Member Stories

Whether you encounter it at a gallery, art fair or perhaps on a friend’s wall, Michelle Detering’s art is hard to pass by. Her use of brilliant colors and her precise capturing of a moment are hard for anyone to resist, as is the mesmerizing gaze of many of her subjects.

Sean’s breadth of work features mythological, religious and pop culture figures, exploring their commonalities and dichotomies while also exploring consumerism, communication and fandom in today’s culture. Bursting with vivid color and detailed imagery, each piece of Sean’s work is an unexpected surprise, where Kung Fu masters, the Simpsons and Mystery Science Theater collide. His exhibit and the works in it have no titles, leaving the naming and the experience to the consumer.

Ever since she was a little kid, Jane Reiter has wanted to be an artist. “My father was an architect, and my mother was a librarian and a seamstress—not a professional seamstress, but she always sewed, our clothes, her clothes, curtains and tablecloths, she sewed a lot!” That love of sewing and fabric naturally rubbed off on Jane. “My mom taught me how to use her sewing machine, and I made clothes for my dolls and my toys,” she says. 




One can surmise that most Lansing area residents have heard about the Lansing Symphony Orchestra; after all, it’s been in existence since 1929, and that’s a lot of years of music making. However, while folks may know that it exists, there are many who have never heard the orchestra play, and it’s those empty seats that keep the LSO in the creative flow of finding ways to reach out to the community and share their love of music and the arts.

The art Paul makes brings nature and healing together for him. “I find shapes in nature,” says Paul. “I’m just walking around, and I pick them up and say , ‘Hey that’s a cool a shape.’ Then I make it big, abstract it by enlargement and glaze it decoratively. When people say, ‘So, what do you do?’, I tell them I make things that tell a story, and I create abstract forms from inspiration found in nature.” He also likes the community it provides, much of which he connects to through the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. “I’ve been around the art community for a long time,” he says. “The arts council pays attention to opportunities for people to exhibit their work and this was the primary reason I joined. They also offer great grant opportunities that get you thinking about doing your work.”

Laura Gajewski began fostering her artistic skills before she can even remember.“I can’t remember not being passionate about art,” said the Westphalia, Mich., resident, who is one of the Arts Council’s newest members. “It’s always been a major part of my life.” As a young child, Gajewski said she had strong hand-eye coordination and exceptional fine-motor skills, which led her parents to believe she’d either be a surgeon or an artist because her control of her hands was so impressive. By the time she entered kindergarten, she was copying editorial cartoons out of newspapers, and they were good enough that her parents decided they needed to encourage her creative pursuits.

Dace Koenigsknecht watched his father work with sheet metal for as long as he can remember. He grew up in St. Johns, and after brief stints in other communities, has returned to that community with his wife, step-son, and two daughters. Though he obtained degrees in history and historic preservation, Dace has found himself immersed in the world of art, and it's quite shiny for this metal worker. 

Dace has been crafting and creating metal pieces of art for just a short six years. “I learned everything I know by eye,” he said with smile. Dace works primarily with reclaimed metal, pieces of steel and iron that might look like nothing but rusty sheets to anyone else. To Dace, there are images captured in each piece just calling out to be put together into something unique.

The walls of the house belonging to James Gavril are plastered (in some cases, literally) with different figures bursting to life from their sculpted form. Each turn around a corner reveals a new image captured in bronze or plaster, giving the house a museum-like quality all its own.

“I am inspired to catch a moment that is uniquely human,” Gavril said as he sat across from a work in progress of two basketball players in a midair confrontation -- heavy expressions, clothing that appears to have evidence of gravity pulling on it, the tone of muscles all seem to breathe life from the clay itself.


Rebecca Case is one busy lady. She is a trained nurse that holds a degree in computer science and is heavily involved in the local arts community, adding the Arts Council of Greater Lansing to her list last fall. Among all of her activities, she has made painting a key focus of her life. With an eye-popping palette and inspiration from nature, Rebecca can turn a blank canvas into a dream setting.

Michigan State University’s Community Music School came to life in 1993 as an outreach component of MSU’s College of Music. The goal of the program was to improve lives through music by making it more accessible to the Greater Lansing Community. “They wanted to create a place where they could do outreach through music,” says Rhonda Buckley, associate dean for outreach and engagement. “They wanted to make music and music therapy accessible to people regardless of age, income or ability.”

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