MSU receives grant for Grand River/Michigan Ave. arts project

Posted on: December 14, 2011

EAST LANSING, Mich. - A city of Lansing "Sense of Place" grant of $28,500 awarded to Michigan State University and several community partners promises to transform the way that Lansing residents and visitors learn about the cultural heritage of the city.

"The Ave," a project that combines storytelling and technology to turn the Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue corridor into a citizen-built celebration of creativity and identity, will use placards with unique "quick response" codes and telephone numbers to tell stories about the city's streets.

Working with arts and culture, tourism and neighborhood organizations, MSU students and faculty will initially identify eight stories along the corridor and create large interactive placards that will encourage viewers to scan, click or call to learn more. The first placards are expected to be installed in the spring.

"This project envisions using technology to layer authentic, creative and surprising stories onto the way that residents and visitors move through the city," said Vincent Delgado, civic engagement specialist in MSU's Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and lead collaborator for the initiative.

Several MSU units will play key roles in the project. John Monberg, assistant professor of writing, rhetoric and American cultures in the College of Arts and Letters, and Laura Delind, visiting assistant professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, will direct the collection of the initial stories.

Geri Alumit Zeldes, associate professor of journalism in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, piloted an early version of the project involving area refugees and immigrants and is also working with students to collect stories.

Community partners include the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greater Lansing Cultural Economic Development Work Group on Placemaking, the city of Lansing, neighborhood organizations and Lansing artists.

Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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