CU's name becomes community art

CU's name becomes community art

LAFCU selects five artists to paint CU's letters.

October 24, 2016

LAFCU is celebrating its 80th birthday in a big way.

The $630 million asset credit union has transformed a series of six-foot letters representing its name into a community art project.

  • Slide 01

    LAFCU transformed its six-foot letters representing its name into a community art project.

  • Slide 02

    LAFCU selected five Michigan artists to transform the CU’s six-foot letters into works of art. It sponsored the project as part of its 80th birthday celebration.

  • Slide 03

    The credit union unveiled the completed letters during a jazz and blues concert in downtown Lansing this summer. The letters will appear at LAFCU-sponsored events during the remainder of the year.

  • Slide 04

    Derek Allmendinger of Lansing, Mich., depicts a photo shoot of LAFCU’s mascot LAFF-E the Cow on the letter “L.”

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    Sam “Samskee” DeBourbon of Lansing, Mich., describes the letter “A” as a “happy color fusion, happy family.”

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    Laura Gajewski of Portland, Mich., replicates vintage REO Flying Cloud advertisements from the 1920s on the letter “F.”

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    Jeremy Coats of Kalamazoo, Mich., says the letter “C” represents growth and community.

  • Slide 08

    Brian Whitfield of Lansing, Mich., says the two sides of the “U” represent two sides of Lansing: the state Capitol and “our home.”


“The artists took it to another level of community involvement and engagement,” says Kelli Ellsworth-Etchison, senior vice president of marketing at the Lansing, Mich.-based credit union. “We’re saying, ‘These are your letters. This is you. You built LAFCU.’”

Artists from around Michigan submitted designs. The credit union selected five artists to each paint one of the letters, which are made out of a dense Styrofoam-type material. Themes depicted on the letters range from a photo shoot of LAFCU’s mascot, LAFF-E the Cow, to a representation of the two sides of Lansing—the state Capitol and the community.

LAFCU unveiled the completed letters this summer during a jazz and blues concert in downtown Lansing.

“It turned out way better than I expected,” Ellsworth-Etchison says. “They transformed those letters.”

Weather permitting, throughout the rest of the year the credit union plans to take the letters to LAFCU-sponsored events—such as minor league baseball games, a family movie night on the state Capitol lawn, and an Oktoberfest celebration—as well as to some of its nine branches. Credit union staff take photos of the letters with people attending the events and post the images on LAFCU’s social media accounts.

“People definitely notice the letters,” Ellsworth-Etchison says. “They’re hard to miss.”

With LAFCU’s 80th birthday celebration coming to an end, Ellsworth-Etchison says the credit union is exploring whether to return the letters to the original corporate blue color or involve the community in another project.

“Right now we’re having so much fun with the letters, we might do something different next year,” she says. “It’s fun to have others involved in the process.”