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Lansing Wins NEA “Art Works” Grant to Plan Adado Riverfront Park Improvements 

Lansing, Michigan—The Arts Council of Greater Lansing and the City of Lansing today announced that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded Lansing a $40,000 Art Works grant to plan major improvements to Adado Riverfront Park, including a permanent outdoor entertainment area and performing arts stage that will provide a much-needed venue for cultural activities and festivals that will benefit the entire metro Lansing region. Lansing’s award is part of more than $80 million in federal funding for local arts projects and partnerships announced today by NEA Chairman Jane Chu.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said Chairman Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from the City of Lansing offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

“This is a great step in the right direction as we continue transforming Lansing into the hub of the wheel for arts and entertainment in metro Lansing,” said Mayor Virg Bernero. “An outdoor amphitheater at Riverfront Park would be an excellent addition to our city and region, and we are so grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for this generous financial award.”

The award comes after months of deliberations and planning meetings that brought together numerous metro Lansing leaders, including the Arts Council of Greater Lansing’s executive director, Deborah E. Mikula, who assisted in writing the project grant. “The Arts Council was pleased to lead the steering committee for this project,” said Mikula. “Adado Riverfront Park is a beautiful natural resource in Lansing, but it is often underutilized as a park,” she said. “A permanent stage will offer so much more in the way of public entertainment and festivals and will encourage people to support more arts and cultural activities in downtown Lansing.”

The NEA Art Works grant will help pay for community charrettes that will create a shared vision for the future of Adado Riverfront Park as well as preliminary designs for the performing arts stage and surrounding environs.

The city’s geographic boundaries are at the center of a progressive and growing three-county region and Lansing serves as a major focal point for arts and cultural activities that draw residents and visitors from across Michigan and the Midwest. While Lansing is rich in cultural amenities, it lacks a permanent outdoor entertainment area and stage that would offer patrons a wide variety of seasonal cultural offerings. This project will strengthen and connect another asset to the city’s existing arts, culture and entertainment district by transforming an underused green space into a vibrant cultural space that provides continuous programming on a seasonal basis in coordination with artists and arts organizations across the tri-county region.

“A state-of-the-art performing arts facility will be a permanent source of entertainment for metro Lansing, which will generate additional tax revenue for the city, increase property values and encourage future economic development projects in the region,” says Lansing Economic Area Partnership CEO Robert L. Trezise, Jr. “It will be the perfect addition to metro Lansing’s amenities and reinforces the importance the arts play in the life of the community and in attracting and retaining young talent.”

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring16. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to arts.gov

Founded in 1965, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing exists to support, strengthen and promote arts, culture and creativity in the capital region. For more information, visit www.lansingarts.org.