A Few Words From Debbie–It’s All About the People

A Few Words From Debbie

It’s All About the People

People. It is always about the people. Our community is vibrant and thriving because of the spirited, passionate and creative souls who make up the arts environment here in greater Lansing. Our artists, arts educators and arts and cultural organizational leaders work tirelessly each and every day so that others can enjoy the fruits of their labors. They work long hours, for little pay, but their commitment to make our community a better place to live, work and visit is inspiring. 

Every day, I am blessed to interact with folks like… 

Erik Larsen at Impression 5 Science Center who moved up through the ranks to his current position as executive director and has reinvigorated this world-class space right here in the center of Lansing. His humble and contagious personality is the heart and soul of this space, and he leads with integrity and passion. 

…or how about artist, Julian Van Dyke, who gives of his time (so much of his time) to create vibrant and engaging murals all over our community and in our schools. He loves to share his talent and mentor others – children and adults alike.  

…and it goes without saying how much I admire the curatorial work that Katrina Daniels leads at MICA Gallery.  She is always exploring new ideas and thinking of new ways to showcase artwork.  What I like most is the boldness exuded in her creative decisions and this is what sets MICA apart from other contemporary art galleries.  

…and then there are these three talented creatives and friends – Mary Ablao, Melissa Eggleston and Tracie Davis who’ve taken extremely large leaps of faith this year to open up three very distinct and creative galleries in Clinton County – they are building the foundations of their businesses and their success is exciting. Their long-held dreams are being realized. 

…and of course, there is the sweet soul who leads Happendance – Missy Lilje. I don’t think I’ve ever met a creative who exemplifies kindness and tenacity quite like her. She is taking Happendance to new levels of professionalism and her intuition and gut instincts on what she can accomplish are leading her in all the right directions.  

…let’s also not forget Alice Brinkman at Reach Studio Art Center. Her “can do” attitude makes her such a valuable asset to the community as she and her incredible and dedicated staff work tirelessly to create a kid-friendly environment that is a safe and solid place for them to explore their creativity. 

…and then there is our old friend, Craig Mitchell Smith, an extraordinary, internationally-acclaimed glass artist and business man who is the Arts Council’s greatest fan. He is someone that will never forget his roots and is always willing to share his story from rags to riches with anyone who inquires. He has placed himself squarely and indefinitely in the Lansing community, and we couldn’t be prouder to call him one of ours. 

…and our new friend, Ivan Iler, a soft spoken, zealous metal artist who has wowed me more times than not with his creative and inspiring sculptures.  Even before I knew his name, I was speaking his praises and knew that he was going to make a mark on our community. Just wait! 

These people, AND SO MANY OTHERS, are the driving force for community change, engagement and inspiration. 

These are our members. They are the Arts Council. Check out all of our members on our website Directory. Join us! 


Deborah E. Mikula

Executive Director