Friday, October 22, 2021

Lansing secures $2 million in funding for new performing arts center

October 7, 2021
Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor announced that a state budget deal had passed for 2021-2022 which included $2 million in funding for a Lansing performing arts center.

This $2 million is in addition to $8 million from the Public, Education and Government budget prior that will support the addition of the Lansing Public Media Center. 

Schor, Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr and Executive Vice President of the Capital Region Community Foundation Laurie Strauss Baumer, among others had major roles to play in this project. 

While East Lansing has the Wharton Center, which seats 2,254 — Lansing doesn’t have an appropriate space for up-and-coming artists or more intimate shows. Additionally, the Wharton Center is almost continuously booked. 

"We are at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting entertainers and performing arts to the Capital City simply because we do not have the space that other regions around the state offer," Hertel said in a press release.

Schor praised Hertel, who represents Lansing in the state Senate, for his work in making this project a reality.

“We have been working on the creation of a Performing Arts Center in Lansing for many years that will primarily serve as a live music venue," Schor said. "I am proud that my advocacy and the leadership of Sen. Hertel will help make those tentative plans a reality for our city and region.” 

Strauss Baumer, who serves on the Facilities Committee on the mayor's Arts and Culture Commission, said she is excited for the prospect of watching musicians blossom at the performing arts center.

While the performing arts center will be a downscaled version of its initial design, Strauss Baumer is looking forward to what the new plan could mean for Lansing. 

“I think it's going to be a fabulous facility — I’m excited about it, we all are,” Strauss Baumer said. “We see it as a much needed venue, in fact, I think we could use more.”

Strauss Baumer said she gets excited when she thinks about the “up-and-comers" who will be able to be booked for the new performance center.

"People that may be under the radar because they haven’t had a top ten hit yet ... and if they come to Lansing on their journey up ... that’s kind of cool,” Strauss Baumer said.

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