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Present your ideas for saving Gary's historic buildings at new exhibit

The Marshall J. Garnder Center for the Arts in Gary

Do you have any ideas for how to save Gary's historic architecture?

If so, your voice can be heard at the new Decay Devils exhibit at The Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts at 540 S. Lake St. in Gary’s Miller neighborhood. The Decay Devils artist and urban exploration collective is on a mission to save historic architecture in downtown Gary, and is shining light on Gary’s iconic buildings, both standing and lost to the ages, in a new photography exhibit.

“The Art Within: Rebuilding through Preservation” will run in Miller through March 26. It's an interactive exhibit that encourages viewers to contribute their ideas for how Gary's historic buildings can be preserved, said Miller Beach Arts and Creative District Executive Director Meg Roman.  

"It's photographs of Gary and other cities in the U.S. as well as abroad, including in Italy," she said. "It looks at abandoned buildings in other communities, and how they treat them. Italy especially maintains and uses its amazing ancient ruins: the Pantheon, the Coliseum and so on. It shows they don't just have to be left alone. It shows how we might repurpose our abandoned buildings, whether as public spaces or pieces of art."

The exhibit also includes memorabilia such as band uniforms, trophies and yearbooks from closed Gary high schools, such as Emerson and Horace Mann.

"That might be a draw for some people," Roman said. "We're really excited. There's great energy. This is an amazing group of people doing great work in the community, and visitors will get a chance to share how to improve our abandoned building landscape."

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded the Decay Devils a $22,000 grant to preserve the historic and long-vacant Union Station in downtown Gary. A cleanup is planned for 9 a.m. April 8, and the group seeks volunteers to help out. They plan to paint murals on the 107-year-old neoclassical building that once bustled with train passengers but has sat empty for decades.

The gallery is open from 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, call (219) 938-6278 or visit millerbeacharts.org.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.