Pull up a chair. Let’s talk about Arts Night Out

Pull up a chair. Let’s talk about Arts Night Out

by Taylor Haslett

The perfect example of creative placemaking. A mix of local business, artists and community participation. The opportunity to have art experiences in a non-intimidating way. A free event on a Friday night to bring people out and enjoy the community they live in. This is what Arts Night Out is and why we created it. This is the work we are proud to do and share with you.

A night on the town

This free, bi-monthly, Friday-evening event runs from 5-8 p.m. January, March, May, July, September and November. Arts Night Out creates an opportunity for us at the Arts Council to pair individual visual, performing and literary artists with local businesses to transform them into mini-art galleries and performance spaces. The event also offers an opportunity for the general public to enjoy an evening of art, entertainment and exploration of the unique galleries, shops and restaurants in Old Town Lansing. It is my favorite thing to post about on my own social media channels. I love it when I can share with my friends just what it is I am up to at the Arts Council, as well as experience the event along with them.

It’s all about exploration

We’ve been hosting Arts Night Out in Old Town and other neighborhoods since May 2016. In the wake of COVID-19, we made the tough decision to postpone our event, and it broke our hearts. We hope to make it up at a later date in the fall, added to our current schedule with July, September and November still planned to go on as usual. While we have all seen many events successfully transition to online, the Arts Council  chose to forego a “virtual” version of this event. It is really important to us that we maintain the original message and mission behind Arts Night Out–to create a bustling, friendly, walkable event that brings people out to explore different neighborhoods.

We want attendees to see, feel and experience the art, as well as the inside of the stores and businesses hosting artists, and we felt a virtual event wouldn’t be doing Arts Night Out justice. The Arts Council’s Arts Night Out project is a catalyst for economic development in the Old Town neighborhood by increasing visibility, foot traffic and employment opportunities for artists. We want this program to continue to help artists AND the local businesses they are paired with. We want to continue to help build relationships as these two entities work together to create unique displays, performances and one-stop shops for arts and entertainment.

Looking forward

We are all looking toward the future and excited to to get back in the office and plan fun and exciting activities for the upcoming Arts Night Out events happening later this year, and I am looking so forward to working with our amazing artists and local businesses once more to maintain our vibrant Old Town neighborhood. If all goes well, we will see everyone in Old Town for our July 10 Arts Night Out, and in the meantime, email me if you would like to brainstorm ideas to make Arts Night Out the very best it can be!