‘Arts Night Out’ colorizes Old Town
By Shauna Stocken
“Arts Night Out” breaks the monotony of seeing the same decorations and artwork, both inside and out of Lansing’s Old Town shops, restaurants and galleries.
In May 2016, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing established an art event for professional and non-professional artists to partake in throughout the town.
“It started as this great joint marketing adventure between as many businesses as wanted to participate in each neighborhood,” said Taylor Rupp, administrative assistant and “Arts Night Out” coordinator for the Arts Council of Greater Lansing.
“Old Town was such a pretty location for it because of the type of businesses that were here and the condensed area of all of the local businesses that were participating; it’s such a walkable event.”
At the last event on Friday, Sept. 7, a total of 18 participating businesses featured artists and their work from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will continue on the first Friday of every other month, even in the winter months to come.
“There are always a variety of businesses that participate,” Rupp said. “It just depends on the month and the different venues availability. We have had anywhere from 11 to 31 venues just in Old Town participating.”
Local artist Estina Banks, said she is known as “The Map Lady.” Banks sells Michigan-themed necklaces, earrings, key chains, vintage maps, sheet music and more, all constructed from recycled paper and other reusable materials.
“This is actually my first ‘Arts Night Out.’ I’m actually a newer vendor here,” Banks said.
Banks’ booths of recycled crafts and jewelry are available for purchases at Old Town’s Great Lakes Arts and Gifts shop. Banks’ prices range from $5 to $50 per item.
“I think that everyone needs a creative outlet, it’s always good to build the economy and to buy locally,” Banks said.
Over the past two years, Lansing native Stephanie Joy Hogan has participated in six Arts Night Out events.
“The main event for me is the big canvas we’re unveiling tonight,” Hogan said.
During three-scheduled “Arts Night Out” events in 2017, community members left their mark on a canvas that was unveiled at the last event, Sept. 7.
“Piper and Gold (Old Town Public Relation firm) put down a big tarp, and they put the canvas on the tarp with a bunch of paint and literally everyone that walked by got to add to the canvas,” Hogan said.
“Once it was done they handed it over to me and I sort of transformed it into a complete piece. It’s a piece that I finished, but truly and literally the entire community had their hands on it.”
Hogan said she continues to participate in “Arts Night Out” because art is the heartbeat and culture of a community.
Join Hogan and others for the next scheduled Arts Night Out event, Friday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.
For a neighborhood map and more information on the event, visit http://myartsnightout.com or check out the event on Facebook or Twitter.