Sarah Vedolich is an emerging artist, writer, spoken word artist, poet, and singer/songwriter, originally from Imlay City, MI, and now residing in Lansing. Sarah is in pre-production on her first book, which should be available to the public the first part of 2020.
Sarah’s passion for the art of the spoken word developed while she was a student at Michigan State University. She has performed the art form at a variety of venues over the past decade including at The Poetry Room at the Robin Theatre, The Artist’s Umbrella at the Loft, The Creative Collective, and at the State Capitol Building on multiple occasions. You can also see Sarah at many of the local open mics, where she combines her spoken word, and musical talent.
One of Sarah’s greatest passions is utilizing her artistic talents to connect with others through spoken word, writing, music, and story-telling. She enjoys sharing her talents with others, and collaborating to hone her craft. She continually explores ways in which she can share her art with others, and is excited to be a part of the Greater Lansing Artistic Community.
For more information on Sarah & her work visit:
Seizing the Opportunity: The Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center Becomes an Opportunity Arts Affiliate.
A staple of the Lansing Arts Community for the better part of a century, The Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center has provided public awareness, education, and enjoyment of the visual arts by promoting the works of Michigan artists, while enhancing the quality of life and cultural well-being of the community. Established as Lansing first permanent art gallery in 1965, the organization provides a permanent cultural facility & outreach initiatives to fulfill its mission, ensuring that exhibits, educational programs and opportunities to purchase Michigan art are available to the public. Supported in part by memberships, individual donors, sponsors, and grantors, the Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center features the works of over 100 Michigan artists. From fine art to fine craft, the organization boasts a large collection of exceptional Michigan-made jewelry, glass, sculpture, paintings, pottery, and wearable art for viewing & for sale.
The Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center serves as one of Michigan’s key cultural resources, presenting annual art exhibits including the Michigan Made: Holiday Art Exhibit, and ArtPath: Public Art on the Lansing River Trail. The organization also presents annual arts education initiatives including Art Scholarship Alert, workshops, and youth camps. The Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center has provided more than 500 free art exhibitions and granted over $100,000 in awards for students. Now located in the heart of downtown Lansing at 119 North Washington Square, the Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center is open Tuesday through Friday from 11a.m. to 6p.m, on Saturdays from 11a.m. to 3p.m, and on the 1st Sunday of the Month from 11a.m. to 3p.m. Admission is FREE and everyone is welcome!
For More Information on the Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center Visit:
Bianca Green is a dancer, choreographer, model, and actor with over a decade and a half of experience in the industry. Originally from Chicago, IL, she has performed throughout the Midwest at fashion shows & special events. While living in Chicago, she was a member of RH School of Performing Arts Next Level, and the Domino Effect dance group. Bianca recently relocated to Lansing, MI, and brought her dance & modeling studio, 24 Karat Talent to Michigan’s Capital City.
At 24 Karat Talent, Bianca teaches a variety of classes & workshops including Beginner & Intermediate Modeling, Hip Hop, Jazz, Modern, & Contemporary. Her goal with these classes is to help aspiring young Mid-Michigan based dancers & models gain access to the same opportunities she was afforded in the big city. Bianca also teaches a Wine & Heels Class where attendees can kick back and let off steam, as well as a Female Empowerment Heels Class that focuses on building self-esteem & confidence.
A devoted wife & mother, Bianca studied Drama & Theatre at Prairie State College before embarking on her career. As a dancer, she has performed with Missy Elliott at the BET Hip Hop Awards, as a background dancer for Rapper, Singer & Songwriter Tink, and was featured in the Bud Billiken Parade, the largest African-American Parade in the United States. Her modeling credits include being a part of the American Beauty Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, Pro Beauty Hair Show in Atlanta, as a painted statue at the Arts Institute in Chicago, for the Black Women’s Expo, and was featured in Blackhair Magazine as a model for Avlon. As an actor, she has been on such notable shows as NBC’s trifecta of Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, and as a patient on Chicago Med. She also appeared as a background singer, dancer, and stand-in on 3 seasons of Fox’s hit show Empire.
