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East Lansing appoints interim Art Festival director

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THURSDAY, May 2 — The city of East Lansing has hired a Michigan State University Museum executive to run this year’s East Lansing Art Festival after the abrupt dismissal of its executive director.

Juliet Levy-Weston will serve as the interim coordinator for this year’s festival, which is May 18 and 19 in downtown East Lansing.

Levy-Weston has worked at the MSU Museum since 1997 in event planning and logistics. During the late ‘80s, she helped pitch the Great Lakes Folk Music Festival to the city and served as its technical coordinator for 16 years.

Michelle Carlson was let go as the director last month by City Manager George Lahanas, who has declined to comment on the reason. Efforts to reach Carlson for comment have been unsuccessful.

The festival board’s chairwoman, Alison Alfredson, said the board of directors was blindsided by the removal and are “not allowed to talk about” the events which led up to Carlson being fired.

Alfredson said interviews for the new director were conducted by city officials and representatives of the Arts Commission. None of the Art Festival Board directors sat in during interviews with candidates, she said, even though the board has been under the impression that the director works for the board.

According to the festival bylaws, the festival board  “shall employ staff, subject to policies of the City of East Lansing, to implement the Festival Components.”

The festival board released a statement saying it is working closely with the city “to ensure that the festival will be the same quality” that the community has grown to expect over the years.

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