Lansing Wins Next American City and IBM Smarter Cities Web Challenge
IBM and the Next American City publication posed this question online for the Smarter Cities web challenge: “Tell us why your city is the Next American City.” It was simple: the winner was selected on the amount of submissions received from a city, and Lansing blew everyone out of the water. According to Tivoni Devor, director of partnerships for Next American City, there were several cities that tried to organize posting momentum via Twitter and other outlets. “But the #LoveLansing crew was definitely the most organized and organic team in the competition,” says Devor. “About halfway into the contest they had become clear winners.” With encouragement online to post onto the Smarter Cities page, and some nudging from @NextAmCity on Twitter, Lansing posts were consistent. Winning this competition has drawn attention to the Capital region. “I think it really opened up a lot of eyes as to all the great things happening in Lansing,” adds Devor. “Via twitter alone, probably well over 100,000 people were exposed to Lansing. It will also hopefully inspire other cities to be more active and replicate some of the successful projects that were shared by Lansing.” Source: Tivoni Devor, Next American City Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

Lansing Wins Next American City and IBM Smarter Cities Web Challenge

IBM and the Next American City publication posed this question online for the Smarter Cities web challenge: “Tell us why your city is the Next American City.” It was simple: the winner was selected on the amount of submissions received from a city, and Lansing blew everyone out of the water. According to Tivoni Devor, director of partnerships for Next American City, there were several cities that tried to organize posting momentum via Twitter and other outlets. “But the #LoveLansing crew was definitely the most organized and organic team in the competition,” says Devor. “About halfway into the contest they had become clear winners.” With encouragement online to post onto the Smarter Cities page, and some nudging from @NextAmCity on Twitter, Lansing posts were consistent. Winning this competition has drawn attention to the Capital region. “I think it really opened up a lot of eyes as to all the great things happening in Lansing,” adds Devor. “Via twitter alone, probably well over 100,000 people were exposed to Lansing. It will also hopefully inspire other cities to be more active and replicate some of the successful projects that were shared by Lansing.” Source: Tivoni Devor, Next American City Writer: Suban Nur Cooley

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

We have a plan for our future.

In 2009, hundreds of people in the Greater Lansing Region had begun talking together -  about what’s next. We live and work in the middle of Michigan, which is itself in the middle of cathartic change as we move from the industrial models of the Old Economy to the global imperatives of the New Economy. Yet amid financial difficulty and doomsayers, there is great hope. In our midst, businesses are growing, entrepreneurs are launching start-ups, ideas are flowing from our colleges and universities, and people are beginning to envision what could be next.

We love with region, this place we call home. We have been innovators and dreamers and fighters. We still are. And we all want the same future: business growth, strong and vibrant communities, more and better jobs, a healthy and diverse region.

But the new economic realities will require a different way of thinking and a different level of cooperation. If a more prosperous future is our goal, here is one path to get us there. We call it Greater Lansing Next. 

Greater Lansing Next is a road map to our future. Seven strategies, hundreds of volunteers, one goal. Be Great. Greater Lansing. 

www.GreaterLansingNext.com 

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.