Kelly Knaga, Senior Lecturer, Indiana University Northwest
Corey Hagelberg, Visiting Lecturer, Indiana University Northwest
How can we use art and design to create conversations about our community that cultivates opportunity, collaboration, and awareness of community issues and inclusive cultures?
Voices of Gary is an organization that creates spaces in Gary, Indiana for conversations, collaborations, and connections between the community and the university. In 2017, Voices of Gary collaborated with the Gary-based not-for-profit, Calumet Artist Residency for The Poetry Project. Through a series of poetry workshops, local community members and university students learned about the history of poetry in Gary as well as how to write and perform poetry. In following workshops, students took on the role of teacher and taught the community about zines and how to self-publish their work. Through these workshops, students and local community members were also able to contribute to the city-wide poem, a public sculpture that will be installed in the city of Gary in 2018. At the end of 2017, the Voices of Gary zine was born and will publish their first issue in 2018.
In 2018, Voices of Gary will once again collaborate with the Calumet Artist Residency for The Nature Project. This project will build upon the momentum of The Poetry Project by addressing the natural habitats and landscapes found in Gary, Indiana through a series of guided hikes and following workshops that allow participants to respond to their experiences through poetry, design, and publishing. Students will not only create wayfinding materials for the local landscapes. They will develop a series of guides and lead design and self-publishing workshops for the community.
These collaborative projects create ongoing conversations between university students, community members and the landscape they all share. These projects also activate arts and culture that already exists within the Gary community, and help provide spaces for ongoing knowledge shares.