As Bob Trezise, President and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP)
points out, "The psychological effects of blight on a community is devastating, and compromises our ability to retain and attract talent to the region." So how does LEAP plan to address this issue, and attract future generations of movers and shakers to the capital region? With art, what else?
Another believer in the power of art to restore communities is the PNC Foundation
. Just a few years after LEAP started their annual Public Art for Communities Grant program, the PNC Foundation offered to match one of their grants. Together, LEAP and PNC now award $30,000 every year to three communities in the Tri-county areas looking to install new and exciting public art displays.
This year's recipients are the City of Lansing in partnership with Downtown Lansing Inc
for the city of Charlotte, and the City of Mason
. As Josh Holliday, LEAP's Tri-County Development & Placemaking Manager explains it, "We provide the money, but the cities who receive the grants are in charge of selecting the artists."
"Each community has to adopt a public art policy in order to apply for our grant." Holliday says, But all of the cities and communities in the Tri-county area have. Which says something about these places. People want art in their community spaces, and they want to know how to go about getting it. It was a need we identified, and so we created a road map for the process. And the results, as you can see, have been incredible!"
They've been at it a while now, and you've probably seen (or even used) a few of the pieces from previous years. Not sure which ones were funded by LEAP and PNC Foundation? Well, if you've ever put your bike in one of the creative bike racks in Grand Ledge
, then you've already made use of some of them. There's also the unmissable 16-foot stainless-steel sculpture, titled Prosperity, that stands at the intersection of West Oakland Avenue and West Saginaw Street in Lansing, and the four artistic fence panels installed last year in East Lansing's 'Artist Alley'.
It's an exciting prospect to consider - the fact that Lansing and its surrounding communities are home to an ever-growing collection of artworks. There are 24 in total, and the number will only get larger with each passing year. On October 31st, three new pieces will be unveiled, and we look forward to seeing how each one reflects a unique community and betters life for the people who live there.
Source: Josh Holliday, Tri-County Development & Placemaking Manager, LEAP
Writer: Sarah Hillman, News Editor
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