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East Lansing Art Festival going on without director

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TUESDAY, April 23 — The annual East Lansing Art Festival, which is weeks away, is without a festival director.

City Manager George Lahanas dismissed Michelle Carlson as the new executive director of the East Lansing Art Festival last week without explanation,

“We did not have any prior knowledge,” said Alison Alfredson, who chairs the festival’s board. She declined to comment on why Carlson was dismissed.

Alfredson added that it is her understanding that Carlson’s salary was paid by the city although she technically worked under the direction of the festival board. The by-laws state "The Board shall employ staff, subject to policies of the City of East Lansing, to implement the Festival Components."

Without a director, Alfredson and other board members are doing their best to move forward.

“The most immediate concern was that Michelle knew everything,” Alfredson said. “She knew things off the top of her head. She had regular meetings with festival partners. She had an assistant, but even he wasn’t able to pick up where she left off.”

The 56th annual, two-day art festival is scheduled to kick off May 18 with a variety of art and food vendors from Michigan and beyond.

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