Last year a group of Lansing residents, local officials and graffiti artists took a decapitated motel and turned it into one of the coolest attractions in town. Deluxe Inn was a motel in REO Town and was planned for demolition in late summer. Until that fast approaching demolition deadline the motel was an eyesore for hundreds of people who drove by it everyday. Deluxe Inn was located at the gateway from Downtown Lansing into REO Town and was an ill-representation for what REO Town has to offer.
In order to turn this abandoned building around, local organizers invited some of the best graffiti artists from all over the US and a few artists from abroad. With the seemingly omnipresent hissing of spray cans, the motel’s blank walls were converted into a giant piece of art. A once abandoned building became a major attraction. Local residents went there for picnics, photographers took models there to take advantage of the ambiance and others pulled in right from the highway to see all the art.
When the time came to demolish the building, I wasn’t alone in feeling a huge sense of loss. Seemingly overnight we were to lose a beautiful display of art. The demolition was inevitable and eventually the building became a flat piece of land.
In celebration of Hip Hop week and graffiti, the REACH studio art center has organized an event to display the works of Tom Sheerin, a local artist that has created new art on 3D wood and metal sculptures. Pieces from last years graffiti project will be installed on 3D metal sculptures along REO Town’s commercial corridor on Washington Sq. “The materials used go hand in hand with REO Town. It has a rich history in industry and by recycling and reusing materials it is acknowledging that history,” Sheerin said.
There are many contagions in the world that people are afraid of catching. People spend hundreds of dollars buying supplies in order to avoid catching the Ebola virus, SARS, or the Bird Flu. They may have even been the only people smart enough to convert all of their cash into gold and fill their bathtubs with water in order to avoid the catastrophe that was Y2K when all of the world’s computers became sentient and attacked the human race. If you don’t remember that happening, you are either under 10 years old or the computers have wiped your memory. I only hope that I can warn you that you live in the Matrix before they get to me.
Most of these contagions are overblown media extravaganzas. The level of threat that the average person faces is infinitesimally small. Not that they shouldn’t be taken seriously, but you and I should not avoid eating chicken (unless you are a vegetarian/vegan) because we are worried about getting influenza of the bird variety. You can safely ignore 99% of all contagions in the news.
However…there is a contagion that is spreading throughout Lansing. It is one that is affecting a large portion of the population, and is flying under the radar. You can find some newspaper reports about it, but by and large the situation is rapidly spreading out of control. I don’t want to spread alarm, but I think that the Lansing area is soon going to be completely swallowed by it. It’s going to be worse than the impending Zombie apocalypse. Our only chance is to embrace the contagion, and hope for the best.
What has me so worried, you ask? What is it that you have to prepare your family for?
Are you sitting down? You should be, because what I’m about to tell you is disconcerting, to say the least.
While Lansing is itself a small city compared to New York, Chicago, L.A. and Detroit, it still is a city. And like all cities, there are buildings, concrete, and people everywhere you turn. It can get a bit overwhelming at times, causing you to head for greener pastures. Lucky for us, Lansing isn’t like New York or Detroit where you can only head to one major park in each city (Central Park or Bell Isle). There is no shortage of green space for Lansing area residents to escape to. And yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition, which is my prerogative.
The true beauty of Lansing may actually lay in its people, but a large part of its beauty is the park system. The city of Lansing has over 100 official public parks of various size and style. Some are simply the land surrounding historic buildings. Some are small with just a simple swing set. Others spread out over several acres of forested land.