East Lansing Art Festival back in action this weekend


A bustling art bazaar, musicians playing hard, kids chasing each other, and people just trying to take a break and relax in the shade. This is what the East Lansing Art Festival is hoping to return to this weekend, albeit a little on the small side, after being forced to go digital only last year during the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival has nearly 80 artist booths this year – about half as many featured in an average pre-pandemic year – which will be spaced along Albert Street and MAC Avenue. Although the festival has a smaller lineup, the diversity of art forms covered by this year’s list still has a lot to offer. Some of the bases covered include precious jewelry, glassware, drawing, woodworking, sculpture, and several different forms of digital art and photography.

“We have about half as many artists as before, so the booths can be further apart. There is more space for people to meet and move between the booths, ”said Heather Majano, coordinator of the East Lansing Arts Festival and the Arts Initiative.

Great food, another staple of the East Lansing Art Festival, is happily back. Normally located at the Bailey parking lot, food trucks and vendors will instead be on the part of Albert Street between Bailey Street and Division Street. Live entertainment from artists like All-of-us-Express and musicians like Ozay Moore will also run throughout the two days.

The young participants in the festival will also find something to occupy them. This year’s festival features several children’s activity tents run by the Michigan State University Broad Art Lab and the East Lansing Library, which will feature plenty of fun art activities for kids to participate in. Each tent will also have take-out options, where the kids can take the necessary materials with them, so they can take the art lesson at home.

“They can grab a pre-assembled project and do some crafts at home. As a mother myself, I am really excited about this option, ”said Majano.

While many traditions of the East Lansing Art Festival return in person, much of the digital streaming content that debuted in 2020 will also make a comeback. People who always take great precautions and avoid public crowds entirely can still enjoy much of the weekend festivities. Artist demonstrations, live performances, poetry readings and more will be posted on the festival’s official website, elartfest.com, and its Facebook page, facebook./elartfest.

“We’ve tried to bring back the vigils that people expect from the festival, but with COVID precautions in mind, we’ve changed a few things,” Majano said. “We will have streaming performances, one in the morning and one in the evening. We will also have artist demonstrations recorded live and shared on our Facebook page.

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Reggie S. Williams

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