Bringing Art to the Community in Tough Times

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

In the heart of East Lansing, hundreds of people showed up to appreciate art. An event organizers say gets harder and harder to fund.

"Every year it's a struggle. This is not a taxpayer funded event. It is companies and individuals giving generously," said festival coordinator Corinn VanWyck.

Because the community supports the event, the 48th Annual Art Festival is free to the public and a preserved tradition.

"If we had to rely on the municipality to fund it, well, there are other services they have to pay for," said VanWyck.

This year, 207 artists are showcasing their work. In tough times, a few make a living at it.

"We make enough to pay the mortgage and small bills. If we didn't have this when my husband lost his job, we'd probably be homeless or on the streets," said Linda Anderson, a nautical artist.

About a half dozen emerging artists have been given a free tent to kick off their art careers.

"I'm sickeningly excited that anyone wants to see my stuff outside of my parent's house," said emerging artist Amanda Orr.

For most people, the festival was a family affair.

One of the most popular areas of the festival is the children's corner, offering puppet and magic shows, and more.

"There is a stage, bubbles, a sand box. I think it's a really great idea to have everything integrated, so they are entertained no matter how old," said Trixi Beeker, who attended the festival.

Organizers say community support for the arts is clear from the turnout. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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