Nov. 22 2017 10:54 AM

1920s holiday bash at Broad Museum raises funds for river cleanup

Imagine strolling along the banks of the Red Cedar River and coming across a live performer playing music, a beautiful outdoor art installation, or a kiosk where poets’ work is on display. Imagine, further, that these songs, words and art displays helped to educate the public about the river and the woods around them.

That’s the picture that Art in the Wild plans to paint in real life, with the help of their second annual Holiday Celebration fundraiser.

“This event is 1920s themed, so people are definitely encouraged to dress up,” said Melody Angel, committee charwoman of Art in the Wild, a subcommittee of the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council.

The party will feature live music from The Springtails, a folk band that specializes in 1920s-style music, along with artist talks and locally sourced food and drinks from Morton’s Fine Catering and Spartan Catering. 1920s era dress is encouraged and first floor galleries in the Broad will be open to guests from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“Last year we did almost the same exact event, same motif,” Angel said. “It was so effective that we kept the same motif this year.” Last year, 125 guests showed up. This year, about 200 are anticipated. And while it was and will certainly be a fun party, the goal is serious: environmental reclamation of the concrete-caked Red Cedar floodplain near the Frandor Shopping Center, turning the vast parking lots circling the area into natural storm water purifiers and educating the public on why it all matters.

“Right now, 50 to 75,000 pounds of pollution are dumped into the Red Cedar River,” said Angel.

“Our first project will be rebuilding the storm water infrastructure around the Frandor area, putting in waterfalls and low impact designs that will clean the water.”

Other projects that Art in the Wild has in the works are two amphitheaters where live performances can take place, bump-outs on the sidewalks with access to electricity for musical performers or poets, as well as a family fishing area by the river.

Angel said about half a million dollars in grant funds have been secured “to rebuild that area so it can be healthy.”

The goal of Art in the Wild, now in the process of becoming a non-profit, is to raise 10 million dollars to help make this happen.

The organization is tackling these problems a step at a time, with two fundraisers a year and an ongoing search for donors big and small.

“We have some great sponsors and donors who really care about these issues,” said Angel.

“We just want everyone who comes out to the Holiday Celebration to have a good time – it’s a fun event.”

Art in the Wild Holiday Celebration

6-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30 Broad Art Museum 541 E. Circle Dr., East Lansing $60/person or $100/ (989) 550-1181