Colorful murals, local artists and small galleries all line the streets of Lansing’s Art District in the Old Town Neighborhood. One way that the Arts Council of Greater Lansing helps to bring new and old faces to the streets of Old Town is by hosting Art’s Night Out. Art’s Night Out is described as, “a collaboration between 15 to 20 different old town businesses, […] building up the Arts District as a Friday night destination,” according to Tabor Vits, the program assistant for the Arts Council of Greater Lansing.
Artists have the opportunity to reach out to local businesses or the Arts Council of Greater Lansing to participate in Arts Night Out as a featured artist.
“[The Arts Council’s] outreach in this project is fantastic,” remarked Bob Rose, a local artist on display at the event. Rose described Arts Night Out as, “An opportunity for artists to see people, show their art, and actually talk to people about what they do.”
This year, Arts Night Out has been taking place one Friday every month from May through October. This is the first year the event has run every month. It used to occur every other month, January through December, but after virtually hosting the event through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing decided it was time for a change.
“Learning from going virtual for some of the events, we decided to try a monthly May through October,” Vits said.“This year was our first experiment with that model and seems to have built more momentum with attendance.”
Sarah Arredondo, owner of Katalyst gallery in Old Town said, “I can tell you attendance has been up, in the winter months we sometimes struggle. Having it in the summer months just makes it easier for everyone.”
Arts Night Out features small galleries like Katalyst as well as many local businesses, artists and live performances in Turner Park.
Arts Night Out is free and open to everyone. Arredondo features at least one new local artist in her shop every month.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, especially as an emerging artist, to get out there to show people your artwork and its low commitment,” Arredondo said.
In her gallery alone she showcases more than 300 local artists as well as three featured artists of the month, this month includes Bob Rose and Genevieve Richardson.
“It’s changing and rotating, not only do we have artist made pieces we also have a museum gift shop kind of thing where we have pieces from Van Gogh, Monet and other fine artists on things such as coffee mugs, wallets, purses and mugs,” Arredondo said.
Katalyst opened its doors in 2010, and Arts Night Out started in 2016. Both are long standing parts of the art community in the Lansing area, but the event encourages even residents new to the area to attend.
Richardson was a first time artist this October. “It’s really cool,” he said. “It’s a really good opportunity for artists to network and have their art be seen and recognized.”
Although this October’s Arts Night Out wrapped up the last of the events for the year, it will be back in 2024, starting again in May. The Arts Council is looking forward to continuing the events and enhancing them.
“Moving into 2024 we are looking for ways to improve the event. So community members that have attended, if you have ideas on how the event could be better, [or] if you are an artist looking to participate and show your work or perform at the event, we would love to connect with you,” Vits said.
Arts Night Out brings together art and community in Old Town. Richardson summarized the sentiment of the event: “Art is what makes the world a beautiful place.”