I moved from Long Island, New York to Michigan’s Capital Region to pursue a career in the arts. I guess sometimes you are drawn to a place, even if you’ve never lived there before. I assume the same thing happened with my great great great grandparents. They came to Mid-Michigan from England in the early 1830's when Michigan was still a territory, and considered part of the American Frontier. From the 1830's to the 1960's, all of my ancestors on my father’s side of the family lived, worked, created, and played, in Mid-Michigan.
The first time that my wife & I ever lived in Michigan was when we moved to Lansing in 2017. The same thing that brought my ancestors to Mid-Michigan in the 1830’s is what brought my wife and I here 185 years later… opportunity. For my ancestors, it was agricultural opportunity, for my wife and I, it’s artistic opportunity.
In larger, “arts cities” like New York & Chicago, where the cost of living has skyrocketed, it has become increasingly more difficult to live there to pursue a career as an emerging artist, or establish an arts organization. It’s just too expensive. Individuals graduating every year with degrees in the arts are going to have to find new places where they can pursue their artistic endeavors.
The Capital Region has a strong and dedicated arts community that still has room to grow. It is a place where emerging artists can live, work, still have time to create, and pursue their careers. Living in the Capital Region allows artists the opportunity to not only work here, but quickly travel to other cities in close proximity like Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Kalamazoo, & Chicago to present their artistic work there as well. Combine that with the Capital Region’s affordability, and you have the potential to see an influx of artists move to the area over the next decade, not just from around Michigan, but from around the country.
I followed my ancestors back to Mid-Michigan, and like them, I’ve come here to help create something new, and build something that lasts, a place that future generations can enjoy and thrive in. The Capital Region, and to a greater extent Michigan, has become the Artistic Frontier. It is a place where artists, and people who work in the arts, who are willing to invest their time, labor, and creativity, can not only improve their own lives, but improve the Capital Region, making it an even better place to live, work, create, and play.
The 5:01 is looking for guest bloggers to share their experiences on the benefits of living, working and playing in the greater Lansing area.