A new art gallery is showcasing contemporary art in Gary's Miller neighborhood, continuing an ongoing commercial revitalization and further cementing Miller's claim to be one of Northwest Indiana's artsiest enclaves.
Square One Culture Gallery opened at 632 S. Lake Street on Miller's main commercial drag, in a space that used to be home to the Summer Colony Living boutique.
Local artists and art collectors Erin Sedalia, Dwayne "Dork" RedPill and John Phelps opened the 500-square-foot gallery selling paintings, sculpture and other works of "dope" art, including many with a graffiti aesthetic.
"It's a place for creatives and artists to get appreciation," Phelps said. "We want an association with music, art, good feelings, and how life should be accepting and loving. We feel the best work comes with freedom and creativity, where artists are free to roam and be themselves. When they do it that way, the work is unadulterated and pure."
Square One represents about 32 artists, who are local, regional and national. It's currently exhibiting about 100 different pieces that cover nearly every square inch of available wall space at the gallery near 18th Street Brewery.
"There was a void that needed to be filled," Phelps said. "This is a place that didn't exist and needed to on so many different levels. We want somewhere where artists can feel at home."
Gary's Miller neighborhood also is home to the Lake Street Gallery, the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, Beach Art Bazaar and the Painted Board Studio. Square One displays a wide array of visual arts, such as sculpture and 3-D art, and also plans to bring in musicians and host events like lectures and listening parties.
The neighborhood has seen an influx in new businesses in recent years, including Tequila and Tacos and California Crab Shack.
"It started where we wanted to create for each other, for who we know in the city," Sedalia said. "We want to connect fine arts with music and all of those mediums. We want to bring people together with different age groups and styles and bounces ideas off each other."
The artwork is priced between $25 and $700 so that it can be accessible to everyone. A "$100 and under" art show is planned Saturday.
"You don't have to be rich to become an art collector," Phelps said. "We want to erase that narrative."
The owners also hope the gallery will become a cultural hub in the lakefront neighborhood.
"When you start any empire, any business, you need a cornerstone to build off of," Phelps said. "This is not just about art. We want to bring people together, and that needs to start somewhere. We hope this is a cornerstone in the city of Gary. We want to create a space where people feel comfortable to actually create something."
Square One Gallery is open from noon until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
For more information, call 219-250-1011, visit www.squareone.gallery or find Square One on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.