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This Weekend in Lansing: Eastside Folklife Festival and ARTspace Pop Up Market


Lansing Eastside Folklife Festival

10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Allen Neighborhood Center

1611 E. Kalamazoo St., Lansing

Click here for event page

There will be a folk festival gracing Lansing this year after all — complete with workshops, vendors, food trucks and 15 musical acts from a diverse blend of cultures.

“This is not just about entertainment. It is equal parts learning and education,” said Marsha MacDowell, director of MSU’s Michigan Traditional Arts Program and Eastside Folklife Festival volunteer.

“I think this kind of event is the exactly the kind of outreach and engagement activity that the university has as one of its mainstay missions.”

Part of this learning mission includes the festival’s workshops, said MacDowell. “When you have participatory activities, you engage people directly in experiencing an art form.”

After the Great Lakes Folk Festival cancellation, MacDowell said, it was challenging to get this event together in only five months.

“The upside is we had a very fantastic group of community arts advocates and activists,” said MacDowell. “Community leaders pulled together and mustered a team of the skilled and willed to make this happen.”

It is important to make the Eastside Folklife Festival for all of Greater Lansing, said MacDowell. “It is free, because we have a commitment to accessibility,” said MacDowell. “Admission would be a barrier to some, so we removed it.”

The Eastside Folklife Festival helps sustain a beloved folk tradition in Lansing, said MacDowell. “It presents a great diversity of local and global artists year in and year out, and ones that are not typically seen outside of their root communities.”

ARTspace Pop Up Market

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Vacant lot next to Hot Water Works

Corner of E. Michigan Ave. and S. Fairview

Click here for more info

There is a new artist collective on the block. Enter ARTspace, an organization ready to showcase artists in Lansing’s Eastside neighborhood.

“The group started from a post on Facebook,” said ARTspace chair Bridget Doyle. “Someone said they made art and they were wondering where to sell and advertise it.”

Responding to the post, Doyle said, she wondered if anyone else had this problem and decided to act on it. “We had a lot of responses,” said Doyle.

Springing up on July 17, ARTspace filled a void in the Eastside neighborhood, said Doyle.

Jessica Short of ARTspace said it was bound to happen. “The Eastside has a distinct character as a neighborhood, and there weren’t any groups helping develop that character as a facing persona,” said Short.

“This venue will hopefully be membership driven, and can help people amplify their voices.”

ARTspace vendor and artist Lindsey Ventre Gomez said, “These girls are wonderful. They've done so much for the neighborhood. I live on Francis Street, so it’s a blessing and wonderful surprise.”

After being in Austin for eight years, Ventre Gomez said that coming back to Lansing and seeing grassroots efforts like ARTspace is refreshing.

“I am a big cheerleader for Lansing. I couldn't believe when I came back into town … the business I was seeing, the real estate investment, the people that I was meeting that were passionate from things like I was.”

ARTspace plans to be more than a pop up function, said Ventre Gomez. “Art programs are being cut in a lot of schools,” said Ventre Gomez.

“I talk to neighbors a lot and we want to mentor children and make sure they are exposed to the arts, because it is such a great coping skill. You can express yourself and that opens up a whole new world for kids.”

Aside from the advantages of networking, having a local group of artists put on shows is cost effective, said Doyle. “A lot of craft shows you see you have to pay $50 to $100 a spot. For this Saturday, it is only $15 per vendor.”

With sponsors like the Eastside Neighborhood Organization, ARTspace has the supportive backbone it needs to continue growing, said Doyle.

“The sky's the limit, but we have to pick which sky to go after,” said Short.

Musical entertainment by The Further Adventures of Fatboy & Jive Turkey.

Other weekend events:

Sundown Safari Camping

6 p.m. Aug. 11 to 9:30 a.m. Aug. 12, Potter Park Zoo, 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave.

2nd Annual Phil Denny's Armory Smooth Jazz Fete

1 to 9 p.m., Marshall Street Armory, 330 Marshall St.

Imaging the Sacred: the Straits of Mackinac an Exhibit

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Library of Michigan, 702 W. Kalamazoo St.


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