Oct. 13 2010 12:00 AM

Graffiti goes up for bids at REO Town fund-raiser

The Deluxe Inn may be gone, but mementoes of its history are on the auction block.

On Oct. 20, graffiti art from the now-demolished motel go on display and up for bids at Art Alley. The artworks are the final remnants of the Inn’s last days, when graffiti artists from around the area were encouraged to have a go at brightening up the deteriorating building.

Some 40 items will be displayed, including both pieces and whole plywood boards from the side of the inn; about 10 will be sold in a silent auction. Photographs of the pieces by Luke Pline will also be available.

Joe Manzella, vice president of Accelerate Lansing, said organizers hope to use the money raised to commission art within REO Town, or possibly to create a wall of graffiti art. The goal is to keep a community focus on REO Town and on the arts therein, while figuring out how best to harness them.

“The entirety of the event is for the arts,” Manzella said. “Lansing is a place that appreciates art. Per capita, we have more art organizations than Seattle, Wash. The key is just understanding that we have different types of art.”

In time, Manzella hopes to see Lansing harness the creative potential of all artforms, including graffiti.

“Creative cross-pollination only brings good things,” Manzella said.

The event is also designed to help support the Reach Art Center, a nonprofit that encourages community interest in the visual arts. The center has outgrown its present location and is looking to move to a new facility. Manzella said the goal is to keep Reach in the REO Town area.

Those pieces not sold at auction may put in other appearances around Lansing. Reach has applied for a Lansing Economic Development Corp. grant to turn the remaining graffiti pieces into mobile display boards to put up around local festivals.

What are being put on display, however, are not just artworks: They are pieces of Lansing’s history.

“(Art Alley) is a symbol for REO Town of leaving the past in the past,” Manzella said.

“Leaving the bad things behind us. What we did here is we took this nasty, awful place and made it a place for people and the arts again. That spells hope for a lot of things.”

The event is a collaborative efforts by the Ingham County Land Bank, Accelerate Lansing, Reach Studio Art Center and the REO Town Commercial Association.

Art Alley silent auction

5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20 REO Art Alley 1133 S. Washington Ave.