Tag Archives: Lansing

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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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.

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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.

Lansing the Mighty Phoenix

ccIMG_9313When I first took up my city of Lansing walk about, the city had taken a turn for the worse. General Motors had just closed the door on multiple factories, leaving a huge hole in the Lansing economy. After walking through this city for three years (from 2010 to 2013) I began to notice an uptick in many parts of the city that were desolate at the beginning of the walking project. Last week I was able to tour one of those buildings.ccIMG_9334Back in 2010 I attended an Ignite Lansing event inside the Knapp’s building. It was unoccupied at the time and perfect for this event which likes to expand the notions of usable space. Creating an energetic and exciting event within a space that hasn’t been used in a long time didn’t come without its problems. There were rumors that when the electricity was turned on many of the toilets and faucets within the building began to flood. There was evidence of vagabond squatting within the building as well as many unsafe areas that needed to be blocked off. Fortunately the woman’s bathroom was functioning; however the men had to use a port a potty located outside. ccIMG_9391On the night of the Ignite event I somehow found myself with a group of explorers who invited me to travel to the roof of the building. I didn’t say no. I have long been intrigued by old buildings and found the experience exhilarating. I remember thinking that it was a shame such a building sat empty and decaying.ccEOS 70D_7262Soon after the Ignite event another rumor began that the Eydes, who owned the Knapp’s building, were planning to renovate it. Four years later the first tenants moved in and as part of the Lansing Maker Week, The Runway, a fashion incubator, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and an open house. After four years I was able to get back inside the Knapp’s building where everything broken and old had been replaced with shiny and new. ccEOS 70D_7257The Sales area of the Runway ccEOS 70D_7253Jeff Henry, Business Consultant for The Runway, shares the pertinent information about this new fashion incubator with guests Melanie Rand and Norma Sanchez who were out and about during their lunch hour. ccEOS 70D_7241Candice Pizzo, owner and designer of Alex + Jayde Designs, receives visitors during The Runway’s open house. 

Lansing United

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

The full stands at East Lansing Soccer Complex

Sometimes in Lansing you come across something new and exciting without really knowing how you haven’t known about it before. Sometimes it’s a passing blip on your Facebook wall. Sometimes a friend in going and mentions it to you. Sometimes someone you know creates the entire branding for a new sports team and his son plays on their reserve team. Even this last part didn’t get me fully interested in this new team. It wasn’t until I was asked to write a “break out” piece for a local paper about Lansing United, that I finally took the time to really find out about this new sports team.

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

Lansing United vs. Minnesota United Reserves

Lansing United is the newest members of the National Premier Soccer League. The NPSL is the fastest growing national soccer league in the United States. Lansing United is an expansion team in the Great Lakes Conference. Last week this team came in first place in the Great Lakes Conference and moved on to the playoffs. There were four teams that got to play in the Midwest Region Playoffs. The game I was asked to cover was Saturday’s semi final game. Lansing United played against the Minnesota United Reserves.


 

I really didn’t know what to expect when I got there but I thought I would wing it. I had looked up the address before leaving. The home games are all held at the East Lansing Soccer Complex. I didn’t even know this place existed.  I had a brief memory of this place from about 6 years ago as a dirt pile at the end of a new walking trail. It’s amazing how quickly things can grow in this area.

Walking up the walkway I already could feel the intense playfulness atmosphere. There were children running around passing a soccer ball between them. In fact almost every kid had a ball. There was a pizza truck parked to the side of the pavilion and stacks of pizzas were being carried into the pavilion. There were lots of people dressed in bright baby blue vests. These are the volunteers that answered questions, watched the gate and sold you tickets. It’s very professional looking.

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

Dave Ellis, the media director said that without the support of so many, this would not have come together as well as it had. He wants to thank everyone for all their support.

