Saturday, June 6, 2020

East Lansing Art Festival canceled following local state of emergency extension

April 3, 2020
<p>The East Lansing Art Festival on Albert Avenue on May 18, 2019. </p>

The East Lansing Art Festival on Albert Avenue on May 18, 2019.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

The 57th East Lansing Art Festival has been canceled after East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier extended the local state of emergency through April 30 in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“While it was difficult to come to these decisions regarding our facilities, programming and events, we do believe that they are in the best interest of public health and are necessary for current planning purposes,” East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas said in a press release. “These decisions are also in accordance with the federal guidance on large-scale events and gatherings.” 

The East Lansing Art Festival, originally scheduled for May 16-17, is held every year in downtown East Lansing to allow the community to celebrate and appreciate art, culture and creativity. Local artists exhibit and sell their artwork at the festival to more than 70,000 participants annually, according to the East Lansing Art Festival website.

All artists, vendors and sponsors will receive necessary reimbursements for their booth fees, according to the festival’s Facebook page.

The art festival joins many other events that have been canceled in response to COVID-19, including the annual MSU Model UN conference — originally scheduled for March 13-15 — and the Recycle! East Lansing event — originally scheduled for May 27. These events were canceled to promote social distancing.

After the local state of emergency's extension, other events were postponed, such as the 2020 Crystal Awards, expected to take place July 29, and the East Lansing Public Library’s 2020 Books, Bites & Bids event, which hasn't yet been rescheduled.

Though the art festival has been canceled, the festival organizers still encourage the East Lansing community to support local artists during this unprecedented time.

“Many creatives have had to cancel events,” the East Lansing Art Festival wrote in a Facebook post March 23. “Find them online and see if they have gone digital. Support your favorite artists however you can. We appreciate our artists, festival volunteers, and corporate and community sponsorships. Thank you for your patience.”

The 56th Annual East Lansing Art Festival took place Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 in downtown East Lansing. The art festival promotes art education within the greater East Lansing community, the festival's website said. "The mission of the ELAF (East Lansing Art Festival) is to enhance the sense of community and appreciation of art, culture and creativity in East Lansing and the greater Lansing region," the art festival's website said.

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