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Gary Nature Project plans hike, planning session

Sam Love, left, and Corey Hagelberg, right, with the Calumet Artist Residency paint a poem on the side of the Heat Light Water Co. building in Gary.

Last year, the Gary Poetry Project conducted workshops across the city, painted poems on boarded-up buildings and gave local poets and spoken word artists the opportunity to spit their verse on a public stage.

This year, the Calumet Artist Residency has shifted its focus from literature to nature. The Miller-based arts nonprofit is planning a year-long Nature Project to remind people of the woods and wilds, lagoons and lakes, prairie and plant life that makes up much of the Steel City, which had been an untamed sportsman's paradise for Chicagoans before the mills were built.

The group is seeking input on what nature-related art projects it should do in the winter and spring.

A planning meeting will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20 in the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence community space on the west side of the second floor at the Anderson Library at Indiana University Northwest, 3400 Broadway.

Then at 1 p.m., the Calumet Artist Residency will embark on a public hike through The Little Calumet River Prairie and Wetlands Preserve at the northwest corner of 33,000 Broadway, which is accessible from the IUN lot north of 33rd Avenue. 

"This 1.5 mile hike along the perimeter of the preserve will use the Little Calumet level trail and return through the northern parking lot at IU Northwest," the Calumet Artist Residency said in a press release. "Learn about the Little Calumet river ecosystem, the human efforts to develop the floodplain, and the resultant consequences. We'll contemplate how Gleason Park and the river factor in the history of racial segregation in Gary. And we'll see the 11-acre preserve lovingly tended for 20 years by biology professor Spencer Cortwright and his students."

For more information or to RSVP, email Calumet Artist Residency Secretary Sam Love at


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.