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One Best Life @ Tinker's Attic in downtown Highland is a venue for local artists, whether sculptors looking to sell their creations or musicians looking for a stage to play on.

The art gallery and collectibles store at 2513 Highway Ave. at the westernmost fringe of downtown Highland hosts a weekly open mic night, showcases the work of many local artists and offers low-cost art classes.

About a year ago, sisters Susan and Lisabeth Crouch opened the gallery, which features about 150 works from about 45 local artists and a weekly open mic night similar to Paul Henry’s Art Gallery in downtown Hammond. One Best Life @ Tinker's Attic also offers affordable arts classes from local artists like Dawn Kovera, who also displays her mixed media and mosaic pieces in the gallery. 

"It's kind of nice to have an outlet to sell my things," she said. "I love it here. I think the arts are really important to people, and you need more than big venues like Theatre at the Center. This is a small hands-on venue."

Children and adults alike can get classes on mosaics, mixed media and other art forms for $20 a session instead the six-week commitment other art education programs often require.

“We believe people are creative,” Crouch said. "We want to expose people to different art forms. Most artists do it as self-medication."

Crouch herself is a mixed media artist who incorporates natural rocks, driftwood beach wood, sea shells and rusty items like screws and bolts and washers and hub cabs into her work.

“When I was 7, I wanted to be like Picasso,” she said. 

She wanted to create a venue for people to show their art because there were so few in the area, she said. Crouch also hopes to expose more people to art they could decorate their homes with.

Prices at One Best Life @ Tinker's Attic range from $10 to $500. Crouch wanted to ensure the art was affordable because "Highland is not New York City.”

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“I like when people share their work,” she said. “They do what they do for the love of the art, not for the money.”

Musicians, ranging from recent Highland High School valedictorians to retired Chicago Police Department officers, play at open mic night, which is a welcome alternative to the rowdy bars for many performers, she said. Alternative rock, folk, jazz and country just some of the genres played.

Basically anything and everything, but "no heavy metal," Crouch said.

“Everybody has creativity,” she said. “Come on out and express yourself, and let your inner child out. Let your hair down."

For local musicians, it's part of an open mic night circuit with Paul Henry's in downtown Hammond, the Fox Gallery in Lake Station and the rotating MBOM Miller Beach Open Mic in Gary.

The open mic at One Best Life @ Tinker's Attic starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. It's $5 for admission, which includes a potluck.

“It’s a small income,” he said. “It keeps us going, us creatives."

One Best Life @ Tinker's Attic is open from noon until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from noon until 4 p.m. Saturday. It reopens at 6 p.m. Saturday for the open mic and remains open until 11 p.m. 

For more information, call (219) 301-5096 or find One Best Life @ Tinker’s Attic on Facebook.

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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.