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Citywide Lansing mural festival takes place through Sept. 21

September 20, 2019
<p>Partially completed mural in Lansing with the Below the Stacks mural art festival. COURTESY OF ALEXIS ROSADO</p>

Partially completed mural in Lansing with the Below the Stacks mural art festival. COURTESY OF ALEXIS ROSADO

Eight Lansing buildings are canvases for 11 artists in the Below the Stacks Citywide Mural Festival.

“Lansing has just too many blank walls for there not to be art on them,” said Dustin Hunt, co-director for the event.

The festival, which started Sept. 15 and will run through Sept. 21, has gathered artists from around the world. Artists will be painting throughout the week, in addition to the daily events taking place.

Detroit producer Tall Black Guy will be DJing for the block party from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 20. Producer and rapper Oddisee will perform at the finale block party Sept. 21 which runs from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The party also features a time-lapse video of each mural being painted.

Diversity was emphasised when selecting artists, said Hunt.

“We wanted to have a range of styles for sure, but we also wanted to have cultural representation,” Hunt said. “We [also] wanted to have lots of women involved in this festival.”

While artists came from as far as Seoul, South Korea to participate, the festival has plenty of local ties.

Hunt is a Michigan State alumnus and the City of Lansing-funded event includes local artists.

“This is an event that was created by Lansing people and [is] being executed by people all over the world, but Lansing people are helping execute it as well,” said Marketing Manager Alexis Rosado.

There will be an artist talk from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 18 for artists to speak more about the meaning of their murals. Below the Stacks will also release a podcast with each artist speaking of their work.

“Each artist, they just have depth to their work,” Hunt said. “At first glance, you might not catch it right away, but I think upon doing a little bit of research about the artist you’ll learn that there is a lot of substance to their work.”

Maddie Chaffer, MSU graphic design senior, was one of nine apprentices chosen to assist the 11 mural artists out of 35 applicants.

Chaffer said she has helped at every opportunity, learning about the profession in the process.

“Talking to the artists has given me perspective on what the job really is,” Chaffer said.

One thing Chaffer noticed is the difference between the way Below the Stacks ran the festival compared to other organizations she’d worked with.

“I don’t think that I’ve been involved in an event before that is run so well by local people,” Chaffer said.

Even as an artist, Chaffer said she is moved by these murals. 

“This has been just amazingly impressive to me. To see what everyone can do when we really focus in and zero in on this goal of making this love letter to Lansing.”


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