Below the Stacks: Above Par

Yesterday I took my seven-year-old on a field trip to downtown Lansing. I don’t have reason to go downtown very often, but every time I do I think I should go more often. Currently, Below the Stacks is going on and I had to check it out. It makes me SO HAPPY when Lansing adds more art to its streets. Below the Stacks is a festival that takes place in cities like Chicago, Detroit, and now, Lansing! Painters from all over the world get a blank wall to do their thing, plus there are workshops, artist talks, and the kick-off event had breakdancing and graffiti classes. I am so sad I missed it because I feel like age 39 is the absolute latest I should be starting my breakdancing career.

We had a map of the mural locations, but if you know me, that was utterly useless. We mostly wandered around until we wound up on a street that was on the map and then I’d yell a building address to look for. It sounded like this: “Are we on Larch? We are! Yay! Look for 619!” I am a really great navigator and seven-year-olds love walking miles and miles with only a “Maybe it’s this way” to sustain them. Luckily, we had snacks. Always, always bring snacks.

We didn’t get to visit every single mural location, but of the paintings we visited, this was our favorite:

There is a sign by each location requesting visitors don’t ask questions while the painters are working, so I just yelled up, “It’s beautiful!” I couldn’t stop myself.

It is by Royyal Dog (aka Chris Chanyang Shim). a Korean artist based in Los Angeles. His most famous mural is “Peace to You” which features Rhianna in traditional Korean garb. This is typical of Royyal Dog- he often portrays black women in Korean clothing. The effect is stunning, don’t you think?

I think it was raining when he painted this. He had to stand under an umbrella-ella-ella.

The writing you see translates to a verse in the Bible: “…Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.” 1 Samuel 25:6. Lansing is so, so lucky to have Royyal Dog and other incredible artists decorating our city! Next time you’re in the middle of the mitten, be sure to go look at some of our new murals. And don’t forget your snacks.

Not Your Mother’s Sidewalk Chalk

A while back my husband and I did a Bike ‘n’ Brew. You know, the big bikes you ride from bar to bar? It was just as fun as it looks when you see groups doing it. We went with a bunch of friends and had a great time despite the actual work. I don’t know what I thought was going to happen, but you actually have to pedal those beasts! Sometimes uphill! A good time was had by all- maybe a little too good. As in, I made it through Zumba class the next morning, but not without some dizzy spells.

Here’s an artist whose work makes me dizzy, but delightfully so. Maybe you’ve had someone forward you an email with a bunch of Edgar Mueller’s work, or have seen it on Pinterest. I actually do not think I could bring myself to walk on that “lava” in the second picture. When my kids are jumping on our furniture pretending the floor is lava? They legitimately convince me I’ll get burned if I walk into the living room. 

In honor of Edgar Mueller, we hosted a sidewalk chalk competition within our family. The theme was “fish.” Molly won with her second entry (her first was good… if it was a bunny drawing competition! That’s right, I’m trash-talking my kid.) The judge (my husband, Jim) just overlooked the charming heart bubbles coming out of my fish like they weren’t even there. I resisted any “there are other fish in the sea” jokes though, because Molly’s winning fish was pretty cute. You might say it was artsea.