'Go Big or Go Home' exhibit to open at Merrillville gallery

Jesse Johnson and Juanina Johnson opened BESS Art Exposure in Merrillville.

The new BESS Art Exposure gallery in Merrillville is going big with its new "Go Big or Go Home" exhibit.

The gallery in a former Boost Mobile store at 5386 Broadway, near the Gary border, is showcasing the work of John Gutierrez, Kay Michelle, Georgia Fox, Desire’e Simpson, Dylan Rabe amd Brooke Butler, Emily Derek, Ricardo Cortez, John Love, James Lambing, David Arreola, Devante’ Mosby and Jesse Johnson.

"The exhibition is created on the idea of an artist creating their work on a large scale that they, the artist, desire," said Johnson, the owner of the gallery. "You will find the work of art aesthetically pleasing while gravitating towards the work itself. The work that each artist exhibits will have you mesmerized as you question your understanding of the humanity within the artist and why the artist created such pieces."

Go Big or Go Home opened on June 1 and will remain on display through June 28.

An opening reception, in which people can meet some of the artists, will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. June 17.

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Johnson, who's an artist, a professor and a pastor, started the gallery in a strip mall in the hope of giving local artists more exposure. BESS stands for Black Entertainment and Success Stories.

The gallery displays more than 100 pieces, including paintings, sculptures and mixed media installations.

It hosts spoken word and open mic nights from 6  to 9 p.m. Thursdays. It costs $10, $7 for performers or $5 for performers who also bring food for a potluck. 

For more information, call 219-318-3816 or visit bessartexposure.com.

To support the gallery, go to gofundme.com/keeping-the-art-alive.


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.