In the fourth year of ArtPath: Public Art on the Lansing River Trail, I have taken time to reflect on how this program has grown and changed. My perspective is informed in part by the essay below written by Kalabrya Gondrezick.
I am most proud of how the community has responded to this program. The Lansing River Trail can be a place to exercise, to commune with nature and of course to enjoy public art created by Michigan artists. The addition of a mural depicting George Floyd was added to the river trail last year. This powerful work has added a new reason to visit the trail for some; reflection. Kalabrya Gondrezick who is a student at MSU and local resident shares what the river trail, ArtPath and the George Floyd mural mean to her in the essay below.
– Katrina M. Daniels, Exhibitions & Gallery Sales Director and co-founder of ArtPath
“This past summer was the craziest time since I’ve been alive. No one was allowed in gyms anymore, everyone was wearing masks, and standing six feet apart to even have a regular conversation. I would sit in my apartment all day long originally when the virus hit. Eventually after packing on a few more pounds and getting tired of watching desperate housewives’ reruns, I decided to go outside to enjoy the weather. While venturing behind my apartment building, I ran across a trail I saw people biking, jogging, and traveling on. Immediately it intrigued me and gave me an idea how to get some exercise in during this pandemic. The next day, I began traveling down the river trail when I started to see the amazing artwork on the walls surrounding the pathways. What truly captivated me while jogging one day, was the George Floyd mural. What happened to him was downright inhumane. Police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement took precedence that summer with the protest marches blocking off Michigan Avenue to the capital building. At a time where we saw people rioting and looting across the entire country over the mistreatment of African Americans, I saw art bring people together. There was elderly, young, white, black, women, and men all gathered around the George Floyd mural on the trail. What happened to him motivated me to get up every day to go see his face and to place a flower, on the many that people were continuing to leave at the site. I was so moved how people shed tears and gathered around holding hands with the homeless in prayer during a time when people were supposed to remain six feet apart. It was the art that gave everyone an escape from reality to focus on love and healing. Most don’t understand the magnitude of an artist’s power to paint something that moving. I am so appreciative of the river trail. I lost 50 pounds that summer. Thank you for providing the beautiful images that escalated the aesthetic of nature to help me be a better version of myself. ”
– ArtPath patron Kalabrya Gondrezick