EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan State University Broad Art Lab on Grand River Aveenue was a space in downtown East Lansing that once welcomed innovators and life long learners now sits empty after permanently closing it's doors.
“This was the idea that this was an incubator for all of us to get to know each other through the arts,” said Broad Art Museum Director Monica Ramierez-Montagut.
The Broad Art Lab opened in 2016 and Ramierez-Montagut said it offered a little of something for everyone.
“We offered hands on art activities, such as how to learn how to make paper or learn how to print, learn how to sew, do a little bit of ceramics, but it also had space to do exhibitions in partnership with our communities,” she said.
Funding for the lab came from the MSU Federal Credit Union in what Ramirez-Montagut explains as a five year project.
“The MSU Federal Credit Union funding was instrumental and a privilege, actually, to be able to have a space where we could experiment and where we could learn from each other," Ramierez-Montagut said. "It was a very important space for creativity in downtown East Lansing.”
December 2022 would've marked the end of the five year art lab project, but due to canceled classes and financial concerns, they decided to close early.
“We are sun setting it a little bit earlier than planned because of financial constraints," Ramierez-Montagut said. "As a result of COVID-19 pandemic, you know, a lot of the programs and community gathering and hands on activities just couldn't take place.”
While it's hard to see the lab close, Ramierez-Montagut said it fulfilled its mission and it's now the time to take connections they made in the lab and put them in the Broad Art Museum across the street.
“We've done a lot of exhibitions in partnership with our communities here at the museum," Ramierez-Montagut said. "Last semester, we presented exhibitions on mass incarceration and we had 120 collaborators from off campus communities. So a lot of those strategies and engagement and building that trust was done, you know, because we had the opportunity to meet people at the art lab.”
They also plan to move their programs to the museum.
“As sad as we are for losing the art lab, we are just as delighted to say that we're offering most of those programs across the street at the museum, and we continue to be free and open to the public,” Ramierez-Montagut said.
A full list of events at the Broad Art Museum can be found on their website.
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