For more information on Bianca & her work visit:
Allison Spooner is an accomplished writer and author from Lansing, MI. Her first book, Flash in the Dark: A Collection of Flash Fiction was released in 2018, and her second book, The Problem With Humans: And Other Stories was released in September of 2019. Allison specializes in flash fiction (stories told in less than 1,000 words) and bringing worlds, characters, and stories to life in as few words as possible. Aside from her books, Allison’s work has also been featured in the science fiction anthology, Future Visions. Allison has integrated writing in almost every aspect of her life, from work, to fun, and even in her sleep, as many of her story ideas come from her dreams.
Allison holds a degree in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University, and gives presentations & workshops on how to use Flash Fiction to break through writer’s block. For the past decade, Allison has also been using her passion for words and writing to tell the stories of businesses across Michigan. She has written for various publications including, Capital Gains, Greater Lansing Business Monthly, Startup Lansing, and Rapid Growth.
Allison uses her words to connect with others the way she felt connected to books and stories as a child. She is the co-founder and co-host of The Creative Collective in Mason, MI, an open-mic designed to motivate & inspire writers to achieve their goals. Some of her personal goals are to be featured on future book tours, getting her stories adapted to television & film, and to create a Mid-Michigan writers room for the next generation of writers.
Allison has a passion for helping others feel their best and thrive even at their worst. She is the creator of the Three to Thrive Fulfillment Theory: the idea is that there are three things about you, three core things that you need to take care of, nourish, and keep in alignment, in order to truly thrive. When she isn’t writing, Allison loves doing yoga, watching movies, spending time with her family, and spoiling her baby, a miniature schnauzer named Luna.
For more information on Allison & her work visit:
Morgan Madden is a spoken word artist, poet, lyricist, and founder of Mad Man Poetics. Born and raised in Mason, MI, Morgan is a second generation artist, and seventh generation Lansing resident. He released his first album “Qualifiers” in June of 2018. The album features Morgan’s poem “An Ode to the 517”, which has become an anthem for residents of Mid-Michigan.
Morgan has collaborated with multiple local & national musical artists including “The Devil’s Cut”. He has also been featured on the Lansing Public Media Center’s City TV. Morgan has performed throughout the Capital City at venues such as REO Town Art Attack, The Poetry Room at The Robin Theatre, The Artist’s Umbrella at The Loft, the grand opening of The Fledge in Lansing, and at Lansing Brewing Company’s 2018 New Year’s Party.
In 2019, Morgan got the opportunity to perform at the State Capital Building, the most recognizable symbol of the city he loves. Morgan is proud of his Lansing lineage, and of the contributions his family & ancestors have made on the city & the region. Through his art and creativity, Morgan is leaving his own indelible mark on Michigan’s Capital City, and The 517 as a whole.
For more information on Morgan & his work visit:
Since its inception in 2017, The Poetry Room has been a home for poets and songwriters to hone their skills and a platform to showcase them. Founded by host, Masaki Takahashi under the guidance of Dylan Rogers, The Poetry Room open mic is fast paced, easily accessible, entertaining, and is unlike any other poetry open mic you may attend. Included into the mix is Masaki’s long-time friend, Kevin Nguyen who takes amazing, professional quality photos of the events and sets the music used for transitions between acts. Together, they have found a formula to reach the masses, build community, and give voice to a diverse group of blossoming poets and musicians while becoming Lansing’s mecca for major talent.
Save June & July, The Poetry Room takes place on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at the Robin Theatre in Lansing, MI’s REO Town Neighborhood. There is a line to sign up to perform that starts forming about a quarter to 7:00pm, the doors open at 7:00pm sharp, and the list to perform is usually full by 7:05pm. If you are not there by 7:30pm, it will be very difficult to find a seat. The show starts at 7:45pm.
The Poetry Room, which was recently featured on a billboard created by the City of Lansing, is free to attend, though there is a suggested donation of $5-$10. Each event has a loose theme that guests, and participants are encouraged, but not required, to consider. The Lansing based poetry & music talent performing at The Poetry Room shows the immense artistic talent that Michigan’s Capital City possesses, or as Masaki puts it, “all killers, no fillers”.
