Thursday, Aug. 29 — The end-of-summer theme this year in Lansing is vanishing chicken. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The giant chicken wings sticking up from the grass at Wentworth Park since June 1, part of a fantastic array of varied and stimulating outdoor sculptures, are about to be yanked Friday, when “Sculptures in the Park” ends its summer-long run.
The last bell is also ringing for another popular summer exhibit, “Lansing Eats,” a showcase of Lansing restaurant history. From 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, the Historical Society of Greater Lansing will close out its pop-up celebration of 100 years of food history with in the Lansing area.
“Sculptures in the Park” features the work of 10 Michigan artists in a park that’s hidden in plain sight, smack across from the Radisson Hotel downtown, on the Grand River, at the corner of Grand and Michigan avenues.
Some of the art is pretty, but some of it takes a bit of thought. Are there entire chickens buried under those protruding wings? Organizers wanted the art to stimulate people to think about the relationship between art and the environment, the history of Wentworth Park, and Lansing, and they did just that. One large metal sculpture responds directly to the hunk of World Trade Center wreckage that has been enshrined at the park for the past 10 years.
“Sculptures in the Park” is also a fully interactive happening. It’s outside, so there’s no need to silence your cell phone. On the contrary, you can download the “Sculptures in the Park” app from iTunes or Google Play or scan the app code on the brochure. Artists speak about their work via the “Sculptures in the Park” app or by dialing the number on each artwork sign.
Meanwhile, for something with more gut appeal, the “Lansing Eats” exhibit covers everything from the earliest markets, groceries and meat markets in Lansing to home milk delivery, World War II rationing, brewers, roasters and bottlers and long-lost restaurants. The show is free and located in the basement of the Creyts Building (831 N. Washington Ave.) at the southwest corner of Oakland and North Washington Avenues.
The exhibit takes a gustatory look at the American immigrant experience through Lansing mainstays such as Emil’s, Dines, Jim’s Tiffany, Kewpies, Fabiano’s, Dimitri’s, DeLuca’s, HiKlass Beverage and Fu Ying Cafe.
Artifacts on exhibit vary from vintage restaurant signs, postcards, matchbooks, dinner ware and novelties to rare items such as a Lawrence Baking Co. calendar featuring the famed 1930 Lansing Morlok Quads to a 1920s dining plate from the REO Clubhouse.
The exhibit also includes a collection of restaurant menus, a unique line-of-credit receipt book and signs from area eating establishments showing “historical” prices. Langer said the focus of the exhibit is “how people gather together around food in good times and in bad.” Lansng Eats curator Adina Langer was the Memorial Exhibition manager for the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City before moving to the Lansing area four years ago. In New York, she was in charge of gathering artifacts, photographs and recorded remembrances for each of the 2,983 victims for the museum, which opens in 2014.