Facing Adversity Together

Navigating Highs and Lows
Since the pandemic struck, time seems irregular. One day becomes weeks, or a heartbeat feels like a day. We are experiencing exceptional highs and lows in the span of one day, grieving and celebrating, in turn. I’m grateful that together, with our stakeholders for Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center, our team has navigated many highs and lows.

Facing Adversity Together

Recent events during the pandemic are a reminder that our community is, for many reasons, grieving. On Sunday, May 31, a protest that began peacefully became violent, and several downtown Lansing storefronts were damaged. While our facility appears undamaged at this time, we are concerned. As an organization with strategic plans to increase access to the arts through diversity, inclusion, and equity, we must acknowledge ongoing and recent violent events targeting Black Americans. Today, our organization is condemning these acts and grieving the many lives that have been lost senselessly. We are speaking out against the systemic racism that underlies inequity and these violent acts in our country. Please know that we will be working with authorities such as Downtown Lansing, Inc. to positively move forward and work toward healing together with our community.

Celebrating the lives of Bernie Campanella and Jack Davis
In May, we lost two champions for Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center: Bernie Campanella and Jack Davis. Both led with candor and shared their passion for the arts widely. As ardent and generous supporters, they encouraged our community to share their stories about why the arts matter. Let’s rise to the challenge and share our memories here: Jack Davis, Bernie Campanella. Our team worked closely with Jack & Bernie and though we grieve their passing, it is important that we also celebrate their lives. We will be reaching out to their loved ones about how we might best honor their memory.

The Arts Sector
Arts and culture’s economic might is irrefutable (arts and culture make up 4.5% of the GDP). However, the census’ small business survey shows exceptional losses and less relief measures when compared to other sectors. Locally, arts and culture were threatened by proposed funding elimination in May. Our community rose to the challenge and collectively won them over with positivity and gratitude for their funding since 1984. City Council opted for the Mayor’s revised proposal to continue to fund arts/culture agencies with a focus on supporting operations. Despite challenges, we’re announcing NEW support from the CARES Act’s Payroll Protection Plan, Downtown Lansing, Inc., and Lansing 5:01, which will help us remain viable for our ever-anticipated reopening to the public.

Outdoor Art as Inspiration
Despite Governor Whitmer’s recent extension of Michigan’s Safer at Home executive order through June 12, we’re excited to announce that ARTpath 2020 will serve as a summer activity for outdoor exercise and inspiration. We’re thrilled to partner with the City of Lansing for the third year in this public art installation along 3.5 miles of the Lansing River Trail. Special thanks to our title sponsors: The Rathbun Agency/Auto-Owners!

Thanks to Our Best and Brightest
I’m especially grateful to dedicated funders, whose support and counsel have helped us nimbly adjust our programming during mandated closure. I’d like to thank our individual contributors, as well as Mariel Foundation, R.E. Olds Foundation, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, and the Capitol Region Community Foundation for continued support and deep investment in helping our Michigan artists shine during the pandemic. You inspire our team toward excellence!

Our Charge
Despite a changed future, we are unaltered in our mission to provide public awareness, education, and enjoyment of the visual arts by promoting Michigan artists. We are redoubling efforts to move forward with positivity and growth despite challenges. To those who have already given your time, talent, and resources during the pandemic, thank you for your support and your generosity. If you haven’t yet reached out to offer your support expertise or services, I urge you to do so now by emailing me at barb@lansingartgallery.org or calling (517)-883-1435.


Barb Whitney
Executive Director
Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center

1 Comment

  1. Susan J Eggleston on July 5, 2020 at 9:29 am


    I have attached the obituary for my 20 year companion Bernie Campanella. Bernie loved his work for the betterment of the Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center and promoting local Artists.
    Please feel free to contact me in regards to celebrating his life and honoring his memory. I can be reached on my cell 717-433-2776.

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