An Old Town Legacy Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art thrives in historic Lansing district

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The historic Old Town in Lansing is a vibrant area of constant transformation, where neighborhoods change from ghost towns to driving some of the most creative projects in mid-Michigan. But it didn’t get that way overnight.

Founded in 1984, the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art (MICA) and its gallery is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the power that creative works can play in community development. Old Town’s staple institution was co-founded by Terry Terry, president of MICA’s board and CEO at MessageMakers, which offers creative communication services.  

“Our goal is to continue to create an open space where people can come together, make new friends and, in the context of the arts, begin conversations on how to make a greater community,” said Terry.

The organization also produces the annual Lansing JazzFest, as well as what is now known as the Michigan BluesFest. From the executive board itself to residents from all walks of life who find a home in what MICA represents, the community ultimately helps keep this train running on smooth tracks.

“It’s always a challenge getting volunteers: people come and go, get out of school, get a new job. But we’ve always had lots of great volunteers and sponsors to help our efforts to showcase Michigan artists,” Terry said.

For Terry, the visual arts have always served as a catalyst of change, in addition to its role in promoting fun and entertaining opportunities; this proves evident through MICA, its volunteers, sponsors and supporters, whether large or small.

“The arts are critical to quality of life. We’ve shown and demonstrated that,” Terry said. “Artists really can work magic, changing something run-down or older into something more. Those kinds of shifts, born from imagination, can really add to the prosperity of our community and region, as they always have.”

The Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art’s gallery is available for viewing by appointment; to schedule yours, please call their office at (517) 371-4600, or contact info@oldtownarts.org for additional opportunities to let the arts play a deeper role in your love for Lansing. 


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Kristopher Johnson

Kristopher Johnson

Kristopher Johnson is a Communications Specialist at M3 Group who earned his bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University in 2015. While currently residing in Lansing, Kristopher will always be a native of Detroit. He enjoys volunteering, listening to others and musing over contrasting insights. He is also fond of writing, keeping up with politics and watching too many story-driven anime.

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