Purdue Cal adds to growing Hessville art scene


By Joseph S. Pete
Original article here.

Now you can gallery-hop in Hammond’s Hessville neighborhood, which has a burgeoning arts scene.

Purdue University Calumet plans to open a new gallery in February near its South Hammond campus at 6725 Kennedy Ave. The university gallery will share an address with White Ripple Gallery, which first opened in 2012 and has since hosted Second Saturdays, poetry readings and other art events, but it’s in a separate storefront.

Purdue Cal’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Communication and Creative Arts department are working on the gallery, which new aims to give students more opportunities professionally and engage the community.

“It’ll be an important step for the visual communication program because it gives students ongoing opportunities for displaying work and interacting with the community,” said Thomas Roach, Purdue University Calumet Communications and Creative Arts Department Head.

Such a gallery will offer a showcase to students, connect the university to the community and provide learning opportunities to everyone, whether they’re enrolled at Purdue Cal or not.

“It is a stage which can display student’s creative talent and works, accumulate professional experiences and approach the real world,” said Yueqi Zhang, an artist and associate professor at Purdue University Calumet who teaches visual communication design. “The gallery is a window of the department. The community will learn more about who we are and what we do.”

Future events at the gallery could include alumni night and photos from a recent Paris trip.

“They’ll have shows and receptions,” Roach said. “Also we will host shows for local artists to bring the university into closer contact with the arts community.”

Purdue Cal hopes to help revitalize a neighborhood that has suffered from recent closures, including the longstanding Kennedy Theatre and the Region Food & Spirits.

“The Hessville property is ideal because it’s walking distance from campus, and it’s located within an emerging community of small businesses and art venues,” Roach said.