Gary, Indiana is a Lo Key Gem
There is so much more to Gary,IN than Micheal Jackson. To celebrate their one year anniversary the Square One Culture Gallery kicked off the summer with a block party on Lake Street.
With live music performances, vendors, a “paint corner”, and visual work on display, Square One is cultivating creativity and attracting artists from all over.
“Because we are artists and we are creatives we have the platform to be able to do for others and share it with others who are doing phenomenal work that’s what you should do, not just in Gary but everywhere…” said co-owner JP
JP is 1/3rd of the owners who founded Square One together. The gallery sits on Lake Street in the Miller Beach Neighborhood where JP was raised. In addition to Square One, the Lake Street strip is booming with fresh businesses like Tequila and Tacos which serves gourmet tacos and craft cocktails, and 18th St. Brewery, which is the second largest brewery in NW Indiana.
“This is the beginning of the Miller Beach Arts District. This is the busiest street that makes money and we couldn’t block off the whole street but we blocked off the block for the people so they can come out and show love and honestly that’s saying a lot. As far as businesses in the city of Gary, these businesses are making serious impact,” said JP.
While JP considers himself more of a “visual architect who creates environments with space…”, his partners are working with and booking many of the artists directly.
Erin Sedalia is originally from the west side of Chicago. She spent a good amount of time at the block party as the DJ and also performed alongside her partner Dork, who is the 3rd owner of Square One. Much of her medium involves music.
“I started working with a group of guys who were actually rappers from Gary. We met at a studio in Chicago, I ended up coming out and meeting a group of poets and that’s when they asked me to start hosting their Soul Side Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I met a new artist and [wondered] ‘why do I keep meeting artists and they have no one else to come to but me?’ I’m nobody for you to be coming to but they kept coming to me so [I realized that] obviously I should do something with my platform,” said Sedalia.
She said she really likes the artists she meets who are from Gary but because she is not originally from there she did not quite understand the culture.
“I started dating Dork and he had me move out here and showed me you gotta understand the culture to understand why everyone was so separated in the first place. It’s such a unique city because a lot of the buildings are abandoned so everybody thinks there’s no one out here but the energy is all underground and we want to make it a good enough hub here where artists feel safe to actually do their art and do it authentically”, said Sedalia.
Local radio personality of 1063FM and “GI” native Jade was also raised in the Miller Community and expressed her love for the space and what it’s bringing to Gary. She also said she has always been aware of the talent coming from Gary.
“The talent here is underrated it’s overlooked and it’s something that you can’t understand until you get in it… a lot of times it’s art from things that aren’t ‘supposed’ to be art. We flip things that aren’t that beautiful and we turn it into something that is a concrete rose… we don’t have a lot of resources so the fact that we didn’t have that much and still able to make art from nothing… you know that’s something and that’s Gary in a nutshell,” said Jade.
Saturday Night Live is Saturday session hosted every other weekend with featured artists including music and visual from all over. The space is forever transforming and the vibes are undeniable. Make sure you follow them @squareoneculture and check them out.
“It’s just some niggas that did it honestly that’s what it is, just some cool young niggas that actually believed in this shit and made it happen…”, said JP.