Voting continues through noon on Sept. 1 on Legacy Foundation’s website at legacyfdn.org.
The challenge, which is supported by the city and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, seeks to create works of art in any of 19 specific public spaces with awards totaling $67,000 and ranging from $25,000 to $3,000.
Individual artists and art groups with a connection to the Steel City submitted entries in July in various categories including open concept, sculpture and mural, specifying which of the public spaces the works of art would enhance. A total of 15 artists or art groups were named finalists in the competition.
Some artists submitted and were selected as finalists in multiple categories, said Kelly Anoe, Legacy Foundation vice president.
“While an artist is allowed to qualify as a finalist in more than one category, no artist can win in more than one category. If the same artist wins the $25,000 award and is also in the top three for $10,000, he/she can only accept one award and the winner will go to the next runner-up in the other award category,” Anoe said.
Each of the finalists was given $300 to put together a full proposal on which the public will vote.
“My approach is history, especially the steel mills with a focus on the steelworker,” Maldonado said about his submission that would be adjacent to the Jackson Five mural if chosen. “My message is how can I contribute to forging this city?”
Lauren M. Pacheto, a Gary resident with an art practice in Chicago, proposed three projects and was named a finalist for two of those projects in both the $25,000 and the $10,000 categories.
Pacheto said her $25,000 “narrative text project” called “My Name; My Font” would invite residents to submit their surnames and to select a type face to be painted on the side of a building on Broadway.
Her project in the $10,000 category is called “Destination Art Gary; Art and Design Park.” Objects collected would be fashioned into art on 1 to 2 acres of vacant land along Sixth Street with an eye to attracting tourism, she said.
“I want to take Gary’s past — its factories, steel companies — and use that, but give my vision for Gary’s future,” Reed said.
Deborah Landry, of Engaging Arts, said her vision is “to do a lot of community projects where people do small parts” and would utilize a $10,000 prize to create a mosaic mural using hundreds of tiles.
“All the tiles are handmade by community members and would be a way to reach out to the community,” Landry said. “This would be a reflection of themselves and very personalized. I want to get people up close, to have a lot of ownership.”
A finalist in the $10,000 category, Ismael Muhammad Nieves of Ish Muhammad Studios, said his art encompasses murals as well as organizing and participating in the Lake Effekt Street Festival in Miller.
This festival is where street art and graffiti artists create “a diverse and inclusive environment where the community is engaged, through participation in the process of revitalization through public art,” he said.
Art selected for the Downtown Gary Public Art Competition must be installed by May 31, 2018.
“We hope these structures serve as a conversation piece and central gathering space for people who may not otherwise come together,” Anoe said.