East Lansing Art Festival Returns This Weekend

Friday, May 18, 2018, 2:24 pm
By: 
Alice Dreger

The East Lansing Art Festival returns to our city’s downtown this weekend, with weekend events starting with the “East Lansing After Dark” concert tonight (Friday, May 18) and continuing with the festival itself Saturday through Sunday (May 19-20). Today, ELi gives you a quick rundown of what you might want to know about this year’s festival, based on reader questions to ELi.

Yes, the festival is ON!

The cancellation of the Great Lakes Folk Festival is causing some confusion. The Folk Festival has been cancelled this year, but the East Lansing Art Festival is ready to roll. And, as usual, just across Grand River Avenue you’ll find the annual Spring Arts and Craft show at MSU.

The festival space has moved:

The Center City District project has caused the festival space to move. The main stage and food court will be located in the Bailey Street surface parking lot, behind the Peanut Barrel. The festival will continue from there west down Albert Avenue to M.A.C. Avenue. (To see a map, click here.)

Valet your bike:

Once again this year you can valet-park your bike for free. Arrive at the special bike-parking area on Charles Street just east of the Marriott Hotel, and leave your bike in safe hands while you enjoy the festival.

Where can you park a car?

The City is offering a cheap parking option this year—a $5 flat rate in the Charles Street and Division Street parking garages. (Those are the “colorful parking structure” and the brick-faced structure above Buffalo Wild Wings. The addresses are 121 Charles Street and 181 Division Street.) A good reason to utilize this option is that you pay on the way in, which should make exiting relatively quick.

All the other garages are open as usual, with regular rates. Insider tip from this reporter who lives in a near-downtown neighborhood: To park for free, just arrive early and park in one of the nearby neighborhoods. Do be careful to look at the signs to make sure you are parking legally, so you don’t get a ticket.

CATA is not offering a parking shuttle this year:

Festival Director Michelle Carlson tells ELi that CATA is not offering a free shuttle this year from the MSU parking lots. But CATA is offering more Route 1 buses for increased numbers of riders. Says Carlson, “I spoke with the MSU Arts and Craft Show and they are telling people they can park in the Stadium area of campus and the Grand River lot” owned by MSU.

There’s music?

Yes, there’s music! A lot of people think of the Art Festival as a place to look at beautiful art, but there’s also art for your ears. Check out this ELi report from Chris Wardell for a rundown on the music, starting Friday night. And don’t miss Chris’s special report on the festival performance of MikeyyAustin, the first Hip hop artist to perform on the Main Stage.

And there’s another way to engage your senses:

This year’s festival includes an interactive architectural installation called “Sensory.” As ELi’s Sarah Spohn reports for us,

“As visitors navigate their way through varying posts and structural beams, they will experience the architecture and a gradient of fragrances. As visitors exit the installation, the scent dissipates. An integrated bench allows visitors to become one with the main structure and physically step up into the architecture. Mobile cubes, extensions of the bench, invite visitors to create their own arrangements in the pop-up installation.” Read more.

You can vote on the City’s acquisition of art:

This year’s festival is featuring a new People’s Choice Award. Visitors to the festival can vote on which of five artworks they’d like to see purchased by the City of East Lansing with funds raised through the Percent for Art ordinance, which requires large development projects in East Lansing to either provide new public art or contribute funds for new public art. Read more about this new award from ELi’s Jessy Gregg.

Want to know more about the Festival?

Check out the website of the East Lansing Art Festival. Note that, contrary to popular conception, the Festival is not owned or operated by the City of East Lansing. It is an independent nonprofit that operates through donations, although it does currently receive some support from the City.