Last year, the Calumet Artist Residency's Gary Poetry Project collected lines of poetry from hundreds of Gary residents over the course of the year, including many schoolchildren who attended its workshops.
They were asked to write a line about their first-hand experience of the city in an effort to debunk stereotypes and create a more complex, nuanced portrait than the Steel City often gets. The idea was to creative a massive, sprawling, collaborative "citywide poem" that would stitch together all those lines of verse into a singular work of art that would tell Gary's story.
Now the Calumet Artist Residency plans to wheat-paste the citywide poem, consisting of more than 1,000 lines of poetry, onto the back of its new two-story headquarters at 6009 Miller Ave., half a block east on Lake Street in Miller.
"We want to get people to come out and see it," Calumet Artist Residency President Sam Love said. "You can go around the city and see the lines painted on different buildings, but we want it to be available for the general public to read all in one place."
The poem will complement large graffiti murals that were installed as part of the Lake Effekt project, Love said.
"It's really going to pop," he said. "It's going to be visible from the farmers market and have 18-foot-tall murals on either side. It will help make a cool-looking streetscape."
The Calumet Artists Residency also plans to edit down a briefer version of the poem that will be carved into a 5-foot-tall poetry wall and displayed in the outdoor sculpture park in the woods along Miller Avenue, by the train tracks just west of 18th Street Brewery in Gary's Miller neighborhood.
"It's art work created by the public, and we want to display it for people to see," Love said.
For more information, visit www.calumetresidency.com.