Tuesday, September 17, 2019

September 14, 2019 Gary Love Fest

I have been a member of the Decay Devils for the past three years. I saw a post by Wayne Thomas Abell that he was painting a mural at Gary's long abandoned Union Station for the Decay Devils. I joined the group that day. The next day I was helping lay bricks and clean up the grounds around Union Station. I had no idea what I was getting into...but I knew right away I wanted to be part of it. This group of photographers, writers, urban explorers and artists have spent the past three years trying to preserve buildings in Gary. This small but dedicated group has turned an abandoned train station into a park space, they have cleaned up Gary's Gateway Park and joined with several organizations to promote Gary with art, murals, preservation tours and historic buildings signage.
Broadway heading into US Steel, Union Station is on the right past the highway

Today, I am in Gary helping setup in Gateway Park and Union Station for the Gary Love Fest. It's a perfect day for an outdoor festival with music, art, food and vendors. I tried to take a few pictures while working the event. 

These murals were painted last year.

The grounds at Union Station. The murals here were also painted last year.

Union Station early in the morning. This new garden was designed and put together by our Art is Life Fellowship interns this summer.

These signs are posted along the Preservation Tour route with information about the buildings or in some cases like this one...what's left of the buildings.

There was a Historical Marker Dedication this morning. I stopped by for a few minutes...

...then headed back to Gateway Park. It was my job to get the vendors and musicians / deejays set up.

City Methodist Church

Some of the artists were painting new murals today.

You can check out this fine organization at https://www.destinationgary.com

The young artists from Art is Life were selling their art.

One of our own, Decay Devil Miki Lansdowne was signing her book "Abandoned Gary, Indiana :Steel Bones". I strongly recommend you purchase this book. It's available at Amazon .

My fellow Decay Devil Andrea Kelly Ledbetter was serving up some damn tasty food.

The Gary Civic Symphony Orchestra

I loved their version of the Game Of Thrones theme song.

Artists working on a building in Gateway Park.

Another Decay Devil, Andre Lamar helping out his friend DJ Big Will.

Live art at Union Station

I'm taking a wild guess that this car belongs to one of the artists here today.

Murals going up on the train track overpass.

I tried to walk by several times to see the work in progress.

Union Station looking might fine today.

DJ Big Will offering up some karaoke and Decay Devil Andre was smoking hot on the mic. 

Decay Devil President Tyrell Anderson with his son, Amare.

Getting on the National Register of Historic Places was a huge accomplishment for the Decay Devils.

Maurice was hesitant to sing at first but he killed it while singing the Fresh Prince of  Bel Air theme song. He also did a lot of the heavy lifting so I didn't have to during our long day of setting up and tearing down a festival. Thank you Maurice.

Amare tearing it up on Lil Nas X "Old Town Road.

Everyone asks me "What do the Decay Devils Do?
Here's your answer.

The Jazzy Ladies Line Dancers performing at Union Station.

These ladies were a lot of fun. They hung out with us for most of the day.

Hopefully this building will be restored to it's former glory someday. Seeing it look this good with a party going on in front of it... I can't help but smile. 

I never caught this inventive musician's name...

...but watching him play these "instruments" makes me believe that he loves Dr. Seuss as much as I do. 

The hockey stick is a nice touch.

These art boards were all painted today in Gateway Park

More murals done on the east side of Gateway Park.

This says Family First but the tree shadow makes it hard to see.

Another artist working on the eastside of Gateway Park.

All these historical building signs are on the wall below the train tracks in Gateway Park near the Gary Land House. 

The Gary Land House. The first building in Gary.

A new art installation in Gateway Park. 

Signs at the entrance to the South Shore Line trains at the Broadway entrance.

I enjoyed seeing the process of painting the murals throughout the day.
This young artist from Valparaiso was excited to be part of this project. He wanted to create art that highlighted the poor condition of this abandoned building. 

A different view using the metal support as a frame.

Seems simple enough to me.

Almost finished...I think.

Before I joined the Decay Devils, I traveled through Gary for work and I took my dogs to Marquette Park. I've always believed that cities like Gary, Detroit, Cleveland, Youngstown and Pittsburgh helped build America into a world power in the 1900's. By the 1980's we abandoned these so called Rust Belt cities. I've been fascinated by what I called "beautiful destruction" in these places for most of my life. Especially when I would take Amtrak from Chicago to NYC in the late 1970's. The train tracks always went past the abandoned sides of these cities and I loved seeing this huge factories even though they were nearing the end of their usefulness to America. I understand there was a huge human toll with the closing of these places. I am not discounting that at all. But I have long been fascinated by decaying sections of our cities. It's nice to be part of the solution now. That is how I view the Decay Devils and their mission to their hometown. I love Gary too. 

One last look at the murals while packing up at the end of the festival.

A big thank you to everyone who joined us today. 

The Decay Devils worked hard to put this festival together...now it's time for some fun...Rage Paint.

Lori making sure Andre gets enough paint on him.

There were a few sneak attacks. 
Everyone seemed to be having fun.

All out of paint?

I guess Tyrell still had some paint.

A fun way to end our day.

Amare after he helped me take the decorations of the main stage.

A few shots long after sunset while cleaning up Gateway Park.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." - all quotes by Dr. Seuss