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THURSDAY, June 2 — Greater Lansing’s arts community got a financial boost this week as the Arts Council of Greater Lansing doled out over $114,000 to local arts organizations and nonprofits. The grants, which were announced this morning, were awarded to organizations like the Wharton Center, Impression 5 Science Center, Potter Park Zoo, and the Lansing Symphony Orchestra."Not everyone gets funded. It's a very competitive process, and we're really looking for cultural merit," said Debbie Mikula, executive director of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing.
The process of selecting grant winners, Mikula said, is guided by a simple question: "How do the organizations funded stand out from somebody who just wants to try to get money?”
“Everybody represents either a small or large organization, and we don't look at how big they are or if they need the money,” Mikula said. “It's really on the merit of their application."
For organizations with limited funding and resources, these grants are crucial to keeping programs running and expanding their offerings.
"It makes it possible for us to bring in outside performers as part of our summer reading program," said Lise Mitchell, director of Grand Ledge Area District Library. "I have a lot of materials in the library, and we do a reading program, but by having these special events which are able to be funded by a grant, it helps bring in another love of excitement. It gives families a positive thing to do in the summer."
For the Mason Orchestral Society, a non-profit that just celebrated its 40th year, grants and donations are crucial in ensuring their programs keep running. The group plans to use the grant to support its two conductors, pay venues rental fees and purchase music.
"Our budget can get pretty high. That's why we're thankful to be able to apply to some of these grant programs," said Kay Rinker-O'Neil, personal manager and past president of the group.
The grants awarded today are just one facet of the Arts Council’s plans to improve life in Greater Lansing through art.
"We're trying to connect our organizations to the community as a whole, collectively and cohesively, to help build our community to be a better place to live, work, and visit,” Mikula said. “The resources that we provide are helping to bring that into fruition"
MCACA Minigrant funding, totaling $7,325 for 2016, was awarded to the following recipients: Grand Ledge Area District Library, Lansing Concert Band, Mason Orchestral Society, Nick Adkins, REO Town Commercial Association, Saginaw Oakland Commercial Association and Williamston Theatre
Ingham County Hotel/Motel Funds for Arts and Tourism funding, totaling $106,976.32 for 2016, was awarded to the following recipients: All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre, Capital City Film Festival, Common Ground Music Festival, Riverwalk Theatre, East Lansing Art Festival, East Lansing Film Festival, Happendance, Impression 5 Science Center, Lansing Art Gallery, Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art, Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame, Michigan State University Community Music School, Nokomis Native American Cultural Center, Old Town Commercial Association, Potter Park Zoological Society, R.E. Olds Transportation Museum, Summer Solstice Jazz Festival, Wharton Center for Performing Arts and Williamston Theatre