Unique Partnership Blends Coffee and Advocacy in One Cup

Arts Council executive director, Meghan Martin, and Blue Owl owner, Nick Berry, showing their support.

Unique Partnership Blends Coffee and Advocacy in One Cup

Coffee shops and art truly are the perfect blend! At least that’s what the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and the Blue Owl believe. The local coffee shop and local arts organization have been in each other’s corner for many years, sharing the love of coffee and the arts.

Long before the Blue Owl’s permanent location opened in REO Town, Nick Berry, the Blue Owl’s owner and his beloved coffee cart were regular fixtures at the Arts Council’s bimonthly event, Arts Night Out. Arts Night Out attendees knew they could pretty much count on having Nick hook them up with some up delicious cold brew or a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Today, the Blue Owl  is known for its superb caffeine delivery but also for its love of the arts. All three of their locations, REO Town, East Lansing and Old Town not only serve up live music, Mic Drop open mic nights and Outside In Vibe Therapy Sessions on the regular, they also host local artist’s artworks, community art projects, writer clubs and other cool creative community endeavors in their spaces.

Off the Corner and Up the Street

While the coffee cart will be missed from its corner spot on Turner and Cesar E. Chavez, Old Town residents couldn’t be happier about the brick-and-mortar shop opening in their stomping ground, and that includes the Arts Council who loves taking their meetings up the street where they can enjoy great coffee and support a local business to boot.

While Arts Night Out is what originally brought the Arts Council and Blue Owl together, they’re now partnering up for an exciting new project that will launch this March. In celebration of Arts Advocacy month, the Blue Owl will feature “Support the Arts” stickers on select to-go cup lids in all three locations. “The sticker project is a great representation of neighbors building into a neighborhood. Stepping beyond our individual storefront goals and building into our community in lasting ways,” said Nick Berry. “It [the project] helps start the larger conversation of creativity in our people.  Art is an open conversation that everyone is welcome to join.  It is a joy to be a small part of the story of a city growing it’s legacy through creativity,” Berry says.

Arts on the Brain

The project kicks off on March 1, and will run throughout the month. If it goes well, there could be more collaborations in the future. For now the Arts Council just hopes the campaign will remind people to support the arts, whether that means joining the Arts Council’s Circle of Giving campaign, signing up to be on their advocacy mailing list or buying local art, shopping at local businesses that support art and attending events at local arts organizations.

“We are so excited to partner with Nick and the Blue Owl,” says Meghan Martin, Arts Council executive director. “This is the perfect collaboration and a great way to remind the community to support the arts and to support local business. It is through partnering with our area entrepreneurs that we can truly make a difference. We can support each other, and see each other on the street knowing that we are working together in our communities,” Martin said.

Spread the Word

You can stop in at any of the three area Blue Owls to get your favorite beverage and a “Support the Arts” sticker as your way of showing your love of the arts! You can also help spread the word by taking a selfie or a photo of you and your friends with your arts sticker and sharing it on Instagram using the hashtag #isupportthearts. Supplies won’t last long, so make sure to head out and get yours as soon as possible.

“This collaboration is the perfect way for us to get an important message out to the community–to support the arts and support local businesses. We are super excited about it, and we can’t wait to see all of our art supporters,” says Martin.