Inside the gate the stands were full. I found out later from the media director that the stands were full for every game. Not only were the stands full but a good chunk of grass had folks sitting on it. I would say there were close to 1000 people watching this game.I quickly made my way to the very verbose cheering section. I had been told to get a photo of them by Camron Gnass whose creative studio, Traction created the branding for the team. The sea of blue was easy to spot as well as the constant singing, chanting and yelling that came from this section. And if that didn’t draw me down there the smoke canisters and flying flag would have.

Ariniko Artistry Lansing, Michigan Photographer

Sons of Ransom- The #1 Supporters of Lansing United. Their name comes from Ransom E. Olds.

I found a place nearby and watched as the game began. The last time I watched a soccer game was when my boys were on a team. It’s been a long time. I have never watched adults play soccer. I was instantly amazed by the stamina, agility and speed of these players. The maneuvering of the ball with their feet reminded me of ballet, until they pulled that leg back and gave that ball a full on kick. There is a fascinating balance between the precise positioning of the ball with the feet and then the aggressive full on assault to get that ball into the goal. It really is amazing to watch.aa-EOS 70D_0046AA-EOS 70D_0074 AA-EOS 70D_0087After getting some really great shots I left. I found out through social media they had won the semi final game and that meant they would play Sunday as well in the finals.AA-EOS 70D_0094I brought my family back for that one and we watched this inaugural Lansing team play at an East Lansing sports field and win the Midwest Region Championship.

I am so glad Lansing has another win.

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

Winter Walk

aaIMG_9959Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I did something silly today. I weighed myself. It was such a foolish stunt to try so soon after Christmas and two weeks of being pretty much snowed/iced in. I guess the silver lining is it’s not as high as it usually is this time of year. I’m really thankful for those 200 miles of walking I did last September to finish my City Saunter project right about now! I have realized that since I completed my walking project I’ve really missed the walking I was doing. I’m not sure why I didn’t keep it up. Today’s weigh in plus a new lens waiting for me at the East Lansing post office was the perfect incentive for a nice winter walk. I decided to walk the Lansing River Trail starting at the trail head south of Kalamazoo St. It’s one of my favorite locations and not too far from my house.aaIMG_0023Snow covered Bridge on Lansing River Trail ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I was very happy to find that the parking area was plowed and there were three other cars there. I am often amazed by Lansing’s exercising community. After dressing for the adventure, placing my lens in my pockets (I like winter because of the extra pockets!) and ducking into the strap of my camera, I pulled up my mapmyrun app on my phone (boy this is feeling a lot like a City Saunter) and started down the path.  Unfortunately the cleared path was short lived and soon I was trekking through a foot of snow. It must have been a Lansing Township lapse because the trail cleared off again and remained that way for the rest of my walk. Today was still quite chilly. The expected high is 17 but I think the wind chill is still pretty close to zero. I would have been just fine except I had forgotten to put on long john’s and I kept taking my gloves off to take photos. Even so, I was able to walk 3 miles in the woods on the river trail.aaIMG_9892 Frozen Branches on Red Cedar River  ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9906Frozen Branches on Red Cedar River ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I have always loved the serenity of a winter walk. I love to cross country ski and would head out to Lake Lansing North and ski the trails. There are not nearly as many people out this time of year and many times you are the only one. On this walk I only past two others, both runners. For much of this walk I was alone. On the way back I actually became numb and the cold no longer bothered me. I found myself wading into the deeper snow for better photos and even stopping and listening to the sounds. Even though there weren’t any people out there I found quite a few animals out and about. At one point I was hearing this loud rustling sound and couldn’t figure it out. Finally I looked up and there were squirrels in the tree tops scurrying about.aaIMG_0002Squirrel in trees on Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I also found woodpeckers and ducks.aaIMG_9978  Woodpecker in tree on Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9942Ducks in the Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9925Duck in the Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

A friend of mine who recently moved to Ludington posted on Facebook the quote: “No such thing as bad weather…. just bad gear.” I think I would have to agree with him. We live in a gorgeous land, where we have different environments all the time. I think it’s a shame not to enjoy them.aaIMG_9939Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

Year In Review

one_year

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