NEO Center Hosts Opening of New Art Gallery In REO Town

Can art be the catalyst for urban revitalization? Tom Stewart thinks so, and he’s ready to prove it.

As president of the Center for New Enterprise Opportunity (NEO) – a small-business incubator designed to spur neighborhood revitalization in Lansing – Stewart and his board of volunteers celebrated the opening of a new art gallery in REO Town July 9.

Art Alley will feature the works of local and regional artists with the hope of drawing more people to the historic strip of South Washington Avenue.

“Art is often at the core of urban revitalization,” said Stewart as he watched volunteers put the finishing touches on the 1,100-square-foot space. “REO Town in particular is important because it’s just south of Downtown, and there are a number of beautiful buildings down there. It would be a travesty if they were lost.”

The gallery space at 1133 S. Washington Ave. was renovated entirely by volunteers. Stewart’s company, Commonwealth Enterprises, will occupy attached 1,250 square feet of office space.

The gallery currently features the work of photographic artist Lewis Smith. A retired UPS driver, Smith’s work has been featured in galleries around the Capital region and is on permanent display at Lansing Community College.

New artists will be featured monthly.

Source: Tom Stewart

Writer: Louise Knott Ahern
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