Sunday, January 10, 2021

Mural Monday: Bright Color in Old Town

There is a bit of irony in the fact that Lansing, Michigan's Old Town might be the trendiest area in the city, and certainly the least frumpy! It's an area of the arts and they do it well.

So it's not surprising to see this splendid mural on the side of one if its older buildings. I'm happy to share it today with Mural Monday on Sami's Colourful World.

 

Titled "Maagwed Miijim: The One Who Provides," it is by artist Nani Chacon with Dylan Miner and Marsos DeJesus and was sponsored by MSU Women of Color Initiative in 2018.


Old Town is one of three "villages" in Lansing's early development. John W. Burchard was the settlement's earliest resident, building the first log cabin in Lansing in 1843. 


The area was home to the city's first sawmill and a its location by the Grand River and its first bridge, financed by leading pioneer James Seymour, connected the area to places wast. Lansing's first school was built in Old Town as well. 

For many years the area was a bit of a hub in the city, but it began a decline in the 20th century. When I was a child in the mid 1950s, my grandparents lived in the country north of Old Town, and the area was most convenient for my grandmother's shopping. 


By then some of the spots I recall were Glass Pharmacy (where Mom and I would have a cherry phosphate at the counter while Grandma did her grocery marketing), Freddie's Donuts, Beeman's Market, a bank, the dime store (was it a Woolworths? I don't recall!), the Mustang and Unicorn bars and the Northtown movie theatre (where, according to my grandmother's journals, she and granpa enjoyed many movies). 


Only the Unicorn remains. After a good deal of decline, the area fell into decay. Slowly, but very steadily, enthusiastic artists and small businesses, led in large part by the remarkable Robert Busby, and with the help of many grants, brought the area back to the status of being Lansing's crown jewel. 

 

It is the place to be, with its galleries, shops, street art and annual festivals.


One of the things I missed most at Christmas was not being able to shop in Old Town's delightful stores. Yes, they were open. No, I didn't shop this year. Going to Old Town is one of the things I'm looking forward to visiting again after my vaccine.


We'll be visiting again here soon!

53 comments:

Laurie said...

Beautiful! I hope I will be too!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Jeanie

Wow, what an awesome mural. It is beautifully done! The Old Town sounds great, I am glad to see it has been rejuvenated! The galleries, new stores and festivals all are great for the city! Take care, have a great new week!

Mereknits said...

Jeanie, I just saw your comment on my blog and would like to reply. Little B is on the Autistic spectrum and at times that can be a real blessing because I don't think he sees a lot of what is going on around him. Unfortunately I had the news on when the new footage of that officer came on, the one with the windows breaking and him getting crushed. I ran for the remote but he did see a bit of it and asked about it. I just told him there are very bad people out there that do very bad things and that Dad and I will protect him. What else can be said? He is aware of my dislike for trump, who does not even deserve his name to be capitalized, but I try to keep him in his very safe world where he likes to ride elevators, push buttons and talk about Minecraft. Autism is a gift sometimes, not all the time but sometimes it is perfect.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a cool place to spend time, especially with your camera! Hugs!

Sketchbook Wandering said...

A colorful, fantastic mural, a interesting history. I love it when old sections of cities get revived with rich art activities. I missed shopping in Portland's Old Port. I used to love walking there, sketching in café's...Let us hope that that will be possible again. Thanks for sharing such a brilliant mural!

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Interesting mural and post. We need a little 'bright' right now.

Linda Sue said...

Even the little seeds of the Strawberries have shadows, That is a splendid mural.Now that you own your house are you inspired to make a mural on one side? Next project?

Jackie McGuinness said...

This is spectacular!

I, too, miss shopping around our eclectic neighbourhoods. I am a little more annoyed by this lockdown than in the spring. However, it is needed.
I just need to get my a$$ in gear and do some of the things on my to do list. Thank goodness the $ stores are open along with retail stores!

Lowcarb team member said...

Such a lovely looking, and colourful mural.
Have a good week ahead :)

All the best Jan

Pam said...

LOVE....I love seeing paintings on buildings. It brightens and gives life to that building and its ART! Best way to view a building.

Linda said...

She’s gorgeous.

Martha said...

What a gorgeous mural! I'm so glad the area was restored. I love the old memories you have and even better to have your grandmother's journal about the same area.

Teresa said...

Wow, this is beautiful!

anno said...

Thanks for sharing this bit of Lansing! I've heard wonderful things about Old Town, but have never had the chance to visit. Something else to look forward to when the travel restrictions are eased...

Mae Travels said...

Beautiful mural! I’m putting this part of Lansing on my list for when we are free at last!

be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

My name is Erika. said...

That is a great mural. I like it. And what an interesting story about the area. Some of the small cities around me are in the middle or beginning of making comebacks. Having been in this area for so many years. it is fascinating to see what is happening and where they end up. And some small cities in my area have become quite art centers which are always fun. Nice post Jeanie. I hope you're able to shop and walk around sooner rather than later. Hugs-Erika

Iris Flavia said...

Beautiful and such sweet memories, too. Great mural, in for me more than one way. I hope my strawberries "I" brought home from the woods in 1974 with my Mom and later brought some here that are now on my balcony survive the winter again.
Great the area has survived and fingers and toes crossed you can go there again soon!

Pamela said...

Thank you for the mural and the area’s history.

DUTA said...

I love murals and old parts of towns. The mural in your post is a delight to look at.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

What fun! Great for exploring.

Deb in Wales

Sami said...

