By Jenny Kalish
Lansing Star staff writer
Nestled in the heart of downtown Lansing’s bustling business district, the Lansing Art Gallery is a large, quiet space solely reserved for works by Michigan-based artists.
The non-profit, community-funded enterprise currently has more than 1,000 artists in its database — 200 are actively involved. That’s a far cry from the original six artists who founded the community art gallery 47 years ago. The growth represents a remarkable progression from its humble beginnings.
“The were exhibiting in the LCC cafeteria, and they didn’t have anywhere else that they could exhibit their art properly,” Babcock said. “So they ended up getting a space from the mayor at the time for a dollar a year — they became a non-profit gallery.”
After occupying several different locations in the Lansing area, the Lansing Art Gallery found its permanent home in 2004 at 113 S. Washington Square. Aside from hosting exhibitions, it also hosts summer art camps, Saturday workshops, lectures and open state-wide competitions.
The gallery also houses a 3,000 square-foot lease/purchase gift shop and gallery. All of the Lansing Art Gallery’s exhibitions are bi-monthly, and this year’s 34th Annual Holiday Art Market will be its only exhibition for the months of November and December. Babcock said every year the market is a success for the gallery, she expects around 10,000 to attend — all browsing for locally produced artwork and unique trinkets.
The market features crafts and fine art pieces from more than 150 Michigan artists. Savvy holiday shoppers with an art lover on their gift list may want to check out the clorful array of hand-made creations that come in every medium, material and texture.
“One of the biggest misconceptions of people who pass by the gallery sign is that they can’t afford it, and that is truly not the case,” Babcock said. “There’s fine art as well as fine craft, so it really opens up the potential for a lot of gift ideas.”
This year’s Holiday Art Market, which ends Friday, Dec. 23, offers more than just paintings. Also up for sale is a large collection of jewelry, glass, sculptures, paintings, pottery, ornaments, soaps and scarves, with wide-ranging price points.
Local glass artists Dave Porter will show his sundry blend of pieces in this year’s market. “We’ve had some glass at the Lansing Art Gallery last year around Christmas season, but it was very limited. This is the first year that we’re displaying any significant number of pieces,” said Porter, whose studio is located in Williamston.
While Porter’s handmade ornaments were well received at the gallery in the past, he plans to illustrate the diversity of his work by showing glass vessels, vases, bowls, dishes and rondels, which are spun out, flattened bowls.
The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.