Funding public art

By Allan I. Ross

2013 grants program ‘really makes Lansing shine”

Thursday, Aug. 2 — The Lansing Economic Development Corporation announced today that local artists have until Sept. 7 to submit grant applications for the organization’s annual Sense of Place in the Arts program. This city-funded program supports arts and cultural projects, driving community revitalization and economic development in the area.

“The Sense of Place in the Arts program really makes Lansing shine,” says LEDC director of operations Marchelle Smith. “I’d love to see more people participate this year and make it more competitive. It’s really created a lot of buzz and enthusiasm.” She said there were about 15 grant recipients last year, which was more than in 2010, the year of the program’s inception.

Smith says the grant pool stands at $125,000, with awards ranging from $10,000 to $75,000. All art projects for this year’s grant must be executed between Nov. 15 and June 30, 2013. Applicant organizations must meet eligibility criteria, must contribute to the city’s “sense of place” as a part of its cultural economic development philosophy, and must produce collaborative, visible arts projects or programs that directly impact Lansing residents and visitors.

“The goal is to create a public art infrastructure that puts artwork in the public realm,” says Smith. “It makes it more tangible, so that visitors, vendors and the people who live here can enjoy it.” She says last year’s projects included bike racks and scrap metal structures.

Catherine Babcock, executive director of Lansing Art Gallery, has participated the last two years in the program. Two years ago she received just over $25,000 for last year’s City Streets arts installation, in which banners were displayed around downtown Lansing, and last year received $45,500 for the current Art by the River installation next to Lansing City Market. She said she plans on reviewing this year’s guidelines soon for a new project next year.

Applications are reviewed by a seven-person advisory panel made up of economic development and artistic professionals. The panel selects award recipients based on quality and ability to shape the physical and social character of the city. Applicants will also be evaluated on project collaboration, the proposed project’s impact on Lansing and its residents and the organization’s fiscal competence and capacity to manage the project. The Arts Council of Greater Lansing assists with the program and provides artistic consultation and expertise throughout the grant process.

A workshop to assist potential applicants with the application process is at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 15 at the MICA Gallery, 1210 Turner St. in Lansing. The workshop is free, but applicants must RSVP Leslie Donaldson at Application packets are available to download at under the “Program/Grants & Finance Assistance” section, and at under the “Grants” section.