2nd annual Art Attack! takes place in lansing
Scattered graffiti cans and a field of worn grass on the corner of Washington Avenue and Malcom X Street were the remnants of Art Attack!, a competition Saturday meant to encourage the integration of art into the community through an on-site art contest, Michigan bands and local vendors.
At the beginning of the event, local participating artists congregated in REO Town in Lansing and were given seven hours between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. to produce an original piece that was relevant to the festival’s theme: the transformation of the surrounding area.
On-site materials were provided for the artists, including industrial-type items such as scrap metal, reminiscent of REO Town’s automobile production-focused past.
Festival volunteer and MSU alumna Eileen Sturm, who now teaches art education in downtown Lansing, helped coordinate a children’s mural that struck a chord with older generations as well.
Sturm said she was happy to be supporting REO Town’s initiative, a cause near and dear to her.
“I think arts are really necessary (in the neighborhood),” she said.
As the center of a once-thriving auto industry, art within REO Town has had the tendency to fall within the shadows of other Lansing creative highlights, such as Old Town, she said. The growth of the festival from 2011, its first year, is reflective of the change occurring within REO Town.
Vendors and competing artists set up shop on the forefront of the lot, while 18 local bands performed on stages behind them. Although the viewing of the art contest was free, a $5 entry cover was required if attendees wished to get up close and personal with the musicians.
Ty Forquer, a graduate student at MSU, and his wife, Rose Forquer, were selling Lansing-related screen T-shirts for their company, 517 Shirts. Their business originally was meant to share their love of the Lansing area, Ty Forquer said. As vendors at the festival, the couple was present for more than a profit.
“It’s all about the positive promotion of Lansing,”
The festival, which began last year, acquired a space four times larger than prior and had 323 confirmed attendees.
Ryan Wert, festival co-organizer and owner of Elm Street Recording, 218 E. Elm St., in Lansing, said that the process of planning the original festival was very fast-paced.
“(Art Attack!) started last year with artists at Art Alley who had a loose idea for an art competition, ” he said. “It ended up being a cool vibe.”