Blossom with care: Greater Lansing arts scene springs to life in 2022

Hot and cold crosswinds of relief, celebration, hope and uncertainty swept the greater Lansing arts and culture scene in 2022. 

Much of the hope sprang from the capital area’s evergreen, grassroots network of interlocking creative souls — musicians, visual artists, poets, filmmakers and many others, all of whom seem to know each other. Lansing’s winning combination of big-city talent and a small-town spirit of mutual support and affection burst into hundreds of events on the sidewalks, in the streets, in parks, bars and assorted venues large and small. 

After two years of hiatus or hybrid virtual events, local institutions like the Ten Pound Fiddle, the Capital City Film Festival, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and a pleiad (or so) of local theater companies returned to full schedules. 

MSU’s big culture guns, from the Wharton Center to the Broad Art Museum and the College of Music, ramped up to full wattage as well. 

Serious progress on two new downtown performing arts venues added another layer of hope.  

However, outside of outdoor festivals, 2022 didn’t unleash the pent-up demand many artists hoped for. After the brutal shutdowns and financial angst of 2020 and 2021, arts and culture organizations were hoping for a boffo, “Ding-Dong, the Witch is Dead” set piece, but the stubborn virus danced to its own tune.  

Arts venues across the country, Lansing included, reported that attendance was lower than pre-pandemic levels, not higher. A shell-shocked public, newly accustomed to soaking up culture at home, was harder to coax off the couch than expected.,33639