A curated collection of galleries and arts organizations who work with Cultivate, as well as local, regional, and national galleries and organizations that we love and support. The featured partner program at Cultivate serves to share the gallery's work and process with the community, inviting them to understand how and why galleries select and showcase the work they do, to market and promote artistic spaces, and to connect them to our network of curators, artists, and other gallery owners.
Lansing Arts and Education Center
Briefly describe your gallery/museum space and what you enjoy about it.
Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center is located in Downtown Lansing in a historic, Art Deco building that originally housed a department store. We have two floors of public space, our main floor houses our Retail Gallery and Exhibitions, and our second floor houses our Education Center and student exhibitions. I love the large windows and natural light that our space has and the details of the historic building that we reside in. Additionally, we are located in the heart of Downtown Lansing which has festivals and community events that take place in our own neighborhood.
What is your current exhibit and what is it about?
The exhibition that will be on view from May 4 - to June 30, 2022, is Decolonial Dream, a solo show by Nicolei Gupit. Speaking of her work, the artist states:
“As a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in Los Angeles, I make paintings, sculptures, videos, and mixed-media installations that draw on two distinct but intimately tied cultures: Filipinx and American cultures. For example, I use plant matter found in the Philippines such as palm fronds, banana leaves, bamboo, cogon grass, gampi, abaca, and rice as unconventional materials to create my art. I also incorporate lottery scratchers in my work to speak on the pursuit of the American dream and financial hardship in the US. By layering different elements from American and Filipinx cultures together, my body of work expresses the cultural hybridity that reflects my identity and my experience as a second-generation immigrant. As a whole, I take inspiration from my Filipinx family heritage and upbringing in Los Angeles to speak on the challenges that many members of immigrant and diasporic communities face.
I selected the name, Decolonial Dream, to serve as a counterpoint to the American dream. While the American dream purports to offer social mobility and access to wealth to all American people and often falls short of its promises, Decolonial Dream suggests an imagined future in which all people enjoy environmental justice, financial stability, and peace regardless of their race, gender, class, or citizenship status. As described by Nelson Maldonado-Torres, a theorist of race and ethnicity, in his text “On the Coloniality of Being,” decolonization refers to an orientation towards human generosity and openness. This relates to the fact that many of my works were informed by self-guided research on US colonization in the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century. As such, the works to be featured in the show will be selected based on the theme of ‘decolonizing’.” - Nicolei Gupit
Nonutopia (2021), by Nicolei Gupit
Nonnostalgia (2021), by Nicolei Gupit
What is the process of choosing an exhibit? How far out do you schedule them?
Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center is committed to showcasing quality art, which represents the diversity of contemporary work currently created by Michigan artists. The gallery distributes a state-wide call for each program, accepting applications of original artwork from artists at least eighteen years of age residing in Michigan.
As the Exhibitions & Gallery Sales Director, I convene and publish a diverse jury panel of arts professionals from across the state with expertise in varying disciplines with the following categories considered: race, ethnicity, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, national origin, veteran status, social-economic class, and religion. The jurors serve on a rotating basis, ensuring artistic quality and merit. Jurors evaluate submissions using guidelines to ensure a process that is ethical, fair, and reasonable. Adjudication is based on the following: excellence in craftsmanship, quality in design, technical competence, individual creative style, consistency, and professional presentation.
We generally schedule exhibitions two years out, however, we do have an annual Holiday exhibition and public art exhibition that we have annual calls to artists for.
What are the important “take-aways” you hope the community gets from your exhibit space?
I hope that the community comes to our Gallery and they see the talent, range, and diversity of contemporary Michigan art.
What are some programs/features your space offers that folks might not know about?
A feature of our Gallery that people may not know about is that we have opportunities for our exhibiting artists to participate in educational opportunities that offer the community additional ways to learn more about our artist's work. These opportunities may include speaking at an artist talk or teaching a workshop for example.
Individuals during exhibit showing at Lansing Arts &
Lansing Arts & Education Center exhibit space
What do you strive for as an exhibit space? What is important to relay to the audience?
We strive to showcase our artist's work in a beautiful and professional manner that highlights their work. We also strive to create an open and welcoming experience for our community to visit, enjoy and learn from. As a Gallery, we are helping to create a platform for the artists that we represent and amplify their voices so that we can help tell their stories.
What are some challenges you face as a gallery/museum? Share something you’ve learned along the way.
Although the Gallery has been a part of the Michigan cultural landscape for over 50 years I would say that visibility has been a challenge. We have a small staff team and as a non-profit, we don’t have a large marketing budget so increasing our visibility both locally and state-wide remains an opportunity for growth. I have learned that excellent customer service and engagement with the community have allowed us to grow our audience organically.
What are three Michigan based curators/spaces that you love and would recommend others check out?
This is a tough question as there are so many incredible Michigan art spaces and curators! The Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University is a must-see for those who love contemporary art and architecture. The building itself was designed by the famed Zaha Hadid and it is one of only a few buildings that she designed in the United States.
The Mott-Warsh Collection is a private collection of fine art created by artists of the African diaspora and others who reflect on it located in Downtown Flint. The Gallery is beautiful and the collection includes the likes of Nick Cave and Kehinde Wiley as well as many others.
Play House in Detroit may be a spot that some people haven’t visited yet. This is a studio, rehearsal space, and small-scale performance venue bringing high-quality, experimental, and family-friendly programming to Banglatown, Detroit residents. This organization is in a now beautiful but formerly derelict residential neighborhood. I discovered it a few years ago and it felt like a well-kept secret that I was delighted to learn about.