Downtown Art Projects Reach Fundraising Goal

Thursday, November 12, 2015, 1:39 pm
By: 
Michael Teager

Above: Artist's rendition of the plan for the Grove Street Alley

The East Lansing Artist Alleys crowdfunding campaign, which officially ends at 11:59 PM tonight, has reached its $45,000 fundraising goal.

The goal was met Tuesday, November 10, two days ahead of schedule. As of this writing, $46,785 has been raised from 118 supporters. Donations came from local individuals, organizations, and businesses.

The fundraising campaign, which began September 30 and featured a kick-off event downtown on October 7, sought to raise funds to match $45,000 pledged by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, for a total project goal of $90,000. Monies received beyond the $45,000 crowdfunding goal will not be matched by the MEDC, but will be set aside for ongoing maintenance of the sites.

The Artist Alleys in question are the Grove Street alley (from Ann Street Plaza and extending behind the Grove Street parking ramp) and the pedestrian alley in the 500 block of E. Grand River (next to Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheese, parallel to Bailey Street). Their respective estimated costs are $35,100 and $53,840. The item first came before City Council at its August 18 work session.

Both alleys will receive decorative enhancements such as art, landscaping, lighting, and furniture. The artistic aspects are a “multi-generational mosaic art project” and an East Lansing-themed mural. The mosaic will involve collaboration between the Prime Time Seniors Program and students from MacDonald Middle School. The mural will be completed by a Michigan artist(s) and selected through an RFP process by the Art Selection Panel and the Arts Commission.

The all-or-nothing challenge grant has been run through Patronicity, a Michigan-based “civic crowdfunding” resource, per the organization’s website. (It’s similar to Kickstarter, but with a community focus.) The Artist Alleys campaign is part of a Patronicity initiative known as Public Spaces Community Places, which is a partnership between Patronicity, the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority that looks to “[incentivize] vibrant communities.”

Site improvements will occur in the spring—the mural is scheduled to be completed by May 2, 2016—with a dedication ceremony to follow.

Donations are still being accepted through tonight’s deadline.