Lansing Art Gallery creates outdoor sculpture park
With many industries going through changes of technological advancements, a culture has developed for innovation in various fields, which now includes a local art gallery.
As the Lansing Art Gallery opened a new exhibition on June 1, Catherine Babcock, the executive director of the gallery said the exhibition is set on bringing art and interactivity to area patrons through Michigan-based sculptures.
“If they’re not going to come in to the art, we’ll bring it to them,” Babcock said. “It’s exciting to be able to bring artwork to people who might not normally seek it out.”
The exhibition, Sculptures in the Park, runs through Aug. 30 and consists of 10 sculptures scattered amid the trees and city bustle of Wentworth Park, on the corner of E. Michigan Avenue and S. Grand Avenue in Lansing.
“Showing work in public space makes people aware of public space and engage in public space,” Jefferson Kielwagen, sculpture exhibitor and MSU art faculty, said.
Public engagement increased by leaps and bounds this year due to technological additions to the gallery, Babcock said.
Through the Galley’s app, available to smartphone users, or by phoning in, a prerecorded message by the artist explains each piece.
“(It) educates people about art without them being in a classroom,” Babcock said.
Sculpture exhibitor Steve Baibak said this art exists to make the passerby’s life more interesting.
Lansing resident Elyse Gottschall found the sculptures by accident and said it is one of the many positive changes happening downtown.
“It’s fun to walk around the city now,” Gottschall said. “(The exhibition) makes people want to be in their community. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have wanted to walk around down here.”
Although the city is changing, one of the sculptures from last year’s exhibition was demolished by vandals. The Gallery intends to be proactive this year by setting up surveillance cameras accessible 24/7, Babcock said.
But prevention and protection is not the only use.
“Artists can access it,” Babcock said. “They can watch how people are interacting with their work.”
Funding for the artist’s work is provided by The Gallery, who received their funding for this project through a public grant.
“(The) cultural grant is huge,” Babcock said. “We would not be able to do this without it.”
Babcock said a continuation of this grant could turn the Sculptures in the Park into an annual thing.
“For public art money to come into this area is pretty amazing,” Baibak said. “It’s something that hasn’t happened in a long time.”