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Above: “Life is a groovy opportunity” in the making.
The 56th annual East Lansing Arts Festival is charging full speed ahead in spite of the 11th-hour shake-ups caused by last minute staff changes. Art Festival Board Chairperson Alison Alfredson tells ELi, “It’s going to be great.”
In addition to the 178 juried artists, the festival will include musical performances, art demonstrations, and a children’s area with activities and performances.
Using the same locations as last year, the festival will be staged on the eastern side of downtown, away from the construction zone.
Artists will exhibit along M.A.C. Avenue from Grand River Avenue to Albert Avenue, and along Albert Avenue all the way down to Bailey Street.
Festivalgoers will be able to vote for a “People’s Choice” award as part of the festival this year.
Local artist, and longtime festival exhibitor Doug DeLind will be producing artwork at the festival this year, instead of selling it.
DeLind will be set up along the north side of the Division Street Parking Garage where he will be engaging visitors in the creation of a clay tile mural which will later be installed at City Hall. Community members will be invited to shape and manipulate the clay tiles that will be used as part of the installation, which DeLind will then glaze and assemble.
Near where DeLind will be working, festivalgoers can see another new mural being created, a collaboration between the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the MSU Department of Art and Art History. Each year, for the next four years, a team of graduate and undergraduate students will have the opportunity to conceive and paint a mural on the north-facing outside wall of the Division Street Garage. Each year’s mural will respond to and extend the mural from the one before.
“This year, we envisioned a project that would complement the East Lansing Art Festival and provide our community members and visiting festival patrons with an opportunity to witness the creation of art in progress,” said Peter Dewan, Chair of the DDA.
The new mural is called “Life is a groovy opportunity.”
More artist demonstrations can be found outside of the East Lansing Marriott in Fountain Square. Visitors can watch artists at work blowing glass, creating pottery, weaving, and more.
Musical performances at the Main Stage, located in the Bailey parking lot, will start at 11 a.m. Saturday morning with a performance by the East Lansing High School Jazz Band, an annual tradition.
Ozay Moore will follow at noon, followed by May Erlewine and the Motivations at 1:30 p.m. and Musique Noire at 4 p.m.
On Sunday, performances will include The Further Adventures of FatBoy and JiveTurkey starting at 11 a.m., with The Stringtown Trio performing at 12:30 p.m., Joshua and Rachael Davis at 2 p.m., and The Pistil Whips at 4 p.m.
The Bailey parking lot will also house the food court.
The Children’s Area, located in Ann Street Plaza, will feature hands-on arts activities for all ages. There will also be a Family Stage, with performances throughout the weekend, and the Matt Epling Creative Arts Competition, featuring artwork by local middle school students.
Free bicycle valet parking will be provided by the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council adjacent to the Albert Avenue-Charles Street intersection.
For festival attendees arriving by car, there will be $5 flat rate parking available in the Charles Street and Division Street garages. Both garages will only be accessible via Grand River Avenue.
The Grove Street garage will be accessible by taking Abbot Road to Linden Street to Grove Street. (Albert Avenue is only open westbound from M.A.C. Avenue because of the Center City construction site.)
Busing is another good option for visiting the festival. CATA’s route #1 bus will be running its regular schedule.
CATA will also be offering a special ELAF Bus from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, and from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. Festivalgoers can park at MSU’s Commuter Lot #89 on Farm Lane and Mount Hope Road and catch the shuttle.
Shuttle buses will run approximately every 10-15 minutes between the parking lot and stops along Grand River Avenue (adjacent to the festival site). Round trip fare is 50 cents, and children under 42 inches tall ride free with an adult.
Festival hours run Saturday, May 18th, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Sunday, May 19th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On the south side of Grand River on the MSU campus, the annual MSU Arts and Crafts show will be taking place at the same time.
There is no admission charge for the Art Festival or the craft show.
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