Art Attack at Walter French
Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP) joined forces with the REO Town Commercial Association to unveil community painted murals at the historic Walter H. French school. The large-scale paint-by-number mural was designed by two Lansing based artists – Joy Baldwin and Eric Schantz. The concept portrays influential artists, musicians, and world leaders such as Oprah Winfrey, Gandhi, Janis Joplin, Dave Chappelle and Lansing’s own Burt Reynolds. The murals now adorn the ground floor of the building south of REO Town.
At the annual REO Town Art Attack event on Saturday, August 25, 2018, neighbors and community members had the opportunity to participate in the completion of the murals. "Partnering with CAHP for this year's REO Town Art Attack was a huge opportunity for both organizations. The Walter French mural project is the largest impact project we've ever taken on and we're so proud to have our community be a part of it”, said Ryan Wert, RTCA executive director.
CAHP acquired ownership of the former Walter H. French Junior High School, located at 1900 S. Cedar Street in Lansing, in December 2017 via a donation made by the Louis J. Eyde family and the George F. Eyde family. CAHP, a local nonprofit development organization, plans to pursue a mixed-use redevelopment of the historic Lansing building, to include a variety of residential options.
“We are excited about the potential of the Walter French building and transforming it into a wonderful new place to live in Lansing”, said Mikki Droste, CAHP executive director. “At this stage in the process we are working to solicit community input on the use and design of the property. Partnering with the RTCA to unveil these murals will help raise awareness of our efforts. The building has a rich history and unique architecture that has played a significant role in Lansing’s educational history.”
Additional recognition should be extended to the project sponsors including – Home Depot, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, O’Leary Paint, Trumble Group, Michigan Realtors Association, EXIT Realty Home Partners, REACH Studio Art Center, Lansing Board of Water & Light, and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. The murals are now on display.