earth Herbals. Each time I come into “work” I enjoy this group more and more. They are all entrepreneurs, putting their heart and soul into their work. These businesses are the perfect examples I sought out on my walks and here I am amongst them.  If this ends up being my final days here I want to express how much I’ve enjoyed it! If something else grows from this experience I will truly feel I have been blessed. Again, I would like to thank all the people and businesses that offered sponsorship to get me here! I hope you’ve had time to stop by and see what your donation created. I will forever be thankful for this experience and I am still shocked when people thank me. It’s been a symbiotic relationship for sure!

Sincerely,

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