ARTpath: Public Art in Our Community

ARTpath 2018: Art for ALL

Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center believes in bringing our community together and interacting with art as an integral part of our lives. Public art within a community can be a driver for inspiration, engagement, and conversation.

Public Art: Interactive, engaging, relevant

In the case of our 2018 public art project ARTpath, the artwork ranges from large-scale murals to interactive sound sculptures. It touched on a variety of relevant themes including homeless veterans and the fragility of Michigan’s natural environment and our water crisis. Our public art project reflects the contributions of many, the voices of our community, and the perspectives of artists from across Michigan. Over 100 participants and more than 70 donors helped us achieve our goals to present widely accessible site-specific works of public art by Michigan artists and to compensate those artists for their time, talent, and materials.

ARTpath Details

ARTpath activates spaces along 3.5 miles of the Lansing River Trail. During the months of June, July, and August of 2018, Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center has partnered with the City of Lansing’s Parks and Recreation department to revitalize 10 sites along the Lansing River Trail with temporary, site-specific public art. ARTpath was created to build a more engaging environment while positively highlight the River Trail’s miles of beautiful, scenic trail that weaves through the city.

ARTpath is for everyone.

The arts should be accessible to ALL people. ARTpath took months of planning, execution and evaluation from our team at Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center. We have taken steps to prevent damage to artwork through intentional artwork placement, security, lighting, and visible signage. Despite these measures, at times, public art is damaged, destroyed, or intentionally altered. It is important to know that any alteration of public artwork, which is not done by the artist, is harmful.

Artists Embody Inspiration, Positivity, and Resilience

In this case, artworks by Gigi Morton and Kate Cosgrove have been removed from their placement along the River Trail. These unfortunate incidents can be difficult to understand. We are working directly with the artists to replace the works, which were removed. We are working to ward off further attempts to alter or destroy the artwork. Gigi and Kate have been an inspiration with their positivity and resilience. Gigi stated, “It was the risk I was willing to take as an artist in my participation of this wonderful exhibition…This theft is a blessing because the new installation drives a more poignant point to the viewer because veterans stand up, protect and serve this country, including the homeless.”

Our Community Embraces Public Art

The community response to ARTpath has been overwhelmingly positive, uplifting, and filled with gratitude. We have received hundreds of messages and comments about this exciting project and its value for engaging River Trail users. Part of the value of this project is our community-based approach, including the perspectives of artists, jurors, volunteers, interns, staff, donors, and municipal leaders in the process. We are proud that ARTpath has already offered hundreds of trail-goers the opportunity to see diverse perspectives of Michigan artists and offered a new way to enjoy art on the River Trail.

The Arts Matter

We continue to champion our Michigan artists, researching how to support them and prevent damage to the art. We have a mission to promote public awareness, education, and enjoyment, and of the visual arts by promoting the works of Michigan artists. As an important note about the value of the arts, it is critical that our community is given the opportunity to learn the critical thinking and creativity inspired by arts-based learning. Arts training builds empathy, supports overall learning, and fosters civic engagement. We will continue to work diligently every day to make our mission a reality, and we appreciate the community outpouring of support for ARTpath as an important part of our work.

Overwhelming Support

This art was made for our community, and our community has welcomed the art by taking selfies, lunching nearby, and simply using the trail more frequently. We have already, in its first week, heard stories of the largest Lansing Bike Party ever, and young children proudly introducing their families to art installations.


ARTpath has sparked conversations and created a bigger impact than anyone imagined. Let’s cherish this. You can help support the project and positively promote ARTpath by using the hashtag #lansingartpath, sharing your ARTpath experience with others, and visiting Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center. We are actively seeking comments from those who #lovelansing and who use the Lansing River Trail. If you have questions, comments, or thoughts (good or bad), feel free to contact me directly at


Barb Whitney
Executive Director
Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center

Wednesday, June 13, 2018