Okay, as promised here are some potential future projects that the DeWitt Creativity Group or others should do in the greater Lansing area:
1. Create a clothing apparel store that promotes civic identity and creativity. A great example of this is STL-Style (www.stl-style.com), a retail company from St. Louis that makes clothing that reflects local themes. STL-Style was started by Jeff and Randy Vines. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting them this summer at the Great Lakes Urban Exchange (www.gluespace.org) "Great Lakes Cities: Urban Laboratories" Conference in Cleveland, Ohio from July 15-17. The Vines brothers are very cool, innovative fellows that have a real passion for the unique and quirky characteristics of the neighborhoods of St. Louis. The clothes are awesome and embody the best of what Charles Landry in his book The Art of City Making calls "civic creativity." Using consumerism as a means to strengthen community identity and pride is a great way to get people to challenge whatever preconceptions they may have had regarding St. Louis. I strongly encourage any mid-Michigan resident to start cranking out high quality clothing designs with messgaes about Lansing such as: "Lansing Against The World" or "Lansing: The Creative Capitol."
2. Start a nonprofit regional record label that releases original music from high school and college groups/performers. This label can refer to some of the efforts by the DeWitt Music Club (refer to past post(s)). There are other resources throughout the area that may be willing to offer time/services/money etc. to support a worthy effort at promoting the local music scene. I really like the idea of a municipality or a community foundation giving a small stipend to get this off the ground. The DeWitt Creativity Group believes that such a label working with entities such as Michigan Homegrown Music (www.myspace.com/michiganhomegrownmusic) and Lansing Music TV (twitter.com/LansingMusicTV) could really help boost the mid-Michiagn's reputation as a cultivator of great musical talent. Combine this support with housing incentives for young musicians and it is only a matter of time before the area begins to attract more of them. Lansing can become what Austin is to Texas: the creative capitol!
3. Support high school and college filmmakers by holding an annual film festival and show films on public access. I can not figure out why there are no cable access channels in the Lansing area that do not have a regular show that features films by high school/college students. Especially since the state of Michigan offers the most generous tax incentives for filmmaking in the country. Detroit and Grand Rapids have done very well at attracting film productions in their respective metro areas. The Lansing region is lagging far behind. One possible way to help change this situation is to build an infrastructure to support our talent. Hopefully, over time professionals will see a strong commitment on behalf of the area to support the film industry.