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Lansing plans to establish Arts and Culture Commission

Posted at 6:17 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 18:17:09-04

LANSING, Mich. — Lansing is establishing an arts and culture commission to develop the artistic and cultural landscape in the city.

Mayor Andy Schor has an advisory board on arts and culture, but the city decided the board should be made more permanent.

“We have a parks board, we have a Public Service Board, we have a Police Board of Commissioners, the Fire Board of Commissioners… arts and culture is tremendously important here in Lansing. And we, in essence, are elevating it from an advisory board to the mayor, to an official board of the city,” Schor said.

The creation of the commission will make it permanent even if the mayoral administration changes, but those involved with the advisory board say it also adds a level of legitimacy.

“The members of the Arts Council, but in all individual artists in the city, and all arts and cultural organizations and festivals and really legitimizes the work that they're doing and gets some momentum and a plan to keep those things coming forward,” said Meghan Martin, the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and a member of the mayor’s Advisory Board for Arts and Culture.

Art District sign in Old Town
Art District sign in Old Town

Martin said she hopes the new commission can continue projects like creating public arts guidelines and preparing for a new public performing arts center, while also adding goals.

The new commission will consist of 12 members appointed by Schor, who says he will likely nominate current members of the advisory board.

“The new commission will be consisting of people that are citizens of or residents of the city of Lansing, and I think that speaks volumes to how we are making sure that the citizens that live here in the city of Lansing have a voice at the table,” Martin said.

The commission will also be responsible for recommending recipients of the city’s $175,000 in arts grants, which have previously gone to the Capital City Film Festival, Bluesfest, and other artistic organizations in Lansing.

One past grant recipient is the Michigan BluesFest
One past grant recipient is the Michigan BluesFest

“I'm really excited because arts and culture are tremendously important for the vibrancy of the city of Lansing,” Schor said.

The City Council could vote on creating the commission in the coming weeks.

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