First Impressions Program empowers artists to contribute to regional growth

The City of Lansing reaffirmed its commitment to investing in arts and culture as a way to drive economic development through a recent reshaping of a program that provides funding in support of the arts.

In late July, the city unveiled the First Impressions Program—a cooperative program involving the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. The new program ups the amount of funding available through arts-related grants by $20,000 for a total of $140,000. Formerly known as the City of Lansing Sense of Place in the Arts Program, First Impressions offers three types of funding and support to Lansing creatives, artists and arts organizations.

The three categories include Creative Placemaking Grants, Arts Impact Projects, and Programmatic Support. The Creative Placemaking Grants provide from $1,000 to $20,000 to a variety of specific projects by arts and arts organizations. Arts Impact Projects provide $75,000 in funds for an individual permanent project and installation. Programmatic Support is by invitation and provides $45,000 to supports arts organizations that meet specific criteria.

"We know that intentional strategic planning placemaking efforts are a driver for attracting new talent and businesses, and for keeping the great talent and businesses we already have, right here," says LEAP President and CEO Bob Trezise. "The City of Lansing continues to be a true leader in placement activity within our region, and this increase in funding for the arts and culture underscores that commitment."

The First Impression Program strives to do just that: provide a positive first impression of Lansing through a strong arts-focused community. That image, say organizers, invites tourists, visitors and potential new residents to the area and creates pride for current residents.

"We are so proud of our city for its support of the arts in Lansing and the region as a whole," says Arts Council Executive Director Deborah E. Mikula. "The arts play a huge role in creating successful cities, and we are so pleased to present the program that helps put our city in this league."

For guidelines and eligibility criteria for all First Impression categories visit the Arts Council funding page here. Deadlines for Creative Placemaking and Programmatic Support grants are Sept. 15, 2017, with grant periods running Oct. 1, 2017-Sept. 30, 2018. The 2017-18 Arts Impact recipient was selected through the previous program, with activities underway to install a permanent artwork and create a town square in Southwest Lansing.

Source: Victoria Meadows, Marketing, Communications and Talent Director, LEAP
Writer/Editor: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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