New 'Art Alleys' increase Mason's permanent public art displays

If you happen to be out roaming around in Mason any time soon, perhaps antiquing for Christmas gifts or enjoying the annual tree lighting ceremony and parade, you should take a few minutes to slip quietly into a few alleys and… check out the art!

Mason was one of the recipients of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and PNC Foundation's 2018 Public Art for Communities Grant. The grant funds public art that enriches and beautifies communities, creating a sense of place and drawing in visitors, all of which benefits communities around the capital region.

At the art unveiling ceremony, LEAP representatives were joined by representatives from the PNC Foundation, City of Mason Mayor Russell Whipple, and a number of regional placemaking advocates to reveal the gorgeous murals and eye-catching alley artwork now on display. From enormous colorful flowers splashed across the side of a building, to an assortment of joyfully painted figurines and rocks, Mason is a brighter community for its public art displays. And this year's additions are no exception.

Addressing the gathered onlookers at the unveiling, Bob Trezise, President and CEO of LEAP, shared his insistence that art makes us all better. “Investment in public art is proven to increase economic opportunity and activity, and contribute to a strong sense of place." Trezise said. “For six years LEAP’s Public Art for Communities grant program has advanced creative methods for developing stronger downtowns and community spaces. This project is another demonstration on our regions innovation approach for economic development”

Timothy Salisbury, the PNC regional president for mid-Michigan, shared as well, reaffirming PNC's well-known practice of investing in the communities they serve. “PNC’s ongoing support of LEAP’s public art grant program reflects our Main Street values and commitment to the communities where we conduct business. This program is an example of what can be accomplished through strong public-private partnerships.”

The three Art Alleys were the result of five local artists, working together to create installations that will help to create a sense of community, foster conversation, and build relationships in Mason. The alleys, now creative and inviting spaces, can be used for social gatherings, events, and even local festivals. As Mayor Whipple pointed out, by converting underutilized public spaces into attractive assets, "both residents and visitors will experience our community in a whole new way!"

So come on down to Mason and check out the back alleys. And while you're here, stay for a coffee, a meal, and a little shopping - the community here is ready to welcome you to their growing city.

Source: Victoria Meadows, Marketing, Communications, and Talent Director, LEAP
Writer: Sarah Hillman, News Editor, Capital Gains

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