Tag Archives: Peace of Lansing

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 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.


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 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.


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


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


As great as it is to have these continued festivals it should also be pointed out that quite a few other activities are frequently happening in downtown REO Town. Every Friday AA Creative Corridor hosts dancing. The second and fourth Fridays have Salsa Capital dancing and first and third Fridays have Sugar House Blues Dancing.Sugar House Blues Dancing

Ixion Theatre EnsembleThe theater group Ixion Theatre Ensemble also performs multiple times a year in this location with the play Shipwrecked opening February 14.

The opening debut of The Robin Theater at 1105 S. Washington Ave. sometime later this year will provide the area with a fresh and exciting performance venue. Quite a few familiar faces are coordinating efforts to create this space, including members of the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle, who have already performed in the space.

LUVS performing at TEDxLansing

Last summer Co:Space opened its doors as a new collaborative workspace for state workers, traveling business people and IT Professionals that might need a location to work that fits their specific needs. The brain child of Scott McLean, Vice President of Operations at New Horizon and Ryan Kinkaid of Kinkaid Henry Building Company, this facility provides the perfect centralized location for professionals to create and connect.

REO Town Bike RackAs REO Town continues to drive forward and with staple businesses like LEAP, St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame, Leroy’s Classic Bar & GrillSoulful Earth Herbals, REO Town Pub, REACH Art Studio, Cuttin’ Up Barbershop, Just B Yoga, Good Fruit Video, Uno Deuce Multimedia, Studio Intrigue Architects and Foliage Design Systems (the short list) firmly in place, you may want to put on the brakes and visit one of Lansing’s actively artistic areas.Cooley Gardens Scott's Sunken Garden

Skyline in REO Town

Rivers EdgeREO TOWN signMoores River Park

All images © Ariniko Artistry, who has a studio in REO Town.

Creating a Festival

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

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

Peace Treats

A week and a half ago I hosted an event at the Lansing City Market. It was called Peace of Lansing and it coordinated with an international day of peace and ceasefire by Peace One Day’s creator Jeremy Gilley. When I first decided to put this day of celebration into motion I had created a list of objectives; garden surplus, mayor speaking, river boat rides, reading circles, teacher school supply donations, used book fair, police meet & greet, flash mobs and singing. Not all of these objectives were met. However, a couple went over quite well and I would surely consider them successful. One of these was our teacher school supply collection. Not only did we receive huge donations of pencils, pens, paper, glue, markers and hand sanitizer, we also received an amazing basket full of school supplies and goodies from the vendors at the Lansing City Market. Now my job, post peace event, was to figure out a good and fair way of distributing these treasures. I tried calling the Lansing School District to get an email sent out, but never got a call back. My next thought was to use my most fast and accessible means; Facebook. I posted the photo of the basket and asked my 619 friends to send me names of people who they thought would be interested in the basket and who worked at any of the Lansing Schools. I received 13 names. I hope that when we have our Peace of Lansing event in 2013 I will come up with a much better way of raffling off our donations, but for now this was the best I could do. At this point I had been able to combine all the donated school supplies into 6 additional boxes. I had seven boxes/baskets to give away. So I wrote all the names onto individual sheets of paper and put them into a bag. I didn’t want this to end up being me pulling names out of a hat, so I decided to bring in someone from the community; another #lovelansing person. I had a meeting planned in Old Town at 11:30 a.m. so I planned to bring the donations to Old Town and hunt down someone I know who would be willing to draw names out. After my meeting, I quickly scanned the streets for someone I knew; no one. Then I thought, I could walk to Artie’s Filling Station, someone perfect would be there. And I was right! Although there wasn’t anyone there enjoying a specialty coffee, the owner was there. John Miller saw me walking up and opened his window with a smile. Yes, the recently awarded 10 over the Next 10 recipient would be perfect for the job!
I immediately explained what I would need him to do and he was more than eager to assist. Within minutes he had pulled out 7 names, one at a time. I labeled each slip with its winning box number and gave John a small detail about each person. A couple were names I didn’t know; friends of a friend. One was a well deserving community member from Village Summit. Marcus Brown was also my son’s math teacher while he attended Riddle Middle Magnet a few years ago. A few were friends of mine from high school and I was really happy to see their names. Finally the large Lansing City Market basket went to a good friend of mine who recently experienced an emotionally draining death in the family. Despite some thinking the drawing was rigged (her words, not mine) I was entirely happy with the outcome.
I drove to a non-sauntered road and walked my way to Lansing STEM Academy on the south side. In the office I told the secretaries what I was doing and who I needed. The first one I didn’t know; Brett Stallworth, but I was happy to explain why he had won, how he had won and what he had won. He seemed a little confused but over all very appreciative of the gesture. Then it was time for my friend. “They’re still pasting” I was told. “She’ll be here in a minute”. Soon, I saw a single file row of children pass by the window. They silently stood shoulder to shoulder waiting for the next command. The door opened and in walked almost 20 little people. They eagerly listened as Jody explained that I was Miss Ariniko and that I had brought an award for her and all of them.
They ooed and awwwed over the flavored popcorn and pretzels, but even were more excited about the notebooks, cheering with fist pumps into the air. They thanked me and hugged me. They smiled and laughed. They were happy because their teacher was happy. I hugged Jody and was off to make this magic happen all over again at four more locations. What a great day!

*Thank you again to those that donated so that we can make these moments happen. It does make a difference.