East Chicago graffiti artists to display work at the Indiana State Museum

Artist Ish Muhammad spray-paints a cartoon caricature of Michael Jackson for The Jackson Five mural to commemorate the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. Muhammad and other Crazy Style Indiana Artists are displaying their work at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis.

Northwest Indiana residents likely believe the 219 is better than the 317.

Region graffiti artists will aim to prove it’s better once and for all in a mural competition on the Indiana State Museum’s canal terrace this weekend.

Ish Muhammad and the Crazy Indiana Style Artists, or CISA, Indiana’s oldest Latino artist cooperative, will represent the 219 area code in a competition against graffiti artists from the 317 area code of Indianapolis for the 219 Meets 317 event. They’re going to paint a 20-foot-by-8-foot panel inspired by Brown County landscape painter T.C. Steele to celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial and the opening of the Still Crazy: 30th Anniversary of CISA exhibit at the Indiana State Museum.

“In conjunction with our current bicentennial exhibition 200 Years of Indiana Art: A Cultural Celebration, we are partnering with graffiti installation artist Ish Muhammad and the Crazy Indiana Style Artists of Lake County to celebrate the contributions made by modern and contemporary artists throughout Indiana history,” said Katy Creagh, the Indiana State Museum’s school program developer.

The rival graffiti crews will throw down on the canal in downtown Indianapolis between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday. The event also will feature DJs, spoken word poets and tastings of craft beer, including from Hammond’s 18th Street Brewery.

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“We are excited to have CISA join us,” Creagh said. “They are Indiana’s oldest Latino artist cooperative and is nationally recognized for more than three decades of creative work.”

The Indiana State Museum at 650 W. Washington St. in White River State Park just opened an exhibit, which runs through Oct. 2, that displays more than 30 works from the Crazy Indiana Style Artists to document their decades of history. The show features canvas paintings, jackets, videos and articles.

“The artists in this show represent some of Indiana’s most intriguing modern and contemporary pieces, which help to illustrate the more edgy side of visual arts development in Indiana,” said Mark Ruschman, chief curator of fine art at the State Museum. “This group, under the direction of graffiti installation artist Ish Muhammad, showcases the immense talent and diversity associated with the state.”

For more information, visit indianamuseum.org.


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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.