EAST LANSING, Mich. — The 53rd Annual East Lansing Art Festival (ELAF) will bring 186 artists and tens of thousands of visitors to downtown East Lansing on the weekend of May 21-22. The festival will take place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, May 22.
Juried fine art and craft exhibitors from across North America will make their way to East Lansing to showcase and sell various types of artwork during the festival. Visitors will find everything from ceramics to paintings, mixed-media, drawings, fiber art, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, sculpture, wood, photography and more. Of the 186 artists in attendance, there will be 19 invitational artists (who have received awards at one or more of the past three festivals), 92 additional returning artists, 67 new artists and eight emerging artists. View a list of all of the exhibiting artists at www.elartfest.com/artists. Emerging artists are up-and-coming talents, who have never exhibited at a juried festival.
In addition to the art, there will be two live outdoor music stages located in Ann Street Plaza and the park at the northeast corner of Abbot Road and Albert Avenue. Both stages will feature a lineup of talented musicians. Huckleberry Groove will kick things off at the ELAF Kick-Off Concert on Friday, May 20 from 7-9 p.m. in Ann Street Plaza. During the festival, the headliners will include The Moxie Strings on Saturday, May 21 from 3-4 p.m. and Donny Brown and the Van Dell-Tones on Sunday, May 22 from 1-2 p.m.
The Moxie Strings offer listeners the unique opportunity to experience some of the world’s best-known instruments through a young, progressive lens. This group composes the majority of their pieces and arranges melodies from many traditions, resulting in a genre-blurring blend of ear-catching melodies and foot-stomping, rock-influenced rhythms.
Donny Brown is a founding member and drummer of The Verve Pipe. Fresh from his second solo CD, festival goers will find him performing at the ELAF right up front, with guitar in hand, accompanied by his band, the Van Dell-Tones. They will perform lovingly-crafted original rock and roll, with plush and polished vocals and fascinating rhythms.
Other 2016 ELAF performers will include PD9 Township Jazz Project, The Bottle Rocket Cabaret, ELHS Jazz Band, Atomic Boogaloo, Off the Ledge, Tia Imani Hanna Project, Zydecrunch, Rachel Curtis, The Catbird Seat, The Kanivers, Siusan and Zig, John Latini, The 89th Key, The Springtails, DJ Clarinet Combo, The Fabulous Heftones and Ryan Shadbolt and the Weathermen.
Visit www.elartfest.com/performers to view the ELAF live music schedule.
Children’s Activities & Food
The children’s activities area will feature fun activities for all ages, from toddlers to teens. Activities will be offered by Impression 5 Science Center, Reach Studio Art Center, WKAR, Potter Park Zoo, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and more. The Matt Epling Creative Arts Competition will return to the children’s activities area, featuring artwork by local middle school students. The food court will feature a variety of unique onsite food vendors, including the East Lansing Meridian Lions Club, Foods for Living, Grand Grillin’, Melting Moments, Nuts Galore, Red Wood Grill, Good Bites and Swagath Indian Cuisine.
Artist Demonstration Area
Festival goers are invited to visit the Artist Demonstration Area, located in the parking lot on the north side of East Lansing City Hall, 410 Abbot Road. Visitors can watch artists at work and ask questions. Featured artists will include members of the Greater Lansing Potters’ Guild, the Mid-Michigan Art Guild, Grove Gallery & Studios artists, members of the East Lansing ceramics program, members of the Woven Art knitting circle, Manny Lopez, Lino Pretto, Kimberly Lavon, Teresa Petersen, Steve Baibak, Bradon Badeau, Marissa Thaler, Ana Holguin and Laura Gakewski.
Visit www.elartfest.com/performers to learn more about the Artist Demonstration Area and featured artists.
Theater PerformancesELAF will welcome theater to the festival for the first time! Both theater performances will take place in the Artist Demonstration Area. MSU Summer Circle Theatre will present a teaser of its upcoming world premiere production of the musical Mount Olympus Junior High on Saturday, May 21 at 1 p.m. Riverwalk Theatre will present a teaser of its upcoming production of the musical Rent on Saturday, May 21 at 3 p.m.
For the second year, the festival will feature unique poetry events on Sunday, May 22. Beginning at 1:15 p.m., the Michigan State University Center for Poetry will be facilitating poetry chalking in front of East Lansing City Hall and in the Artist Demonstration Area. A poetry reading will also take place at 2 p.m. in the Artist Demonstration Area. Featured poets will include Joyce Benvenuto, Rose Cooper, Brian Gilmore, Sareem Poems, Anita Skeen, Ruelaine Stokes, Angela Vasquez-Giroux and the noted and decorated poet Diane Wakoski - former Poet-in-Residence at Michigan State University. A haiku-writing workshop conducted by Michele Root-Bernstein will take place immediately following the conclusion of the poetry reading in the same location. All of these events are free and open to the public.
TransportationBike valet parking will be provided free of charge by the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council.
The CATA Art Festival Bus Route will also be available, with buses running approximately every 10-15 minutes all weekend long between MSU’s Parking Lot #91 and the MSU Union. On Saturday, May 21 buses will run from 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, May 22 buses will run from 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Parking is free at Lot #91, located at Service Road and Hagadorn Road. Ride for just 50 cents round trip (exact change only) or use your CATA fixed-route pass. Visit www.elartfest.com/festival_info for more information.
A Call for Festival Friends and Volunteers
The ELAF is free to the public and is a non-profit event that relies on the support of local sponsors and community donations. Community members can become a Festival Friend by making a donation online at www.elartfest.com. Volunteers for the ELAF are also vital to the success of the festival each year. Community members interested in volunteering at the 53rd Annual ELAF can sign up at www.elartfest.com/volunteers.
The 53rd Annual East Lansing Art Festival is supported by grants from the East Lansing Arts Commission, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Arts and Humanities Touring Program and the Ingham County Hotel/Motel Tax Funds for Arts and Tourism. Double Platinum Palette Sponsors include McLaren Greater Lansing, Jackson National Life and the East Lansing Marriott at University Place.