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Arts commission wary on transfer of (SCENE) Metrospace

April 17, 2015

The East Lansing Arts Commission remains apprehensive about City Council’s proposition to hand over operations of (SCENE) Metrospace to MSU.

The city has discussed allowing MSU’s Department of Art, Art History, and Design to take control of administration and programming of the gallery, in order to save the city $14,500 annually on leasing the building. City Council would still cover $4,000 worth of utility costs for the building, however.

Department chair Chris Corneal spoke at the April 14 city council work session to discuss the university's hopes for the building.

“We’re very excited to get art out into the world,” Corneal said. “This space would give us opportunities we don’t have on campus and offer more inclusive programming.”

City council has discussed the change of management since September.

“The city’s continued investment in (SCENE) is a testament to our ongoing commitment to bringing the moniker 'City of the Arts' to life, while also tackling pressing budget challenges in a responsible way,” wrote mayor Nathan Triplett in a post on his Facebook page.

However, members of the East Lansing Arts Commission expressed displeasure with the idea at the city council meeting and held a lengthy discussion of options at their meeting on April 16.

Commission Chair Sarah Gonzales Triplett had originally considered proposing a three month delay on the decision, as to allow for further exploration of potential business options that would draw people into (SCENE) Metrospace.

Following discussion, the commission was worried that such a moratorium would discourage MSU from the deal and leave the space unoccupied.

Instead, the commission agreed on a letter concerning updated language in the contract agreement between MSU and the city.

The clarifications include language that ensures the gallery would remain open to citizens year-round, including the summer. In addition, language was added allowing for serious review of the agreement if (SCENE) ever remained without activity for three consecutive weeks.

“The space has evolved over time,” communications coordinator Ami VanAnTwerp said. “The university can use the pace to showcase student perspectives and encourage community involvement.”

City council will continue the discussion regarding (SCENE) Metrospace at their April 28 meeting.

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