Masaki Takahashi is the host and founder of The Poetry Room. Heavily influenced by hip hop and the elements of improvisation, he brings his skills to engage the crowd to have high powered events, which attracts the freshest talents from the surrounding areas. Masaki has been a featured poet for the Lansing 5:01 DamJam, the Lansing Poetry Club, Reo Town Readings, the 55th Annual East Lansing Art Festival, The Artist’s Umbrella, and Williamston Art Fest. He has been featured on HOMTV, The Mike Bass Podcast, LCC Radio “Lansing Loud & Local”, Michigan Business Network, The State News, The Citizen Press, and The City Pulse.
Masaki has participated in Freestyle battles at Freestyle Monday in NYC, and the UAB Freestyle Rap Competition. He is the winner of Scratch Pilot, MC competition at Green Door in Lansing, Michigan, and a finalist in the Michigan State University Poetry Slam Competition in 2012. He has been an opener for Detroit based rapper Invincible, and national touring poet Neil Hilborn. His work also allows him to run educational workshops in Everett New Tech High for programming, and another in poetry. By focusing on one school, he believes he can harness a better relationship with the school and students. Masaki holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Arts and Technology from Michigan State University, and another Bachelor of Science from Davenport University in Computer Science.
For more information on Masaki & The Poetry Room visit:
Thursday, Sept. 5th –Saturday, Sept. 7th, 2019
REO Town - Lansing
(Lansing, MI) – The 2019 Threadbare Mitten Film Festival, aptly titled “Bright Lights, Big City”, will be the first time the festival will be within the city limits of Lansing. The festival, which started in Charlotte, MI in 2017, will be taking place in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood Thursday, September 5th – Saturday, September 7th, and will feature sixty two selections from thirteen different countries, however a third of the selections will be films from Michigan. The festival will also feature two free community screening events, four feature films, and a multitude of Michigan, U.S., and World Premiers. Participating venues for the festival will be REO Town staples Blue Owl Coffee, Reo Town Pub, and The Robin Theatre. Limited Festival Passes are available for $25.00. For more information, & to purchase tickets, visit www.threadbarefilmfest.com.
The Threadbare Mitten Film Festival (TMFF) was created to fill the perceived gap in the Michigan festival circuit between traditional "independent" film festivals and horror/sci-fi "genre" festivals. “I wanted to create a home for the odd and eccentric films that were slipping through the cracks, yet still deserved an appreciative audience,” said Dan Kofoed, the festival’s founder and director. A celebration of genre cinema, the TMFF has been described as a grassroots, anti-genre, but all-genre film festival. The festival’s films can play straight to their genre, blend between genres, or fall entirely into the gap between. The festival prides itself on featuring films crafted with pure artistry. “I don't mind if an independent film is occasionally a little 'threadbare' and shows the seams of its budget,” says Kofoed. TMFF also has a dedication to featuring films made in Michigan, or films that are created by Michigan filmmakers.
Other than the films themselves, another thing that sets the Threadbare Mitten Film Festival apart is their thematic programming. “We offer both a selection of films, and presentation of those films that is distinct and coherent,” said Kofoed. “We program our festival so that the audience knows what they are buying a ticket to.” The festival is broken up into different program blocks, including Michigan Student Films, Documentaries, Short Comedies, Michigan Feature Films, and Surreal Short Films. Each program block is of a piece, telling a larger story through the films within it.
The move to REO Town for the third year was partly from neighborhood pride, and partly in search of the larger local audience that Kofoed feels these films deserve. “REO Town lets us recreate the ‘small town’ atmosphere we are known for, while providing all the amenities that being in Lansing has to offer.” The Threadbare Mitten Film Festival has a few traditions that they are bringing with them to REO Town which include free public screenings, jury and audience awards featuring local handcrafted trophies, and the Friday night Film.Craft.Beer Party.
