Deluxe Inn: Rethinking Public Space

The Ingham County Land Bank took possession of a long-troubled motel with a history of drugs, assaults, and other crimes.  This site was a crime magnet, dragging down the surrounding neighborhood with it.  Land Bank Chair Eric Schertzing, an extremely talented local artist named Samskee DeBourbon, and members of Accelerate Lansing, teamed up to temporarily transform this den of crime into a hotspot of arts, entertainment, and engagement.  Over 50 artists from throughout the Midwest and Northeast spent the weekend in Lansing doing their work.  Joining them were more than 3,000 visitors from all over Mid- and Lower Michigan who came to watch the work and enjoy the week-long exhibition to follow. 
 
Many of these artists, used to having to look over their shoulder while doing their work, instead faced a different kind of distraction: inquisitive elderly residents living in a neighboring hi-rise.   People of all walks of life – grandmas, children, recent immigrants, local residents, suburbanites, MSU professors, former Deluxe Inn Guests, local politicians - all came to share the same space and enjoy the fruits of this talented labor. 
Welcome to Lansing, MI. We love it here.

Deluxe Inn: Rethinking Public Space

The Ingham County Land Bank took possession of a long-troubled motel with a history of drugs, assaults, and other crimes.  This site was a crime magnet, dragging down the surrounding neighborhood with it.  Land Bank Chair Eric Schertzing, an extremely talented local artist named Samskee DeBourbon, and members of Accelerate Lansing, teamed up to temporarily transform this den of crime into a hotspot of arts, entertainment, and engagement.  Over 50 artists from throughout the Midwest and Northeast spent the weekend in Lansing doing their work.  Joining them were more than 3,000 visitors from all over Mid- and Lower Michigan who came to watch the work and enjoy the week-long exhibition to follow. 

Many of these artists, used to having to look over their shoulder while doing their work, instead faced a different kind of distraction: inquisitive elderly residents living in a neighboring hi-rise.   People of all walks of life – grandmas, children, recent immigrants, local residents, suburbanites, MSU professors, former Deluxe Inn Guests, local politicians - all came to share the same space and enjoy the fruits of this talented labor. 

Welcome to Lansing, MI. We love it here.


Lansing Renegade Theatre Festival

Founded in 2005, the Renegade Theatre Festival exists to present a free theatre festival that creates opportunities for artists of all experience levels to offer a wide spectrum of theatre with varying techniques, production values, and styles, all completely free to the public.

Just having closed its fifth year, performances include comedy, drama, musicals, children’s theatre, performance art, readings of new works by local playwrights and improv, from some of Lansing’s most prominent theatres.

On each of the three nights, visitors will have a dozen choices with shows twice a night in traditional performance spaces and some unique locations all over Lansing’s historic Old Town.  Saturday afternoon features several children’s theatre plays.

2010 welcomed two new additions to the festival: Renegade NOW (New Original Works) where brand new plays were solicited from all over Michigan, and eight were chosen to be featured in the NOW portion of the festival.  Talk-backs with theatre professionals and audiences members were held after each performance.  The festival also added a “Feed Your Festival” Forum, featuring five experts who have grown their own festival around the country and who spoke on the benefits of a festival on a community and how to effectively grown from year to year.

And not that Renegade is about numbers, but the numbers from Renegade 2010 are pretty cool:

  • Over 1,800 audience members
  • Over 200 theatre artists
  • 23 productions
  • 18 new works
  • 10+ musicians

The Renegade Theatre festival is the only time during the theatre season when all of the producing theatres in the the area come together in one place and celebrate theatre as one community. 

A Plethora of Arts and Cultural Festivals!

