Golden anniversary for East Lansing art


For 50 years, the East Lansing Art Festival has celebrated the city’s history and affluence in the arts. As a precursor, (SCENE) Metrospace will host the “The East Lansing Art Festival 50th Anniversary Poster Art Exhibition,” opening today.

The exhibit will be a display of the various posters that have promoted the event since its inception. Metrospace director Tim Lane said residents will be able to take a lot from the exhibit.

“They’ll be able to come and view some great art, that being some purchase pieces that the city has purchased from the art festival over the years,” Lane said. “They’ll be able to relive some fond memories of visiting the art festival after viewing some art posters from over the years.”


East Lansing Community Events Assistant Michelle Carlson said the exhibit gives a snapshot of the different styles of art that have called East Lansing home.

“You can see the progression of graphic art and different mediums, so that’s interesting,” Carlson said.

Graphic design firm CiesaDesign has designed many of the posters since 1991. Lauren Ciesa, founder and owner of the firm, said they donate the artwork to help promote art in the community.

“When you can look at the artwork you can see different eras and popularity,” Ciesa said. “It was always a symbol of that spring celebration in East Lansing. Going back 50 years, I think we have the second-oldest art festival in the state of Michigan. I think the Ann Arbor festival is two years older than we are.”

Ciesa was the company representative on the East Lansing Arts Commission until eight years ago. He said though he did many of the original posters, there’s a variety of artists represented, from his firm and outside.

“I don’t want to short my other artists who have also done work on it,” he said. “In the early years, I did most of them as an artist myself. When you look at the collection that will be up for the exhibit tomorrow, you’ll see a good cross-section of different artists’ points of view on the collection.”

Arts and humanities senior Augusta Morrison, who volunteers at (SCENE) Metrospace, 410 Abbot Rd., recommended that students check out the exhibition.

“The poster conventions showcases all of the different events that have happened in Lansing over the years,” she said. “Through the poster display, it’s easy to read, and posters are very accessible, so you see them all over, and that’s what makes posters cool. They have artistic nature and an informational kind of purpose. The posters showcase local artists, too, so that’s another interesting characteristic about a poster exhibition.”

Ciesa said the East Lansing Art Festival is something that the city has a lot of pride in, and the exhibition helps represent that pride.

“What I think it represents is it’s been a 50-year commitment to the arts programs in East Lansing,” he said. It’s a meeting place for all the artists and people in the community. I think that’s what they’ll learn. They’ll see the growth and the commitment.”

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