19 | Red Outlines

Installation  |  William Charland  |  Okemos, MI

About This Installation

Four newel posts, the architectural element that, in older homes, greets the home owner as they enter the front door, will be installed along the River Walk near the I-496 overpass. On top of each post will sit a red wire outline of a house. Set into the face of each newel post will be plaques printed with QR codes, each post featuring a different set of codes. By scanning the codes with a smartphone, viewers can access the history of specific homes now missing from the surrounding neighborhoods, the stories of former residents, and the attitudes and events that dramatically changed their lives.


Housing discrimination among Lansing neighborhoods began in the 1800s, as insurance companies sought ways to determine risk in a Lansing quickly consolidating from an association of villages to an urban center and the capital of the state. Early insurance maps of the city showed which tracts would be insurable, thus valuable, and which would not. Such maps were published by insurance companies, real estate companies, and mortgage lenders throughout the nineteenth-and twentieth-centuries, their footprint and financial outcomes casting a shadow over the center of today’s map of Lansing.In the 1960s, particular family neighborhoods in the heart of Lansing were selected, fragmented, and discarded in order to built theI-496 freeway. The construction of the freeway displaced nearly 600 families and 60 businesses, the final step in the deliberate devaluation of the neighborhood.

Artist Bio

William Charland, associate professor emeritus at Western Michigan University, is an active visual artist, writer, and editor. Charland received BFA and MFA degrees from the University of Michigan, and a PhD from U.C. Berkeley. Charland has built community outreach programs in the art departments of Grand Valley State, MSU, and WMU.

Find On The Trail - Site 19

Under the I-496 Bridge

This expansive area of the Lansing River Trail is found under the I-496 Bridge. The wall that lines the river trail houses murals from previous ArtPath artists which still exist today.

This location is made possible in part by generous contributions from:
Jay Pelc

ArtPath is generously supported by our title sponsors The Rathbun Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance. With additional support by:

Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs
Michigan Economic Development Corporation & Patronicity