Solar-Powered Metal Murals Planned For The New BWL Substation

REO Town, which has hosted a huge boom in development during recent years, will be home to a new and exciting art project this summer. The Board of Water and Light has been hard at work creating the new Central Substation on the corner of W. Malcolm X St and Washington Ave. But it's not the substation that's creating the buzz around town.

While the station was in the development stages, BWL met with community members to address potential issues. The dilemma? If the substation was being built at the gateway to REO Town, it needed to reflect the style, architectural elements, and cultural diversity of that neighborhood. The solution? Art, obviously.

So BWL set aside a budget of $20,000, and asked The Arts Council of Greater Lansing to help them find the right people to make this dream a reality. Months of planning, searching and debating followed. 17 proposals were submitted by artists from all over Michigan. But in the end, the choice was clear - Caitlin Gwinn and Dane Vermeulen of Michigan Imagery.

The pair revealed their plans for three solar powered murals, entitled 'City Rhythm'. Two will be mounted on the northeast and southeast corners of the substation to act as a welcoming gateway into REOTown. The third mural will be a stand alone piece, placed above a public gathering space created to host special events like festivals and other cultural activities. The piece will be solar powered, so the display will change as the sun goes down each night.

However, exciting as this is, it's only the beginning. "The BWL is committed to investing in and supporting public art for the substation walls that will reflect the cultural diversity of our community. Part of that commitment includes investing $20,000 every three years to bring new art to the substation." says Amy Adamy, Communications Manager, BWL.

"It's a long term commitment to the community," explains Deborah E. Mikula, Arts Council executive director. "THis is the first year and they're doing murals. In three years time, when the next $20,000 is invested, it'll probably be sculpture. After that who knows?"

Not us. But we're looking forward to finding out.




Source: Amy Adamy, Communications Manager, BWL
             Deborah E. Mikula, Arts Council executive director.
Writer: Sarah Hillman, News Editor

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