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Local charity art project celebrates the aesthetic of Michigan

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Cedar Street Art Collective’s Mitten Project, which tasks local artist to produce a swath of Michigan and Lansing-centric art, is gearing up for an auction and exhibition, which donates all of its proceeds to Love Lansing, a grassroots charity fund that donates to the Lansing School District’s arts programs.

Cedar Street Art Collective artistic director Andrew Sandstedt remembers his days as a young student at Eastern High School, falling in love with his art classes. He’s worked on the Mitten Project for the past two years, and said this latest fundraiser is helping build the artistic community in Lansing by providing young students with exposure and access to art.

“A lot of us actually grew up in Lansing, went to Lansing schools and were a part of those programs,” Sandstedt said. “I’m a graduate from Eastern High School, and I was there in the late-’80s and early-’90s, and we had phenomenal art programs. I want to see that continue to grow.”

Witnessing firsthand the impact the fundraiser has on the students and teachers is Sandstedt’s favorite part of being involved with the Mitten Project.

“We’re helping not only to raise money, but to advance young people’s love of art and their art education,” Sandstedt  said. “It’s great to see how excited they are, and to build that community relationship.”

Sandstedt also said the art is unique and affordable for people to purchase. “You’re not only going to get a great piece of art, but you’re also helping a great cause,” he said.

For the first time, there will be an actual exhibition for the Mitten Project’s art at the Cedar Street Art Collective.

“We have received invaluable feedback from artists and supporters over the years, and believe that the Mitten Project deserves its own exhibition,” the project’s mission statement reads. “Moving the mittens to a separate space will increase the visibility of the artists and their work and expand Love Lansing’s reach to a broader audience.”

The annual Love Lansing fundraiser was created by artist Paul Vetne, and more than $31,000 has been raised since its foundation, which has provided art materials, summer art camps and scholarships to Lansing students.

“Without public schools exposing young people to the arts, creative forces in Lansing might not exist,” the fundraiser’s website reads. “We recognize this, and with the help of local musicians, artists, volunteers, and local businesses, we pledge to do our part in making sure that art in Lansing sticks around.”

While you check out the art produced by the Mitten Project at the Cedar Street Art Collective, you can also participate in a meet-and-greet with the artists.

“This will be a great way for people to spend a little more time seeing the pieces,” Sandstedt said. “To be able to see some of these kids, you know they have talent but the resources aren’t there. If we can do something as artists to help directly help them, that’s why we do it.”

Mitten Project Exhibit

Sunday, Feb. 9, noon to 5 p.m.

Cedar Street Art Collective

1701 S. Cedar St., Lansing

Love Lansing Fundraiser Party

Sunday, Feb. 16, 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Green Door Bar & Grill

2005 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

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