Hannah Center Neighbors Want Mural Elsewhere, So City Looking at Options

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Monday, July 22, 2019, 1:48 pm
Alice Dreger

The East Lansing Arts Commission has expressed interest in putting up an Instagram-ready mural on the north side of the Hannah Community Center. But some homeowners whose homes face that location aren’t thrilled with what they see as “graffiti-style” art at this location.

Now City staff say they’re looking at alternative locations.

Wendy Wilmers Longpre, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation for East Lansing, responded to questions from ELi today by writing, “This project idea is still in the investigative stage and the north wall of the Hannah Community Center is one of several locations that have been discussed. Our initial feedback from the neighbors immediately to the north of the Center has raised some concern so the Arts Commission has asked me to look further into an alternative location.”

Writes Longpre, “ As I have not had the opportunity to contact the owner(s) of the alternative location, I'd prefer not to share it at this time.”

On July 10, a letter went out from Longpre to Glencairn residents who live near the Hannah Community Center, located at the southwest corner of Abbot Road and Centerlawn Avenue in the Glencairn neighborhood, inviting those residents’ feedback.

The letter explained that “The East Lansing Arts Commission is considering painting an official Greetings Tour mural on the Community Center. Greetings Tour is a nationwide mural project” with murals “painted on walls at, or near, ground level so that they can be posed in front of for interactive photographs.”

This would be an approximately 25 foot by 15 foot colorful “Greetings from East Lansing” mural similar to the one shown above, created by the Greetings Tour team of muralist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs.

Longpre did not respond to a question about the possible cost of installation and maintenance of a “Greetings” mural.

The north side of Hannah Community Center faces single-family homes along Centerlawn Avenue and Forest Street. In the past, murals installed in public spaces through the facilitation of the City of East Lansing have been located in more commercial areas of downtown.

The City recently unveiled a new public art sculpture in Valley Court Park, entitled Lemon Grass. Costing $50,000, it is the first public artwork funded through East Lansing’s Percent for Art ordinance, which obtains funding from real estate developers and East Lansing taxpayers.

The Hannah Community Center is home to East Lansing’s Public Art Gallery, which is open to the public when the Center is open and which regularly features the work of Michigan artists.

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