Friday, April 12, 2024

Local artists show out their talent at Old Town's "Arts Night Out"

October 8, 2023
Old Town's Arts Night Out featured local shops across Lansing.
Old Town's Arts Night Out featured local shops across Lansing. —

In Old Town last Friday, the community gathered to celebrate their final “Arts Night Out” of the 2023 season.

Organized by the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, Arts Night Out started in 2016 as an event intended to unite upcoming artists and long-standing businesses. Held on the first or second Friday night of each month from April to October, businesses throughout the community provide a space for artists to set up and showcase their talents from 5 to 8 p.m.

The event allows community members to enjoy food and drinks while helping support local artists. Despite the rainy weather, there was a significant turnout. From start to finish, people found shelter from the rain in conversations with artists.

Some artists chose to simply display their art, while others, like Sue Allen with her 'Pour Painting' event, orchestrated immersive experiences that enabled individuals to design their own masterpieces through hands-on demonstrations.

“Lansing is so full of so many talented people that you never realize just how many artists are emerging or do this on the side," Sarah Arredando, the owner of Katalyst, an art gallery in Lansing, said

Katalyst hosts over 300 local artists and collaborates with artists from around the world, including those in France, India, Ireland and beyond.

On Friday, Katalyst was busy with groups of people chatting with the artists and one another. Arredando said connections were created over a love for art and care for one another.

Many artists, such as Brooke Peiffer who owns Reseed Ceramics, have been in the business for a long time and are continuously inspired to do so.

“Art feeds my soul in a way that other things don’t,” Peiffer said. “The first thing I remember about being alive is making art.”

Peiffer has spent 13 years practicing and perfecting different techniques. She said her ceramics require a tedious process that can take up to a month to finish for a single batch.

All of Peiffer's work is inspired by nature, reflecting her deep connection to the natural world. Little things such as the textures on mugs are inspired by tree bark and the glazing on plates are taken from seascapes

On Friday, Peiffer exhibited at Odd Nodd Art Supply owned by Casey Sorrow, Peiffer’s highschool friend. As the sun set, the two friends spent the evening catching up. 

Peiffer said that the relationships, such as her and Sorrow’s, established by community events such as “Arts Night Out” are what inspire her the most.

For some owners, “Arts Night Out” is a blast from the past. 

Bradley Rakowski of Bradly’s HG, a furniture store in Lansing, shares the same underdog story that many current artists tell. Starting from humble beginnings, Bradly HG began in the back corner of another business’ building.

Twelve years later, he now owns his own establishment of 7,000 square feet in which he sells 23 lines of furniture, clothing and jewelry, home goods and oddly enough, cooking classes. He now uses his space to help other artists create a name for themselves.

“We’re grounded to our community,” Rakowski said. “We don’t just want to sell stuff, we want to create an experience for people.” 

For people like Rakowski, “Arts Night Out” is crucial as it can mark an artist's first step toward expanding their business. He wants to support and nurture that.

In the past seven years, “Arts Night Out” has become a key event for artists, businesses and community members to connect and explore new local art.

“It is really awesome to see people appreciating art,” Arredando said. “Just getting a lot of people in here that have either never been to ‘Arts Night Out’ or come every time is what I love.”


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