Karen Jennings leaves the Arts Commission after six years.
The East Lansing Arts Commission said goodbye to long-time Commissioner Karen Jennings and said hello to new art opportunities in the city.
At the Thursday (Nov. 16 meeting), the commission began by congratulating Jennings on her six years of service and thanked her for all the work she had done.
Chair Barbara Worgess highlighted Jennings’ success with the commission in her proclamation.
Some of the highlights of Jennings’ work with the commission included the distribution of $82,677 in Cultural Arts Grants, the funding of the first purchase from the Public Art Fund, which was “Lemongrass” by Dane Porter installed in Valley Court Park, and approved seven murals from the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) to be installed on city property in support of mental health.
“Karen’s willingness to serve has elevated the standard for the Arts Commission,” Worgess said. “We thank her for her valuable insight, expertise and passionate regard for the arts and cultural opportunities in East Lansing.”
The commissioners celebrated Jennings with cake bought from Mitten Raised Bakery and sparkling cider.
“Thank you all very much,” Jennings said. “Six years isn’t very long, but it seems like an eternity. One of my favorite moments was Dane Porter coming and giving his presentation about ‘Lemongrass’ as our first piece, and I am very proud to have helped bring a piece of his to the city.”
In order to continue to bring arts and culture to the City of East Lansing, the commission plans on coordinating with the Michigan State University (MSU) Extension-National Charrette Institute Setting Group Goals for Growth Program by attending its Dec. 18 program on campus.
Commissioners Austin Pabian, Abigail Tykocki, Allie Siarto and Worgess plan to attend, along with Art Festival and Arts Initiative Coordinator Heather Majano.
Under the guidance of Siarto, the commission also moved forward with plans to implement free little art galleries around the city. Siarto will look into pricing and different options along with creating a list of locations and neighborhoods as potential places to put the galleries.
Worgess provided an update on the Cultural Arts Plan. Using the information received from the survey as well as her own research from other plans around the country, she has created a rough draft of the plan.
After looking at the tentative plan, the commissioners agreed they wish to bring together a larger group of people to get more input, including members of the community along with people from different regions and different organizations.
The commission also expressed the wish to create a plan that focuses on the artists as well as the members of the community.
“Looking at what we want to focus on over the next five years, we should be putting some resources into what the artists need,” Worgess said. “We need to support people to be artists in this area.”
The meeting concluded with Pabian discussing the upcoming Michigan State Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) Student Art Exhibition.
The exhibition is looking for local artists to volunteer as speakers and judges for the event. Pabian requested that commissioners reach out to him with any recommendations of people who might be suitable.
Correction: A previous version of this story had the incorrect spelling of Abbie Tykocki‘s name. (12:40 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023)
Reported by Mya Gregory (Monday, Nov. 19, 2023)
From the East Lansing Insider Saturday mailer – Nov. 18.
It’s Time for Some Turkey!
It’s a short work week for most with the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday (Nov. 23) and many, including East Lansing city workers and staff, getting Friday (Nov. 24) off. In this time of family, friends and community, ELi wants to wish our readers a Happy Thanksgiving.
In East Lansing government, a new Council has been seated, with Mark Meadows, Erik Altmann and Kerry Ebersole Singh joining Dana Watson and George Brookover for their first meeting together on Tuesday (Nov. 14). At that meeting, Brookover was elected by Council to serve as mayor and Singh was voted in as mayor pro tem. Council also voted not to approve the minutes of a special meeting the previous Council held days before the election without notice to the public.
Reporter Mara Logan brought readers a powerful story last week about the local faith community’s reaction to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas and the ensuing war that has resulted in more than 10,000 casualties in the Gaza Strip. Despite the tragic loss of life overseas, leaders in the local Jewish and Islamic communities have banded together to reinforce their longstanding friendship.
Mara also reported on the East Lansing Board of Education meeting held Monday (Nov. 13). At that meeting, Ingham Community Health Center officials presented on a school-based health clinic opening at the high school. The new health center will open in January and operate with six staff members.
Last week, Arts and Culture Reporter Sarah Spohn brought readers a feature story introducing the community to University Weiner, a new takeout restaurant downtown. The business, opened by two Michigan State University (MSU) students, is hoping to become a favorite spot for locals to grab a specialty hot dog.
Only one meeting on the calendar next week.
Looking ahead, there is a light meeting slate this week due to the holiday. The only city meeting scheduled is the Commission on the Environment, which will meet tonight (Nov. 20). The agenda is here.
With Thanksgiving on Thursday (Nov. 23), many city offices and services, along with the schools will be closed. The East Lansing Public Library will close early Wednesday (Nov. 22) at 6 p.m. and be closed Thursday and Friday (Nov. 23-24). City of East Lansing offices and facilities will be closed Thursday and Friday (Nov. 23-24). The East Lansing Hannah Community Center will be closed Thursday through Sunday (Nov. 23-Nov. 26). And the East Lansing Public Schools will be closed Wednesday through Friday (Nov. 22-24).
But never fear, the downtown local shops, area malls and stores will be open for your Black Friday shopping.
In live news updates for the Nov. 13-19 ELi Now column, you will find information about the Peace Education Center’s Alternative Holiday Sale, which continues today. There is also a report out of the Human Rights Commission meeting held Monday (Nov. 13) and how to apply for a position on the Downtown Management Board.
ELi Now is a column from the East Lansing Info reporting and editorial staff, created as a space to provide live updates of East Lansing news throughout the week. Have an event or other announcement you’d like featured in ELi Now? Contact us!
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