14 vacant buildings coming down in downtown Gary to make way for potential

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”I anticipated and was told by the city of Gary that some of these buildings were scheduled to come down,” she said. “Artists were aware that some of their murals would be ephemeral and temporary. Paint Gary has two programming components: to create murals with a longer impact and permanence and taking blighted properties and beautify them in the interim.”

She hoped that over the past few years the public art got people to appreciate the city’s historic architecture and storied past.

”It’s always sad to see buildings come down, but from what I understand, the demolitions are part of a new renaissance. It is a tragedy that Gary has lost so many buildings and structures. Since the launch of Paint Gary in 2018, the Gary Public Schools Memorial Auditorium erected in 1927 and the 110-year-old Water Tower are no longer standing,” she said.

“What I’ve tried to focus attention on are areas to be saved or highlighted. For example, two Paint Gary bookend murals by artists Nicolas Escalada and Erik Burke shine a light on the Edison houses, which are threatened by a similar future. These structures represent great historical and architectural significance.”

As the wrecking ball makes way for the promise of progress and a fresh start, Pacheco hopes there’s still space for public art in the city.

”Through the generous goodwill and creative contributions Paint Gary has generated a lot of attention for the city of Gary,” she said. “It is my opinion that our city should welcome and embrace the diversity of aesthetics and artists wanting to be helpful in taking part in this urban renaissance or city renewal. I’m incredibly thankful to each artist for their creative contribution and support of the Paint Gary project since its launch in 2018.”



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