Visitors see, connect and create through new program at Lansing Art Gallery

People age 0 to 99-plus are discovering different ways to experience art through a new, interactive self-guided activity at the Lansing Art Gallery.
Through Art Encounter: SEE-CONNECT-CREATE, visitors to the gallery's exhibit space and Education Center can view a curated show, then engage in activities that tie-in to the artwork. Activities and curriculum, says Executive Director Barb Whitney, will vary from exhibit to exhibit, and might include things like inviting visitors to create their own artwork through drawing, painting or sculpting.
"We re-envisioned how we were serving the community and thought about how we could make the Lansing Art Gallery more accessible to the people we serve," says Whitney. "This program is designed to help people connect with art and to see and experience the processes that artists go through."
Art Encounter launched in January and is designed to run concurrently with changing exhibits during all open hours. The first Art Encounter connected with an exhibition of three-dimensional oil paintings by Grand Rapids artist Tatuski Hakoyama. Visitors explored Hakoyama's intricate paintings through a scavenger hunt, then created origami cranes for display in the Student Gallery or to take home. About 75 people attended the opening reception, with visitors steady throughout the month.
The second Art Encounter is under development and slated to coincide with the gallery's inaugural Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition, March 1-28. Sponsored by the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences and the MSU College of Arts and Letters, the exhibition will showcase collegiate art from across the state.
Whitney credits Education Coordinator Sydney Richards with developing the Art Encounter concept, and applauds the contributions of the galleries interns and volunteers as well. The program, too, is made possible in part with a grant of $11,648 from the Capital Region Community Foundation and a grant from the Joe D. Pentecost Foundation.
"We think about what the arts does for community, and how it's an expression of our humanity," says Whitney. "We want to offer any person as well as groups the chance to come here, express themselves, and that this is a safe, inviting place to see, connect with, and create art."
The Lansing Art Gallery welcomes individuals as well as groups from business, nonprofit and educational sectors to drop in or schedule a visit to the gallery, located at 119 N. Washington Square in downtown Lansing.
Source: Barb Whitney, Executive Director, Lansing Art Gallery
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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