For a full list of films, directors, programs, and the entire 2019 Threadbare Mitten Film Festival Schedule visit: www.threadbarefilmfest.com/2019tmff
Grace Carras is a spoken word poet from Midland, MI. The winner of the 2019 Mark Ritzenhein Emerging Poet Award, Grace holds two Bachelor of Arts Degrees from Michigan State University, one in Arts & Humanities, and the other in English. She has lead creative writing workshops at the Alden B. Dow Home & Studio, itself a National Historic Landmark, and currently runs a spoken word poetry workshop and performance for the Midland Center for the Arts. Finishing Line Press will be publishing her first book ‘Quiet Kid’ in 2020.
In 2018, her poem “for the poets who gather here” was selected by the Lansing Sidewalk Poetry Competition to be one of only eight poems etched in the foundation of Michigan’s Capital City. The poem will be a fixture in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood for decades to come. Grace was a semifinalist in the 2018 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI), where she and her team achieved a Top 10 finish out of 64 universities represented. This was the first team from MSU to attend the invitational in over a decade.
She is a co-founder of The Poetry Room in Lansing, MI, where she was also co-host for two years. She has performed at prestigious Mid-Michigan performing venues including The Robin Theatre & The Loft. She has also been a featured performer for The Artist’s Umbrella, and has opened for distinguished poets such as Neil Hilborn & Olivia Gatwood. Grace has been featured on HOMTV & The Mike Bass Podcast, and in The State News, The Midland Daily News, Catalyst Midland, The Lansing City Pulse, and The Lansing State Journal.
For more information on Grace & her work visit:
The Artist’s Umbrella is a 21st Century Vaudeville Production & Variety Show featuring Mid-Michigan based artists & talent. Under the direction of Jeremy Hurt & Brandon Navin, the Artist’s Umbrella prides itself in creating community through providing a safe space where people from all walks of life can be authentic, transparent, and vulnerable while expressing their creativity.
Normally taking place at 7pm on the 4th Wednesday of the month at The Loft in downtown Lansing, MI, the show is an all ages event, however, the Artist’s Umbrella have given themselves a PG-13 rating. Being an artistic production, there may be some harsh language or adult topics not appropriate for children. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, and you can support your favorite Artist’s Umbrella performers & vendors by purchase your tickets directly from them.
The collection of artists you will see at The Artist’s Umbrella may include Musicians, Hula Hoop Artists, Comedians, Clowns, Writers, Poets, Break Dancers, Belly Dancers and Fred, a 77 year old tortoise who has taken the stage in an educational program by Preuss Pets. There is also a variety of vendors who you can purchase art from at the show including Cussing Carrie’s Creations to Lithic Creations by Ginger Designs. You just never know what's going to happen or what you are going to encounter under The Artist’s Umbrella.
For More Information on The Artist's Umbrella Visit:
Stephano Andreotti is a vocal performer, opera singer, actor, model, pianist, and independent pro-wrestler living on Long Island, New York. The protégé of world renowned vocal performer Kelly Nassief, Stephano has performed in operas, plays, and for film & television, including being featured by News 12 Long Island for his tour of Italy. He has performed various concerts across the United States and Europe, including at the Red River Lyric Opera, Spell Con, at the Castello Ristonchi in Pelago, Italy, and at the 2017 Cantamare in Palermo, Sicily.
Stephano is the 2017 winner of the Festival of Song USA Competition in Brooklyn, NY, and the winner of both the classical & musical theatre categories of the 2018 National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition. The Co-Owner of The Craft Crossroads & the Co-Host of the Spell Cast Podcast, Stephano also offers voice & piano classes throughout the Northeast.
In addition to his vast artistic prowess, Stephano is also a pro-wrestler on the independent circuit. He has wrestled for multiple wrestling promotions including Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), New York’s Impact Championship Wrestling (ICW) & Fight the World Wrestling (FTW).
For more information on Stephano & his work visit: www.facebook.com/stephanosound1/
News about Opportunity Arts and it's Affiliates.
Seizing the Opportunity:
The Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center Becomes an Opportunity Arts Affiliate.
Seizing the Opportunity:
The Poetry Room with
Masaki Takahashi becomes
Opportunity Arts Affiliates.