Two-part exhibit series showcases artists bringing new life to old places
information provided by South Shore Arts
MUNSTER, Ind. (November 16, 2018) – Urban Legends is a two-part series of exhibits that showcase artists whose work is sparking new life in old places. The exhibits will be presented at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts over a six-month period beginning this fall and in multiple venues in Gary next spring. Lead underwriting for the series has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Legacy Foundation, and Peoples Bank.
Urban blight and the subsequent need for regeneration are not unique to Lake County communities, which are increasingly taking cues from similar sites across America, where art and artists have been utilized as means to stimulate new life. The public artwork that Northwest Indiana artists have executed throughout our sprawling metropolitan region and elsewhere can help viewers understand how art is being used to create new environments. The images that photographers have captured among urban ruins, including Gary’s City Methodist Church, sheds light on the exciting possibilities that lie ahead for redeveloping seemingly barren places.
Older cities often suffer from abandonment. Some see public art projects as a good strategy for regeneration. Public art can create a sense of identity, address community needs, tackle social exclusion, promote social change, and encourage economic development.
Indy Windy: A Love Story, running November 13, 2018, through January 29, 2019, will feature artists from Indiana and Chicago who execute large public artworks to create new environments in aging urban and manufacturing areas, while also documenting their experiences and creating new work in their private studios. The exhibit will be curated by Ish Muhammad, a self-taught artist from Indiana who maintains a studio at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago’s Bridgeport community on the south side. The exhibit will present an overview of creative activity currently underway by a community of Midwest artists, some of whom have been working together for nearly 30 years.
Muhammad states, “The inspiration for the exhibition is tied to the hustle of being an artist in Northwest Indiana and the relationships built along the way. What started out with artists building professional networks has evolved into true friendships with wedding invitations, graduations, and rent parties. This exhibit presents artists who respect each other and sincerely desire success for their peers.”
Indy Windy: A Love Story will showcase a dozen artists, along with two crews and a collective. Among the artworks on display will be selections from the Indiana State Museum’s Still Crazy: 30th Anniversary of CISA, an exhibition of artifacts and paintings covering the history of Crazy Indiana Style Artists, Indiana’s first Latino artist collective formed in East Chicago in 1986. The exhibit will include the polished work of veteran muralists, fine artists, sculptors, and woodworkers in an environment where the viewer can experience the excitement of urban communities and make connections to the creative energy embodied by the artists’ work.
Artists featured in Indy Windy: A Love Story include Ruben Aguirre, members of the Crazy Indiana Style Artists (CISA), FAB Crew, graffiti writer Mario ZORE Gonzalez, self-taught artist Tyrue SLANG Jones, Emmet Kerrigan, Felix FLEX Maldonado, Liz Mares, Brian Presnell, Tom Torluemke, members of the artist collective The Unwonted, former steel worker Roman Villarreal, and Chicago-based street artist Zor Zor Zor.
A Friendsgiving Party and Artist Reception will be held on November 16, 2018, 6:00-9:00pm.
Showing next spring
The second half of the series, Urban Ruins: Haunts, will run February 8 through April 21, 2019, with an Artist Reception on Sunday, March 3, 2019, 1:00–3:00pm. Curated by John Cain, this exhibit will feature the work of guerilla photographers who have been lured to Gary and other cities to capture the haunting beauty of architectural ruins on the verge of being repurposed as gardens and other public spaces.
The exhibit will feature the photography of Decay Devils Tyrell Anderson and Lori Gonzalez, along with Dennis Crane, Ashley Diener, Joel Henderson, Thomas Hocker, Eric Holubow, Matthew Kaplan, Mike Kinsch, Joey Lax-Salinas, Jamie Link, Larry D. Mickow, Jr., Bob Palmieri, and Guy Rhodes.
“Gary’s haunts lie dormant near Lake Michigan and steel mills responsible for their creation, sometimes inhabited by the homeless and visited by curiosity seekers and photographers fascinated by urban ruins,” states James B. Lane, co-director of the Calumet Regional Archives at Indiana University Northwest, in the exhibit catalogue. “Still eerily beautiful, they are representative of the grand illusions of early 20th-century city builders and symptomatic of a throw-away society with a short historical memory.”
A combined exhibit catalogue, which will document the work of artists featured in both shows, will serve as a record of the work on display as well as a primer on public art and opportunities for urban renewal through the arts in the Calumet region.
Partnerships and sponsorships
Urban Legends is the third exhibit collaboration presented by South Shore Arts and the Calumet Heritage Partnership, a diverse, bi-state partnership of environmental, cultural, and historical organizations, individuals, and other entities committed to celebrating, preserving and protecting the unique heritage of the Calumet region of Illinois and Indiana.
The Urban Legends series has been made possible by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s Community Foundation. Additional funding has been provided by Peoples Bank, Hammond Machine Works, Indiana University Northwest, NIPSCO, and the TIMES Media Company. South Shore Arts programs are provided with support from the Indiana Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Thanks to a special grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Fund at Legacy Foundation, both of the exhibits under the heading of Urban Legends will travel to multiple venues in Gary after they have been presented in Munster.
South Shore Arts is located within the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, Indiana. Call 219-836-1839, x108 for more information.