Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP) joined forces with the REO Town Commercial Association to unveil community painted murals today at the historic Walter H. French school. The large-scale paint-by-number mural was designed by two Lansing based artists – Joy Baldwin and Eric Schantz. The concept portrays influential artists, musicians, and world leaders such as Oprah Winfrey, Gandhi, Janis Joplin, Dave Chappelle and Lansing’s own Burt Reynolds. The murals now adorn the ground floor of the building south of REO Town.
At the annual REO Town Art Attack event on Saturday, August 25, 2018, neighbors and community members had the opportunity to participate in the completion of the murals. "Partnering with CAHP for this year's REO Town Art Attack was a huge opportunity for both organizations. The Walter French mural project is the largest impact project we've ever taken on and we're so proud to have our community be a part of it”, said Ryan Wert, RTCA executive director.
CAHP acquired ownership of the former Walter H. French Junior High School, located at 1900 S. Cedar Street in Lansing, in December 2017 via a donation made by the Louis J. Eyde family and the George F. Eyde family. CAHP, a local nonprofit development organization, plans to pursue a mixed-use redevelopment of the historic Lansing building, to include a variety of residential options.
“We are excited about the potential of the Walter French building and transforming it into a wonderful new place to live in Lansing”, said Mikki Droste, CAHP executive director. “At this stage in the process we are working to solicit community input on the use and design of the property. Partnering with the RTCA to unveil these murals will help raise awareness of our efforts. The building has a rich history and unique architecture that has played a significant role in Lansing’s educational history.”
Additional recognition should be extended to the project sponsors including – Home Depot, TriCounty Regional Planning Commission, O’Leary Paint, Trumble Group, Michigan Realtors Association, EXIT Realty Home Partners, REACH Studio Art Center, Lansing Board of Water & Light, and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. The murals are now on display. ###
About Walter H. French Building:
Constructed in 1925, Walter H. French Junior High School was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015 based on its architectural significance and contributions to the field of education. The National Park Service noted in its review that the building is one of the largest and most decorative pre-World War II public school buildings in Lansing. Designed by local architect Judson N. Churchill in the Arts-and-Crafts style, with Tudor-inspired detailing, the school is noted for making important contributions to the field of education in Lansing with the development of a progressive curriculum.
CAHP is a nonprofit Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) that believes in strong neighborhoods, housing choice and vibrant communities. We recognize each community is unique, with many populations calling it home. We strive to create a balance between owner occupied and rental housing, as well as providing affordable housing options. We believe strong partnerships between local government, neighbors, businesses and organizations like ours are best able to achieve these results. www.capitalareahousing.org
The REO Town Commercial Association is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit established in 2001 by a group of business owners and neighborhood residents to promote cultural and commercial development in REO Town. Originally home to the R.E. Olds Motor Company, today REO Town is known for its vibrant arts scene and is home to a dynamic and diverse community of restaurants, retail shops, and professional services. We are a thriving community where people meet to create, experience, and share art, food, and culture.
Source: Press Release