Hot off the Easel: Vibrant Community Series Old Town Lansing, Michigan

My brand new technique to show off lively historic communities.

These are the first three paintings in this series where I am exploring new techniques and mediums. Old Town Lansing, Michigan, and its artsy historic vibe, inspired me to explore its interesting urban vistas and along the way I discovered some enticing nooks and crannies.

Introduction to Old Town Lansing:

Lansing, the capital city of Michigan, was incorporated in 1859 and the city was formerly a major center of the automobile industry. The historic homes and neighborhoods around the city tell the story of its rich past.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Old Town Lansing is located in the northern end of Lansing.  It overlooks the Grand River and a winding walking and biking trail.  The district was established in the mid-19th century. Old Town is Lansing’s original downtown and boutique district. The neighborhood’s wonderful Victorian buildings are filled with art galleries, yummy eateries, unique boutiques and specialty shops. With it’s small town feel, it”s my favorite area of Lansing. It was voted one of the top places to bring visitors and the winner of IKEA’s Main Street Makeover.  As an impressive arts district, Old Town hosts festivals and gallery walks.

With this new series, I combine four different mediums in order to bring out the rich color, vibrance and texture of Old Town Lansing, the earliest settlement of the city of Lansing.

Turner Park Old Town Lansing, Michigan – new mixed media style painting
Back Alley Old Town Lansing, Michigan – new mixed media style painting
River walk Old Town Lansing, Michigan – new mixed media style series

A Little History About Old Town Lansing:

The first settler in North Lansing, now known at Old Town Lansing, was John W. Burchard, an attorney from Mason, Michigan.  In 1843 he built the first log cabin in the area.

Old Town Lansing grew when the city became the capital of Michigan in 1847, and by the 1870s, Old Town was thriving. Franklin Street, now Grand River Avenue, was the main street of the commercial district. It included banks, mills, churches, grocery stores, a passenger and freight railroad station as well as manufacturing. By the mid 1900s, like so many historic districts across the USA, Old Town Lansing had lost its luster. The area was considered blighted and had fallen into disrepair.  Consequently it lost its status as the leading commercial and industrial center of the city.

In more recent years, however, revitalization efforts such as Michigan Main Street (established in 1996) have brought the area back to life, causing  vacancy rates in the area to drop from 90% to an impressive 10%.

Like so many others, I am thrilled that this wonderful community is now historically protected and is once more a popular hub in Lansing!

I hope you enjoyed the first three paintings in this series. I plan to create more art pieces of this nature and capture other vibrant historic communities around the country.

I’ll keep you posted!

Leisa

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