By Kenedi Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter
ST. JOHNS — Art brings a lot to a community like St. Johns that typically doesn’t have much of it. With the help of Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), the city can begin to add that art and culture to their community and share wit ith generations to come. LEAP is a group of “leaders” who either help create businesses or help improve existing ones.
By Madeline Sewell
Clinton County Chatter staff reporter
ST. JOHNS – When trains became popular in America, new towns began to pop up along with them. St. Johns was one of those towns. According to Jenny McCampbell, one of the primary volunteers at the Clinton Northern Railway museum, “the whole community was started because the trains were coming in.”
“There is a lot of history tied in with the depot and the trains in general,” said McCampbell.
Step into the Briggs Public Library in Downtown St. Johns and onlookers will be immersed in a variety of artwork. Paintings vary in minor differences except for one main distinction; many of the pieces of work are from half the world away. Surrounding the Biwa Lake just east of Kyoto in Japan is the Konan, Shiga Prefecture, the friendship city with St. Johns.
A business whose employees are solely volunteers and whose products come with a low price tag sounds like a recipe for closing down. Clinton County Arts Council, a St. Johns non-profit art gallery that survives primarily on grants, is proof that this business method works. Marta Giesecke, a worker at the art gallery, located at 320 N. Clinton Ave., said that this gallery hires only volunteers. These volunteers are well-educated on the artists of the pieces displayed in the store and can share stories about these artists.
Nuzzled between the Briggs Public Library and grain silos is a railway depot. Erected in 1857, blown down by a tornado, then rebuilt in 1921, the building stands as one of the more historic pieces of the city of St. Johns. Since being restored in 2001, it now stands as a museum meant to commemorate the railroad that first brought life to the city. “It really stands as a testament to just how old this city really is,” said Jenny McCampbell, one of the curators and president of the Clinton County Art Council.