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John Cain

John Cain

A highlight of the 2018 Indiana Dunes Birding Festival is “Dune Birds in Art,” a collection of 2D and 3D work by local and national artists, celebrating the beauty of Indiana’s native birds. The artists will be on hand to talk about their work and provide insight into their inspiration at an opening reception, at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center. The Indiana Dunes Birding Festival is an annual event that showcases the amazing abundance of migratory birds in the Indiana Dunes. With its rich biodiversity, varying habitats and miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the Indiana Dunes is a hot spot for migrant and resident birds, making it the best place for birding that our state has to offer. The exhibit continues through June 15. 219-928-6905 or www.indunesbirdingfestival.com.

The dual insights of Carole Stodder & Tom Brand

Artists Carole Stodder and Tom Brand are Northwest Indiana residents with well-established reputations as contemporary artists working in an abstract manner. See their most recent work at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts in Gary's lakefront Miller neighborhood, May 18 through June 17. This Miller Beach Arts & Creative District exhibit is a large sample of the artists’ work, revealing a dual approach to their creative vision. While working in proximity to one another, theirs is a contrast in vision but not a contradiction — they share an interest in strong composition and form and the fine crafting of their media. In opposing techniques, Brand works in oil on panel while Stodder paints in acrylic on canvas. The scope of their work and the number of pieces on exhibit will make for a rich viewing experience. An opening reception will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. 773-822-8086 or www.millerbeacharts.org

'Parade' an examination of racial tension

Amid religious intolerance, political injustice and racial tension, the tragic, true story of the trial and lynching of a man wrongly accused of murder is brought to theatrical life in this stirring Tony Award-winning exploration of the endurance of love and hope against all odds. With a book by acclaimed playwright Alfred Uhry (“Driving Miss Daisy”) and a rousing score by Jason Robert Brown (“Bridges of Madison County”), “Parade” is a moving examination of the darkest corners of America's history. In 1913, Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jew living in Georgia, is put on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan, a factory worker under his employ. Already guilty in the eyes of everyone around him, a sensationalist publisher and a janitor's false testimony seal Leo's fate. His only defenders are a governor with a conscience and, eventually, his assimilated Southern wife who finds the strength and love to become his greatest champion. May 25 through June 10. 219-926-7875 or www.4thstreetncca.com.

John Cain is the executive director of South Shore Arts and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. He can be reached at (219) 836-1839, ext. 102. The opinions are the writer’s.

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