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Arts & Culture

Hector Acuna Leaves Mark On City With Mural | Lansing ArtPath Profiles

Acuna paints small details on an eye using yellow paint
Sophia Saliby/ WKAR
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Hector Acuna is one of the featured artists of this year's ArtPath exhibition

The Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center has debuted its annual ArtPath exhibition along the Lansing River Trail. There are 20 installations by Michigan artists.

Over the course of June, WKAR will be bringing you profiles of some of the artists with work along the trail.

At the center of this year’s showcase, right in downtown Lansing, you’ll find one piece in the place of an original River Trail sign. It's a mural called "Life In Lansing" by Hector Acuna.

Acuna primarily makes oil paintings, but he also creates sculptures and 3D animations.

He described his ArtPath mural as very colorful and vibrant.

I wanted it to be this like puzzle, where their eyes can move throughout the piece and focus on these different areas.

"It has eight to ten relatively large flat shapes that are all varying colors, reminiscent of the Midwest landscape."

This is Acuna's second time creating a mural for ArtPath.

If you take a closer look at his piece, you’ll notice some familiar things like the three stacks of the Eckert Power Plant and the State Capitol, but there are also more abstract shapes.

Some look like water or waves, and others have small circular portals. In each of those portals, there is a feature of the human face like an eye or ear.

He said he wants people looking at the work to be brought into it.

Hector Acuna has his back to the camera. He holds one panel of his mural. The other panel is leaning against some railing.
Credit Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center
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Acuna installs his mural on the Lansing River Trail.

"I wanted it to be this like puzzle, where their eyes can move throughout the piece and focus on these different areas where they might see something familiar or see something new and surprising."

Acuna also called it a reflection of his time in Lansing. That’s because he’s moving back to his home state of Wisconsin this summer.

"I wanted to be able to depart from Lansing and leave behind something that represented the way that I perceived the community of Lansing," he said.

In that way, he described the painting as an idealized version of the city.

"I think with every place, we find things we like and that we don't like about the area," he said. "And I wanted something that felt, you know, very positive and optimistic and hopeful."

I just feel really lucky to be able to be given the opportunity to add a little bit of my voice back into this place that's influenced me over the last four years.

Acuna said leaving Lansing is bittersweet, especially since one of the last pieces of art he’ll create in town will be left behind for the public to enjoy.

"I just feel really lucky to be able to be given the opportunity to add a little bit of my voice back into this place that's influenced me over the last four years," he said.

You can find Acuna’s piece, “Life In Lansing” downtown under the Michigan Avenue bridge.

Spot it from the trail or from the spiral staircase leading down from Michigan Ave. near the Capitol Building. 

a view from above of Acuna's mural set up next to the Lansing River Trail
Credit Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center
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Find Acuna's Life In Lansing under the Michigan Avenue bridge in downtown Lansing.

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