A wonderful and bright mural, what a great find Jeanie.
So glad the area is getting a revival with beautiful art and small businesses.
Thanks for participating in Monday Murals.

Joanne Huffman said...

Post-Pandemic, I really have to visit Lansing.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

What a wonderful mural. Old town sounds great!

crackercrumblife said...

Wow this is gorgeous!!!

Fingers crossed you get your vaccine soon!

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, this is wonderful. It reminds me of our town, full of magnificent architecture, but is in a sad state of repair. There is a move about to try to revitalize the downtown area, our leaders should visit your area.

The mural is beautiful - I could just stand and enjoy it.

gigi-hawaii said...

Beautiful mural. I like your description of Old Town. The artists do bring an area to life.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I thoroughly enjoyed both this incredible mural and your back story. It's always fun when you can actually relate to a given area or mural.

Pam Richardson said...

Old Town sounds like a great place to enjoy! The mural is wonderful and I enjoy seeing them...thanks for sharing Jeanie!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I love the mural - its so colorful!

Hena Tayeb said...

What a beautiful mural.

Rita C at Panoply said...

Nice mural! Our small town's areas of decline have made similar efforts to revive with public works of art. Sometimes I wonder in some of ours if it isn't just putting lipstick on the pig.......

Marilyn Miller said...

What a gorgeous mural. I love it so much.
This neighborhood reminds me of the neighborhood near me. By the time we moved to Portland it was too scary to drive through, but now it is the place to be with murals, art galleries, and trendy little restaurants. I love neighborhoods like these.

Polly said...

What a gorgeous mural. I think I would enjoy visiting Old Town, hope you get there soon Jeanie x

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

What a vibrant and wonderful mural! That is so great that some of those areas are coming back to life. I enjoy shopping in areas like this. Maybe on of these days I’ll visit the Lansing area, I’ve never been before!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It's a great mural and seems emblematic of the drive to rehabilitate the area. This kind of urban renewal seems to be happening in many cities and it is all to the good. If it is done well, great care is taken not to destroy neighbourhhoods in the process. Jane Jacobs(one of your country's finest exports to Canada) had a wonderful understanding of how it should work. Whenever you can go there in person, be sure to give them your business, Jeanie, and show support for the merchants who are paying taxes and striving to make it work. Only nine more days until the Orange Slim Mould slides out of the White House, and maybe then renewal can begin on a much larger scale.

Prims By The Water said...

WOW what a wonderful mural. The detail is just amazing! Janice

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

How wonderful to see such a large imposing mural! So colorful! I do hope the Lansing area will thrive with renewal. So many old neighborhoods of long ago rise like a phoenix and begin anew.

BeachGypsy said...

Love this big bright pretty mural!! I cannot even imagine the talent it takes to accomplish something like this??! I've enjoyed your most recent posts. Are the squirrels BLACK THERE? Wow, I don't think we have any of those here. I have seen, very rarely, a white one! enjoyed the post of the look back on your year. Lots of good pictures there. I like the ones from the ditch, birds/water etc. Is it mandated where you live to wear the masks while out in settings like that out in the fresh air? I guess it's different in all cities. We are asked to put them on in buildings here, and stores, public places indoors AND out on crowded sidewalks. I like your books post too....and I posted today one on children's books. Happy Monday, hope yours is going well. It's GLOOMY HERE TODAY.

Karen said...

Beautiful art. The town near me is known as the City of Murals. My late husband is on one of them for his contribution to youth sport.

shoreacres said...

I looked up the title and found the language is Ojibway -- or seems to be. At least, I found an audio pronunciation guide for "Miijim," which was fun. It's a beautiful mural, and interesting that the artist is Hispanic -- that's real cross-culturalism!

Jenny Woolf said...

It is always so encouraging when nice but run down places are rescued. Do any of the little stores sell online? So many do these days and although it's not as much fun as browsing I have still managed to buy some fun things.

William Kendall said...

Quite a beautiful mural.

thepaintedapron.com said...

What a wonderful mural! I know you're proud of the artists that joined forces and transformed this area, it must be a treat for you to poke around the shops and see all the creative energy Jeanie, I hope you get to do that again soon!
Jenna

Divers and Sundry said...

The figure is _huge_, and I love how the artist filled the space. The color is eye-catching, too. It's wonderful to hear of places that are being restored/reinvented. Sometimes they are the creative heart of a city.

Sandra Cox said...

Love the mural!

Ju-Lyn said...

Stunning mural! Thanks for giving us a sense of the size with your captures .... it really has a presence! and those colours are so vibrant.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

That mural is gorgeous! That is awesome that the area has become revitalized! I love hearing stories of areas like this! I hope you can shop there during the next holiday season!!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

What a magnificent mural. Look at the colors, the intensity of her gaze.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, this is an interesting post! But the artist who painted the beautiful mural has obviously never seen a real strawberry plant or anyone picking strawberries! Strawberry plants are low-growing plants and they are not easily plucked by a person standing straight.

Bohemian said...

Oh I so do Love an Artsy Revitalization District, Downtown Phoenix has done a lot of these Murals and has some Positive Gentrification going on.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeanie, great post.

My town of Yarram has an arty focus too. There are many large murals by an artist called Heesco. He's a genius. There is a gallery and other exhibition spaces during the year. Also artists studios, and this weekend a chalk art festival on the pavements.

Love you, Cath in Australia.

Evi Erlinda said...

This mural is so beautiful!I l love the colors!

Lynne said...

Beautiful Mural . . .
Love seeing old made newer again . . .

I am waiting for my vaccine . . . registered on six, “one” must take me on soon!

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