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Form meets function in Grand Ledge with new LEAP funded public art

Wednesday, September 27, 2017  
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Bike Racks To Connect Grand Ledge Downtown and Riverside Areas With Functional Aesthetics

Local residents and visitors alike have another reason to get out and about along the Grand Ledge trail system. City residents, local officials, and community partners from across the Greater Lansing region gathered on Bridge Street in downtown Grand Ledge today, as the city unveiled three new sculptures funded by a Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and PNC Foundation Public Art for Communities Grant.

Serving a dual purpose, to increase both form and function along the river trail, the sculptures, which are also bike racks, have been placed along the existing Grand Ledge trail system connecting the downtown Grand Ledge and Riverside Park areas. The bike racks are unique pieces that present a direct relationship to the city through historic and natural references. In applying for the Public Art for Communities grant, Grand Ledge officials noted the community identified a need for aesthetic and functional improvements along the existing trail system and waterfront parks, and wanted to emphasize the use of parks and the downtown area for local business and commerce. For the city, this represents an opportunity for community members and visitors to support local businesses and restaurants, while enjoying the natural beauty of Grand Ledge.

“We are fortunate to have been awarded this opportunity by LEAP to not only install public art pieces, but to install functional art pieces that will benefit our residents and visitors,” said Adam Smith, Grand Ledge City Administrator. “Adding bike racks to our parks encourages people to visit, explore, and enjoy more of what the City has to offer. The vibrancy of these art pieces pays homage to our history and the natural landscape that makes Grand Ledge a special place to visit and call home.”

Flatlander’s Sculpture Supply & Art Galleries out of Blissfield, Michigan was commissioned to produce the new art pieces. Over the last few months the city has worked closely with owner Ken Thompson to produce design concepts and move through production ahead of schedule. Thompson sees the addition of artistic bike racks as a way to integrate art into areas of the city where people are actively engaged.

"Artist designed bike racks provide yet another avenue to integrate art into our daily lives while enhancing the community,” said Thompson. “Public art projects like murals, sculptures, and yes, even bike racks, aid in placemaking and help to develop a 'cool city.' These bike racks combine form with function and add a bit humor with a dash of history." 

Now in its fifth year, LEAP’s Public Art for Communities Grant Program, with strong support from the PNC Foundation, has awarded 20 $10,000 grants to place permanent art in strategic, visible, public locations across the region. The City of Grand Ledge was awarded grant funds earlier this year as one of three 2017 Public Art for Communities grant recipients, along with the cities of East Lansing and Mason (in partnership with Dart Bank). In addition, Grand Ledge received a Public Art for Communities grant in 2015 from LEAP, which produced “The Ledges” located on Bridge Street and designed by local artist Ivan Iler.

“Investment in public art is proven to increase economic opportunity and activity, and contribute to a strong sense of place—important factors that draw and keep good talent in the region,” said Bob Trezise, President and CEO of LEAP. “For five years LEAP’s Public Art for Communities grant program has sought to reach every community in the tri-county region. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to reach that goal, that we’ve even awarded some communities multiple times, and that there are more public art pieces on the horizon.”


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