Amid the evolving economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership is supporting communities across the region by accessing and distributing relief funds as they become available. LEAP, with support from the PNC Foundation, recently announced a continued investment in public art and support for artists by awarding $30,000 for public art through LEAP’s Public Art for Communities grant program.
During this challenging time for our communities and particularly small businesses, LEAP recognizes many artists are small-business owners struggling to remain viable. Though the art grants are awarded to community entities, they fundamentally provide support for artist-entrepreneurs.
“It’s inspiring, even in this time of uncertainty and chaos, to see communities and businesses across the region continue to step up and partner with LEAP, to partner with each other, to elevate the sophisticated cultural appeal of our region, so we can remain competitive as we heal economically from this crisis and as LEAP works to attract business and talent from around the world,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP.
Trezise noted the important role placemaking programs, such as LEAP’s art grants, play in advancing a shared vision to enhance the region’s aesthetic appeal for a broad spectrum of businesses and talent, as well as the need to continue investing in public art during the current economic disruption.
“We have seen record numbers of investment from outside of the region over the past years, predominantly foreign investment, with even more anticipated in 2020 and beyond,” Trezise said. “This investment in our region demonstrates that we are indisputably and passionately committed to progress.”
LEAP’s 2020 art grants will expand the Lansing region’s growing collection of public art by welcoming three new pieces. The 2020 grant awardees include the city of Williamston, the city of Lansing and Delhi Township, which will each receive $10,000 to advance permanent public art projects.
“PNC’s ongoing support of LEAP’s public art grant program reflects our Main Street values and commitment to the communities where we conduct business,” said Timothy Salisbury, PNC regional president for Mid-Michigan. “This program is an example of what can be accomplished through strong public-private partnerships. It’s particularly important to support local businesspeople as our communities face the many challenges presented by the pandemic.”
Since 2012, the grant program has invested $260,000 in growing a collection of strategically placed, permanent, public art throughout Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties. The program has funded more than 30 individual pieces furnished by artists showcasing a diversity of mediums — from murals, to alley walks, to creative bike racks, sculpture and more — which have been intentionally located to enhance community image and elevate critical areas in need of further economic development.
In 2015, LEAP began working with the PNC Foundation, a strong advocate of the grant program and regional placemaking. The PNC Foundation’s annual $10,000 contribution has helped expand the program and number of pieces funded each year.
Each awarded community has prioritized a location based on their own placemaking strategies, taking both pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns into consideration, as well as the business case for attracting talent to their communities.