Museum professionals speak about the “Bilbao effect,” referring to the substantial economic changes inspired by the construction of the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in the provincial port city of Bilbao, Spain in 1997. The art museum and other nearby cultural buildings also designed by internationally renowned architects turned the gritty city into a must-see pilgrimage site for contemporary art and architecture enthusiasts and generated a local economic boom in cultural tourism. Similarly, in mid-Michigan, an enhancement of the Greater Lansing area as a national and international cultural destination will occur when construction of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on the Michigan State University campus begins. People will come to see this design by a world recognized architect and the museum’s contemporary art collection.
The Chicago Tribune ran an article in April 2008 encouraging Chicagoan’s to “Point your car toward East Lansing” to see the best in Broadway. At that time Broadway in Chicago had not announced its subscription season, and because of this some shows typically leave the Windy City off their initial touring schedule. It is those articles in large city papers which reinforce the fact that Wharton Center is a major player when it comes to world-class entertainment.
Now that the dust has settled on its recent facility expansion and the season is in full swing, Michigan State University’s Wharton Center for Performing Arts—the state’s largest and most diverse presenter of performing arts—is widening its reach with two unique partnerships. Wharton Center recently signed a management agreement to coordinate the day-to-day operations of Broadway Grand Rapids and is finalizing a similar agreement with the City Opera House in Traverse City, a move designed to further its mission to serve as a leading resource for arts entertainment and education programs for a statewide audience.
Hot rods, custom and race cars, plus other unique vehicles headline the Conquerors II Autorama coming to Lansing Center from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21. This celebration of Lansing’s automobile heritage will feature more than 100 vehicles, 80 of which will be classics such as the ’31 Boattail Speedster, the ’57 Chevy convertible and the No. 1 Hurst Oldsmobile.
Michigan State University’s Wharton Center for Performing Arts has a long history of presenting quality programs. Over the past 25 years, the center has generated state and national prominence for its success with touring megahits and sold-out sensations, causing producers, performers and patrons to turn their attention toward mid-Michigan. However, at its core, Wharton Center is more than a space to entertain; it is a place to educate and engage.
The return of the eighth Annual Common Ground Music Festival is scheduled for July 8 -15, 2007. It has become one of mid-Michigan’s top family festival attractions, drawing over 90,000 patrons in both 2005 and in 2006. Located on the banks of the Grand River in Downtown Lansing’s Adado Riverfront Park, Common Ground is an event that appeals to all the senses. It has become the largest music festival in mid-Michigan and the premier entertainment event in Lansing.