July 14 & 15

The word "scrapyard" brings to mind rusted-out hulls of gas-guzzling Cadillacs and swaying pillars of sheet metal, piled up in an eerie lot. But Old Town’s ScrapFest turns this image on its head. On July 14 and 15, Turner Street will pit local metal-working artists against each other to upcycle salvaged scrap from Lansing’s own Friedland Industries Inc., into pieces of art.

“Not everyone sees a scrapyard in that way,” said Mike Bass, vice president of Friedland Industries Inc. “Usually, when you see a scrapyard in the media or movies you’re thinking about an episode of Breaking Bad or The Sopranos, right? The place where drug deals happen.”

But the only deals the company makes are in the art world.

On June 3, 20 local artists had one hour to pick up as much as 500 pounds of scrap from Bass’ company. After collection day, the metal-workers had two weeks to craft metal sculptures that will be showcased along Turner Street, voted on and then finally auctioned off to those in attendance. Proceeds will be split 50/50 between the artist and the Old Town Commercial Association.

Now in its ninth year, ScrapFest is the brainchild of David Such, owner of Such Video Inc. in Old Town.

“David came to us at Friedland and said he had an idea for a scrap metal art festival and wondered if we would be interested in hosting,” said Bass. “We said absolutely.”

ScrapFest was tied to the Festival of the Moon & Sun, but it's now a stand-alone event. Something that Bass has been working toward since the festival began.

“Last year was the first year we did it on Turner Street, and I was checking with all the surrounding businesses and they were all reporting record sales,” said Bass. “To me, that’s exactly what I want. I want the festival to do well but I also want the surrounding business to do well.”

As ScrapFest solidifies itself as a longterm event, Bass looks to make the art more accessible.

“This year, we’re testing out a small category,” said Bass, a category with pieces that only weigh in at 250 pounds instead of 500. “Sometimes it can be a little intimidating, people might love to bid on a piece but where are they going to put it?” Ultimately, ScrapFest is about community. “ScrapFest is a great example of how you take something, embrace it and find out what you can do to help grow a community in a really unique way,” said Bass. “Who’d have thought that that a rising community would be embracing of a scrap facility?”


Friday, July 14, 6 p.m.; Saturday, July 15, Noon, FREE Turner Street, Old Town, Lansing (517) 485-4283