Crawling with artists

Citywide event showcases art in its native habitat

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 Bar crawls sound like fun to begin with, but they always leave you the worse for wear. A Creative Crawl has the opposite effect — the more stops you make, the more energized, inspired and enlightened you get. What, exactly, is a creatives crawl? Lansing is about to find out: Makers and artists are joining forces to celebrate the creative community with the first-ever 2022 Capital City Creatives Crawl on Saturday (June 25). 

Event organizer Sara Pulver said the idea for this citywide art studio and driveway sale event came at the beginning of the pandemic, when many festivals and markets were canceled and artists lost thousands of dollars in income. Pulver, an illustrator and designer, noticed that in other cities, artists opened up their driveways and studios, inviting people into their space and coming together as a community.  

“I thought it would be a perfect fit for Lansing, as we have such an incredible community of creatives here,” Pulver said. Armed with a background in arts administration and her own work as a professional artist, Pulver set about organizing an all-ages, accessible event for local artists. She not only knew what she wanted to do — she knew what she wanted to avoid. 

“A lot of shows and markets can have barriers to access — booth fees, hosting site, travel fees, a jury panel that is focused on educational background,” she said. She invited local artists to sign up for free and offered to host artists without traditional spaces or studios at nearby businesses. 

The event spans 20 local venues across the greater Lansing area, encouraging people to shop locally. Some artists are opening up their home studios, some are hauling their wares into their driveways in yard sale fashion and others are showcasing their work in a pop-up style at local businesses like Cedar Street Art Collective, Vintage Junkies, and Capital Hippie. 

Locations include Cedar Street Art Collective, Debbie Carlos Studio & GRAMMAR, Sadsquatch, Sunset Clay Studio, MexOne Creative, Dennis Preston, The Artist’s Umbrella, Dear Ollie & SarahJean Sews, Capital Hippie, Downy Tree Art, Ari Franklin Paints & Elizabeth Vickers, REO Town Marketplace, and Vintage Junkies.  

Cedar Street Art Collective’s goal in joining the Creatives Crawl is twofold, according to Annie Signs, co-founder and operations director: to exhibit and promote emerging and professional artists in the area and to recognize the existing building’s rich history of opportunities for artists.  

The collective has housed local artists in full working studios since 2016. “Cedar Street Art Collective has been operating for over five years and has culturally impacted many visitors and, most importantly, some of our neighbors in the Baker Neighborhood,” Signs said. “This event gives us the opportunity to show the community what a great resource we have here in South Lansing.” 

Special guest Jacob McCormick, who chairs the Ingham County Historical Commission, will join present and former resident artists at a historical marker unveiling event in front of the collective’s 1929 building at 1 p.m., in conjunction with the Creatives Crawl.  

Andrew D. Sandstedt, Collective co-founder and creative director, is acting as both a site host and artist. He hopes that after visiting these studios and workspaces, visitors will feel a sense of wonder and appreciation of what it takes to produce art. 

“I’m hoping the public will also gain a deeper respect for the artist community here in Lansing and the depth of talent they will get to experience up close,” he said. “I believe that art appreciation and creative impact happens in a community when people are educated on the ‘how’ of the art, not just the finished product.” 

Sandstedt said patrons, collectors and consumers of art aren’t just buying a pretty painting, but “a story, a ‘why’ of that artist. An event like this will help foster those critical personal connections.” 

Kaity Hemgesberg, a.k.a. Sadsquatch, is a local artist who makes stickers, cards and prints.  

“The Creatives Crawl offers a low-stakes way for anyone to put their artwork in front of the community,” Hemgesberg said. Sadsquatch will be setting up her art and hosting two other confirmed artists, Waxxwitch and JamKatz, at her home at 216 W. Gier St.  

The Creatives Crawl is a way for art lovers to nurture a growing creative community while buying from local artists. Hemgesberg encourages people to stop by. “If you've ever wished Lansing could be more like Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, etc., it starts with supporting the local artists and shops that make our city unique,” she said. “Lansing has a real shot to be viewed as a city of creatives, makers, and artists. With every event like this, that reputation grows, and I think it inspires others locally to venture into the creative realm as well.” 

Pulver hopes the event becomes a recurring gig for artists and art appreciators alike.  

“This is an event hosted by the artists, the creators, the makers themselves,” she said. “It's a unique opportunity to see their work exactly as they want it to be seen. The fact that folks will be traversing across town is an added bonus — so easy to swing in and grab lunch at your favorite local restaurant, snag an ice cream cone, enjoy a walk downtown, and more.”

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