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Artist Talk Shop & Sip to showcase new arts gallery in downtown Hammond

Felix "Flex" Maldonado paints and other local artists will sell their art and merchandise at the Artist Talk Shop & Sip at the Creative Hub in downtown Hammond Thursday.

Anyone hunting for unique holiday gifts for friends and family should head to downtown Hammond Thursday night.

The Artist Talk Shop & Sip from 5:30  to 8 p.m. will showcase The Creative Hub, a new art space and gallery in the HUB of Innovation Center at 5233 Hohman Ave in downtown Hammond.

It will feature live music from Dr. C/Clinton Mason and artists from the "Arterial Motives" exhibit now on display there, including Felix "Flex" Maldonado, Sophia Rapata, Francisco Cuadra, Casey King, Kerri Mommer, KUAZE, Omar "OMS ONE" Marin, Luis "OCHO" Sandoval, Dana Moore, Ish Muhammad Nieves, and Eric Roldan and Jeffrey Brink of the Petty Crimes Art Duo.

Visitors can chat with the artists and browse their artwork and local merchandise.

Maldonado said it was an ideal opportunity to find the perfect gift while supporting local arts. 

"'Arterial Motives' is a show that I curated in the Creative Hub, which is in the HUB of Innovation building," he said. "The director Jackie DeRosa asked me to develop a gallery to showcase local creatives, which I did. This show 'Arterial Motives' features Indiana artists."

It's also the inaugural exhibition for the new Creative Hub.

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"The HUB of Innovation is basically an incubator for businesses, industries. and technology," Maldonado said. "But there was a career field that was missing: the creative arts. They wanted to expand their services beyond just technology and business."

Artists can use photography, video and 3D printing labs at the HUB of Innovation, such as to create sculptures.

"We're just trying to find more creative outlets to bring attention to the services they provide, and what they have to offer to people who may want to work in the arts," Maldonado said. "They would eventually like to house a spot in that area where we could focus on the fine arts, sculpture, and photography."

The particulars of how The Creative Hub will be used as an art space are still being worked out. But for now, the 2,000-square-foot gallery that was recently opened presents a good opportunity to showcase emerging artists from Northwest Indiana, Maldonado said.

"You can see a great variety of artwork, of painting, illustration, and photography," he said. "My main concern with the show was to collect not only established artists but emerging artists. I don't want to make it an elite gallery, I don't want to make it something that's unreachable. We want a venue for Indiana artists."

The gallery is open anytime the HUB of Innovation is, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

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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.