Tag Archives: Lansing Michigan

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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“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.

Ariniko Artistry Greater Lansing Photographer

Lansing, MI view from the Boji Tower

  1. Lansing, MI
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.

  1. Traverse City
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.

Ariniko Artistry

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.

Ariniko Artistry Photography

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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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.

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

12 Locations in Lansing, Michigan that are spectacular and all ours!

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  • Cooley Garden & Scott Sunken Garden– I’ve written about Cooley Garden here during my City Saunter project. This gorgeous park sits right in downtown Lansing yet you would never think it was. With the majestic tree line that blocks out the skyline, traffic and city bustle it’s easy to believe this park is located in a less urban area.

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  • Shigematsu Memorial Garden-This gorgeously landscaped koi pond with other Japanese themed objects surrounding it, is located on the North West section of LCC Campus. Inside the blocked off garden you find a private walking path, koi pond and waterfall. Its isolation from Capital Ave. and the rest of LCC makes this the perfect place to reflect, meditate and relax.

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  • The Grand River-This beautiful asset to the Lansing area provides the perfect sights, travel, pathway and nature setting. Its greatness throughout Lansing, from west to east and then to the north provides stunning visual sights and boating adventures all year round.

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  • Turner-Dodge Mansion-Lansing has a rich history and beautiful buildings truly show the majesty of our past. The preservation of our oldest buildings shows Lansing’s dedication to history and beauty.

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  • Hawk Island-Twenty years ago this was a gravel pit that kids snuck into. Now it’s a flourishing, expanding family adventure! It now hosts not only picnicking, parks, boating, fishing, cycling, and walking trails but also a winter snowboarding & tubing hill and members only dog park. It also has a fantastic water play area for the kids in the Lansing hot summers.

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  • Francis Park-This is another of those tucked away beautiful gardens. The grounds are well kept and produce some of the area’s most gorgeous roses. Its location above the river provides excellent views with a very relaxed environment. It’s a must see in the spring through summer months.

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  • Theo Fulton Park-I found this park on my City Saunter walks and had never heard of it at all. It’s one of the most isolated parks in a neighborhood few Lansing people travel. Yet, if you travel the Grand River from Dimondale you’ve probably passed it.

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  • Crego Park-This recently reopened swampy area was once contaminated and blocked off to the public and might be why it reveals a rugged, undamaged wild feel about it. It is located directly north of Fenner Nature Center and south of the River Trail.

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  • Michigan Hall of Justice Building –This building is immaculate. If there was ever a building that represented the wealth of the city at the time it was built, it’s this building.

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  • Sycamore Golf Course– This is an amazing patch of river trail that runs south of Mt. Hope, through what use to be a full golf course, then meets up inside Scott’s Woods and eventually takes you to Hawk Island. It is probably one of the best new add ons to the river trail Lansing’s put in. It is used by walkers, bikers, nature lovers, runners, and dog walkers. It takes on the feel of a wilderness preservation and is delightful.

 

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  • Roger-Carrier House– This is another beautiful house in the Lansing area. The architecture and attention to detail makes it really stand out on Capital Ave.

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  • View from Boji Tower – If there is ever the chance to climb above Lansing, do it! Seeing the Lansing area from the Boji Tower, Capitol or even the roof top of one of the buildings in downtown Lansing expands the beauty of this little city.  The sites from the top of the Lansing Capitol will be a moment I cherish for the rest of my life.

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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

Thankful


Last week I went on a 7.72 mile walk. I chose not to write my blog until today. I had headed to Old Town because I wanted to have a little bit of good cheer. Old Town makes me happy. Getting pleasant salutations first thing out of my car by Chad Jordon, the owner of Cravings Gourmet Popcorn, makes me happy. Walking the river trail makes me happy. One of the reasons I went to Old Town was I was creating a photo of myself for a project a group of #lovelansing folks were doing for a friend; a good friend. She had recently been diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. It broke my heart to think about all she had been through and all that she was going to go through. I needed this picture to be in a good and happy place.

After taking my photo to my satisfaction, I started my walk. I had a destination to the north. I would get off the river trail at the Turner Dodge Mansion and walk Grand River to MLK. There was a neighborhood in the North West corner I needed to get to. If I had the energy I would walk Filley to Turner and back to my parked car in Old Town. I didn’t know how far it would be but I was prepared for a good walk. As I walked and after I got home I decided that this walk made me realize a few things I was thankful for. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving I thought that very appropriate. So here is my City Saunter list of things I am thankful for.

I am thankful to have made friends with an incredible, active, energetic and creative group of people. This is a group who is willing to take ridiculous, funny, spirited and creative photos of themselves doing crazy, happy, inspiring things to send a positive, hopeful message to our friend who started chemo treatments today. The printed book of these images was 50 pages and was presented to her yesterday.

I am thankful that I have the ability and stamina to walk 7.72 miles. I am thankful I don’t have injuries that keep me from walking. I know many who can’t.
I am thankful on my walks to be on streets that still produce such vivid memories of my childhood.
I am thankful to live in the Lansing area. My family is here and my husband’s family is here.
I am thankful to my friend who started cancer treatments because she gave me the courage to get tested myself and finally get some peace of mind. I had been putting it off for almost 10 years.
I am thankful for Old Town, because I love it there.
I am thankful for Lansing’s River Trail because it’s the heart of Michigan’s Trails.

I am thankful for Lansing’s rivers even if it stinks sometimes, it’s so pretty!
I am thankful for life and trials and death because it breaks the norm and forces growth.
I am thankful for friends who have supported this project and me.
I am thankful for family for loving me with all their imperfections and despite my own.
I am thankful for my faith because without it I feel I would be so broken I couldn’t move.
Apologies for the typo!
Tomorrow I will be thankful for a great meal cooked by my husband’s mom who is an amazingly loving and kind person.
I am thankful that I can laugh and be happy and trust that even something really bad can be turned into something good.

Happy Thanksgiving!