[scene1] On the glass facing the street, it says “SEE AND BE.” On the door a red rectangle with a white outline of an eye stares down those waiting in line for Rick’s American Cafe.
Inside, things don’t get any less cryptic. The walls are festooned with pieces of scrap paper: notes passed between lovers that appear to have been folded and unfolded several times; beginnings of poems that have been scribbled out and rewritten; elementary school photographs and a list with the names of 11 states, three of them crossed out and the phrase “bring all pills.”
And they call it art. These aren’t just random scraps thrown up on the wall – of course not, it’s art. And the viewer who “gets it” is officially licensed to look down his nose at the people who criticize it or call it garbage.
Welcome to the (SCENE) Metrospace gallery in East Lansing at 303 Abbott Road, on the corner of Abbott and Albert.
[scene2] Leslie Donaldson, the founder of (SCENE), moved to this location, along with two other friends, from the former Art Apartment gallery located above the old Tower Records in East Lansing. The space was not just a gallery but also featured art installations and performance pieces. “It got really expensive,” Donaldson said of the Art Apartment. “We paid for everything ourselves.” Thus was the establishment’s demise.
Donaldson, however, was nowhere near being done with the art scene in East Lansing. She continued to work for the East Lansing Art Festival and was given an opportunity by the city to open up a new gallery.
“It was a really surreal conversation,” she said of her dealings with the city regarding the gallery. But the wheels were in motion and Donaldson worked with several volunteers, and on April 30, 2004, the (SCENE) Metrospace was opened.
Eventually, it became too difficult for Donaldson to split her time between running (SCENE) and working with the East Lansing Art Festival. Consequently, in stepped Emma Kruch as art director to do “all the physical work,” she said.
[scene3] Metrospace tries to focus on all forms of art, from collages to performance pieces. As for the paper scraps affixed to the wall, they are part of the current exhibit at the gallery in partnership with an Ann Arbor-based magazine, FOUND!, which is a collection of readers’ “finds.”
The FOUND! Exhibit, which continues until May 22, also features photographs by Doug Coombe, as well as the Suite B Art Collective. (SCENE) Metrospace is open from 6 – 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 1 – 4 p.m. on Sundays.

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