Recycled beads from Mardi Gras necklaces have been reworked into dazzling pieces of art to go on display next week in Crown Point and Gary and soon in Valparaiso.
The exhibits by New Orleans self-taught artist Stephan Wanger are part of a fundraising effort by the Methodist Hospitals Foundation to enhance and advance services at its Gary and Merrillville facilities. Ten Krewes raise money at separate events leading up to the February ball. There is a drawing for a trip to New Orleans' Mardi Gras at the Methodist gala and anyone can enter that drawing.
Wanger's Bead Town exhibits in Northwest Indiana, which will be displayed in Gary at the Marshall Gardener Center in Miller and also in Crown Point at the "old" library on Court Street, are just part of the program. While Wanger is in region he will be creating---with the help of student artists---two pieces of work, that will become part of his traveling exhibtion.
"We engaged (Wanger) to exhibit his Bead Town for the first time out of Louisiana so residents can experience it, and to raise money for the foundation," said Robert Hanrahan, Methodist Hospitals Foundation executive director.
The series of exhibitions and events will begin on Monday, January 6th to coincide with Twelfth Night, marking the end of the Christmas season and start of carnival season in New Orleans.
The Twelfth Night reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Monday at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, 540 S. Lake St., Gary. Another event will take place next weekend on Sunday in Crown Point. Details are being finalized for a site in Valparaiso, Hanrahan said.
The Methodist's fundraising campaign culminates with the gala on Feb. 13th.
Hanrahan said he met Wanger during a visit to New Orleans and was "stunned" when he saw his work.
Some of the works Wanger creates for Northwest Indiana will incorporate local recyclable materials, possibly including some steel-related.
All local schoolchildren have been invited to take part in student workshops at the Gary and Crown Point locations.
For more information about the events and workshops, call Maria Diaz at the Methodist Hospitals Foundation office at (219) 886-4468.