LANSING, Mich. — The Shiawassee Street bridge in downtown Lansing will soon get a makeover.
Ceramic artist Alexandra Leonard will place a 600-square-foot mosaic mural along the steps and on part of the bridge's curved wall this summer.
“It has handmade tile as well as factory tile that is being broken down into this mosaic," Leonard said. “The theme is kind of how the natural world meets our built human environment. So on one side, you’ll have a lot of nature, water type themes because it's right next to the river trail.”
And on the other side, she says there will be human-made tiles and examples of our built environment.
The Shiawassee Street Mosaic Project is an Arts Impact Project paid through a $75,000 grant from the city of Lansing's Arts Cultural Grant Program.
This project is also getting members of the Lansing community involved. So far, around 250 people have made clay tiles of their own. Leonard says they range in age from 1 to 90. The tiles will be colored by Leonard and then incorporated into the masterpiece.
Meghan Martin is the executive director of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. She says the project won the grant because it had so many unique elements.
“Art like this is an opportunity for our community to feel more connected. Taking this piece in particular, it’s on a bridge that is otherwise just a bridge," Martin said. "When you add mosaic tiles that have been created by people from the community, and they are choosing to represent themselves in the piece as well as do storytelling. That does more than just a concrete sighting on a bridge.”
Martin says the mural will be a time capsule for these times and tell the community's story.
The project was supposed to be completed by last fall, but Leonard extended the timeline because of the pandemic. She is expecting to be done by the summer.
“It’s kind of coming together in sections. I’m putting sections of it together roughly here," Leonard said. "Then I’ll be able to transfer it there and fairly quickly put it up on the wall.”
Leonard says she's excited about the whole thing and hopes it will be something that will live on forever. She also hopes that people who have made the tiles can bring their kids or grandkids to see them in the future.
If you live in the Lansing area and want to participate, you can visit the Shiawassee Street Mosaic Project Facebook page or Instagram Page to get in touch with Leonard. You can also see updated pictures.
Leonard is looking for scrap material like mirrors or colorful scrap tiles to help create the mural for those who live in the greater Lansing area who want to participate.