arts_icon120Lansing's new arts council is coming out of the starting gate running with an eight week Concert in the Courtroom series.  East Shore Arts Council (ESAC) chair Karen Veaner says the idea came from the very successful Concerts in the Park series that Park Superintendent and Recreation Director Steve Colt offers every summer.

"He's done such a great job with that and it is such a gift to the Town," Veaner says.  "People were sad when it was over, so we thought what a great opportunity this is to continue along that vein and offer a Concert in the Courtroom series so folks can continue to get together and enjoy great music.  If Lansing likes this concert series we will likely continue it in the winter."

Veaner and Colt began talking about a courtroom series this summer.  They have worked together, with Colt booking acts and collaborating with Veaner on the logistics.  The big push right now is to get sponsors for the concerts and the series as a whole, as well as advertisers for the program.  Details have been posted on the ESAC Web site.

Tickets for the five performance concerts will be $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors.  Open Mike Nights are free, but donations will be welcomed.  Sponsorships and advertisements in a full color program will also fund not only the concert series, but future events including art shows, concerts, dance and theater, and arts classes.

"All of the money we raise will go to cover the cost of the concert series and also to be used as seed money for future programming," Veaner says.  "We have individual sponsorships for each concert at the $200 level and $100 level.  We're very grateful to Ed LaVigne, who was the first person to step up to the plate.  He is sponsoring the first concert of the series.  We're very excited about that."

The schedule came together quickly with five performances and three open mike nights scheduled, every Saturday at 7pm in the Lansing Town Hall courtroom.  The series kicks off on October 11th with jazz by London McDaniel and Johnny Russo.  The Dean's List will perform soft rock October 25th.  Dan Veaner performs mostly traditional songs and tunes on Celtic harp and guitar November 8th.  The November 22 date is in the process of being booked, and The Vanderhoofs will perform holiday stylings December 6th.  Open Mic Night with Paul Kempkes will be on October 18, November 15, and December 13.

Robin Schuttenberg, an arts council member who also chairs the annual East Shore Festival of the Arts, is working with an artist who will display works in the courtroom during the concert series.

Veaner is a trained actress who has performed in and out of Tompkins County, including the Hangar and Kitchen Theaters, and the Climb Theatre Company in Minneapolis.  She has directed local high school dramas, and as a member of the Lansing Community Council, she chaired the Lansing Harbor Festival for half a dozen years.  She has been thinking about forming a local arts council for about a year.

"I've worked for quite a while on the Lansing Community Council, which has been a great training ground for starting up this council," she says.  "That's been a wonderful experience, but really my background is in the arts and that's where my passion lies."

The East Shore Arts Council is made up of about a dozen artists including writers, graphic artists, fine artists, musicians, and theatre and dance artists.  In its first month in existence the group has come up with a hefty 'wish list' of possible future events, exhibits and classes, and is already working on the paperwork to be recognized as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.

"It's a group of very dynamic people who are very passionate about the arts who would like to see programming grow in Lansing, both entertainment and educational opportunities," Veaner says.  "I see so much talent in this community and the surrounding areas, and I thought what a great opportunity to try to create some thoughtful and intentional programming so we can continue to offer opportunities for people to get together, enjoy each others' company and music and great entertainment," Veaner says.  "And hey -- learn to paint, learn to dance... to help nurture the arts and create affordable programming."