East Lansing begins transformation of two alleys into art-inspired corridors

The revitalization of two alleys and nearby public spaces in downtown East Lansing is underway, promising to further enhance the artistic flair of a city that prides itself on being mid-Michigan's city of the arts.
 
The transformation of the Grove Street alley and pedestrian alley in the 500 block of E. Grand River Ave. will include new lighting, planters, landscaping, outdoor game tables, and chairs and benches. An East Lansing themed public art mural by local artist Julian Van Dyke will be installed in the Grove Street location. A 15-foot by 3-foot mosaic created by MacDonald Middle School students and area seniors will become the focal point of the pedestrian alley near Sweet Lorraine's.
 
"We began envisioning this project about a year ago," says Community Development Analyst Heather Pope with the City of East Lansing. "It evolved into an idea of what we could do in our downtown to provide more gathering spaces to draw people down here when we're not in the midst of a festival or other city-wide activity."
 
The Artists Alley project was launched with a mid-year 2015 crowdfunding campaign. When the Patronicity campaign met then exceeded it's goal of $45,000 by November, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation pitched in matching funds.
 
Pope says the project is on the fast track to finished around the time of the annual Arts Festival in mid-May or by the end of that month. A ribbon cutting and "Finale in the Alley" event will celebrate the completion of the two projects sometime in early summer.
 
"It's always great to see people downtown shopping or dining," Pope says. "And it's also great to see people downtown enjoying the amenities. All the pieces are starting to come together and the community stepped right up to make this a very successful project."
 
Source: Heather Pope, Community Development Analyst, City of East Lansing
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
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