March 13 2013 12:00 AM

Four Lansing organizations split $125,000 in arts and culture grants

Thursday, Dec. 6 — Four local organizations received “Sense of Place” grants today to further their plans of expanding access to art in the community.

The Lansing Art Gallery, REACH Studio Art Center, Lansing Symphony Orchestra and Lansing Host Lions were awarded a total of $125,000 through a grant program administered by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership.

“It’s a cultural grant. We asked for proposals that promote visual arts within the city of Lansing,” said LEAP spokeswoman Sara Graham. “With these minimal funds available, we looked closely to see which project would have the biggest impact on Lansing.”

This is the fourth year these awards have been given out. A board composed of seven officials from area arts and economic organizations scored each application. Grants are awarded to the top four applicants; the board received nine in total.

The Lansing Art Gallery was the biggest winner of the day. It received $56,800 for a plan to introduce art into the community through sculptures. In its plan, the gallery said it would be commissioning seven to 10 different sculptures to be placed in Wentworth Park downtown. Regional artists would create these sculptures, with the work referring specifically to Lansing.

The next highest amount — $45,000 — went to the Lansing Symphony Orchestra for a new plan to hold a free summer pops concert in downtown Lansing. Additionally, the symphony plans to hold a vote through social media on the theme of the concert.

The Lansing Host Lions — which created the Sensory Gardens at Potter Park Zoo — received $13,200 to add permanent sculptures to enhance the gardens.

Finally, REACH Studio Art Center received $10,000 to help fund its Teen Open Studio. The studio plans to have students create three art projects that educate the community about the history of Lansing. The students will also work with local artists and develop portfolios of their work.

Graham said these applications stood out because of how relevant they were to the Lansing area: “It’s something that is impactful on the city of Lansing for tourists, locals, and businesses. They’re all something that is seen and heard and open to the public.”