In the Greater Lansing, Michigan area, over 30 festivals celebrate art and culture through exhibits, performances, cultural activities, and educational opportunities. These popular festivals, in many cases nationally-recognized, attract nearly half a million people from near and far, making Greater Lansing an attractive and vibrant place to live, work and play.
To spotlight these many festivals, the Greater Lansing Festival Alliance (GLFA) was formed in 2009 with the help of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. The GLFA’s mission is to facilitate, promote and support Greater Lansing non-profit cultural and artistic festivals in order to positively impact and enhance quality of life in the capital region. Learn more about these varied and entertaining festivals please take a look at this video or visit www.lansingfestivals.org.  For more information about the artistic and cultural talent in the Greater Lansing region please visit: www.lansingarts.org.

Lansing, MI, USA, #lovelansing, arts and cultural festivals, arts, culture

In an effort to help kids “keep learning” all summer long, a Lansing, Mich. non-profit called Keep Learning… Our Future Depends On It launched the Passport to Adventure. The summer competition gained kids and their families free or discounted access to institutions of learning, like the Impression 5 Science Center, Potter Park Zoo, Michigan State University Museum, state Capitol building and Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center, where they went on a trivia hunt. Here, the top 10 prize winners check out their “smart” rewards, ranging from a netbook, iPods and flip cams to digital cameras, a Nook and the grand prize, an iPad. Keep Learning is a volunteer organization committed to helping greater Lansing get smarter to compete in the global economy, starting with our elementary school kids and parents.

In an effort to help kids “keep learning” all summer long, a Lansing, Mich. non-profit called Keep Learning… Our Future Depends On It launched the Passport to Adventure. The summer competition gained kids and their families free or discounted access to institutions of learning, like the Impression 5 Science Center, Potter Park Zoo, Michigan State University Museum, state Capitol building and Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center, where they went on a trivia hunt. Here, the top 10 prize winners check out their “smart” rewards, ranging from a netbook, iPods and flip cams to digital cameras, a Nook and the grand prize, an iPad. Keep Learning is a volunteer organization committed to helping greater Lansing get smarter to compete in the global economy, starting with our elementary school kids and parents.

A Cultured Community

There are 221 accredited zoos and aquariums in the United States.  That may sound like a lot, but as of the year 2000, the US Census counted over 10,000 cities.  A quick memory lane math trip tells you that only 2% of US cities contain a zoo or aquarium.  Lansing is fortunate enough to be one of those cities and the community has really taken ownership of their Zoo.  Through events, donations and even every day visitation, Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan has constructed new exhibits, improved its education programs to enrich the learning environment of over 25,000 students annually and hosted guest speakers from around the globe.  The Zoo also participates in 19 endangered Species Survival Programs (SSP’s), ranging from Puerto Rican Crested Toads to Amur tigers.

Potter Park isn’t alone.  Several other cultural centers and museums speckle the cityscape and they continue to improve thanks to support from a community that gets involved.  When we invest our hearts and minds ahead of our pocketbooks, great and positive things happen.  The people of Lansing have done well to invest in both their cultural and informal educational environments.

Smarter Cities use data to guide growth

Data is not exactly the sexiest thing in the world, but in #lovelansing, our local workforce development agency Capital Area Michigan Works! partners with our regional economic development organization Leap, Inc. to help economic developers, K-12 education, higher ed and business make smarter decisions about our future.

Based on labor market information from the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives and data from the US Department of Labor, Census Bureau and elsewhere, we gather a group of businesses each year to take a look at a specific sector or trend and ask, what’s happening in this particular industry? What are the trends? Growth? Decline? Do we have the workforce to meet those businesses’ demands now? In the future? And what more can be done to support businesses?

In the past, we’ve looked at manufacturing, healthcare, construction, IT, insurance and financial services, green jobs and the creative economy, as well as what will happen in the greater Lansing economy when the Baby Boomers retire. As a result of these studies, seven trade associations have been formed and received grant funding to help specific sectors address their workforce concerns.

In 2011, we’ll be focusing on talent. As home to Michigan State University, Lansing Community College and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, along with more than a dozen other higher education institutions, we want to know what it takes to keep knowledge economy workers, and we want to know the truth about brain drain in Michigan.

Copies of the past four years’ reports are available at:

http://www.camw.org/MediaRoom