Coming to the capital roundabout on Washington Square and Michigan Avenue: a permanent art installation with a bit more inspiration than generic Christmas ornaments. With $100,000 to fund the project, the Capital Region Community Foundation has enlisted the help of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing to track down the right artist for the job.

The committee overseeing the piece on its path to installation, which includes members the City of Lansing, Downtown Lansing Inc. and Lansing Economic Area Partnership, have described their vision as “welcoming, timeless, dynamic, elegant, beautiful and strong statured.”

“We want the best representation of our community. That may or may not be from a local artist, but we’re certainly hoping it is,” said Laurie Baumer, the foundation’s executive vice president.

The roundabout has been the subject of proposals for public art in the past, but those never came to fruition.

Debbie Mikula, executive director of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, said the roundabout is prime real estate for a bold art piece. The high amount of traffic and juxtaposition with Michigan’s capitol building makes it the obvious canvas for an eye-catching statement.

“We’re really looking to make sure that our sense of place and our pride of place gets showcased through public arts. Projects like this have a real impact on our downtown,” Mikula said.

Lansing’s residents will have a healthy level of involvement, as the project is part of the Community Foundation’s Penny for Your Thoughts program. Although the decision is not an open vote, comments and suggestions will likely steer their decision as the submissions are narrowed down to the final three.

The details laid out by the Art Council’s request for qualifications/proposals describe the exact parameters to be met by the future sculpture. Artists are required to create a sculpture that is no larger than 12 feet in height and circumference and has a dynamic 360-degree view.

The document strongly stresses that all sculptures must be coated with material that deters graffiti and resists harsh winter climates. The $100,000 budget provides for essentially anything an artist could need, including costs relating to electricity and landscaping.

“We have to go through the Public Service Commission and the City Council, and the mayor will have the last say on what’s put into that space,” Mikula said. “They will take public input into consideration and, hopefully, it will become something that everybody feels ownership over and are proud to have as a symbol of our city.”


For more details, visit:

Arts Council of Greater Lansing www.lansingarts.org Capital Region Community Foundation www.ourcommunity.org