HERE Issue 010 - Summer 2019

Page 1





Julia Perla Huisman

Brad M. Wolf

Kathryn MacNeil

Margaux Friedman Lindsey Gottschling Jeanine Perla Arty Reyes Ashley Spencer


Abigail Spihlman


Jillian Pancini

Regan Weber

Michelle Cox-Vergara

Teresa Schmidt

Amanda Wilson

Jerry Davich

Amy Sheree

Kelly Wood

Jessica Flores

Carrie Steinweg

Mark Loehrke

Erin Vanni



HERE Magazine 10769 Broadway #320 Crown Point, IN 46307 Instagram, Twitter: @readheremag Facebook, Pinterest: /readheremag © 2019 JPH Publishing, LLC






How the Maker Movement has revitalized a once dying art form

Artists bring a neighborhood back to life




Three recipes to make your own ice cream

Americana captured at dusk





Entrepreneur builds business while lifting up local small businesses

Automotive shop meets artistic hub at Drivers’ Gallery


Local groups offer entrepreneurs an inspiring community of like-minded people





Summer happenings around Northwest Indiana

Local farmers markets encourage healthy eating and a strong sense of community


Explore Southwest Michigan Wine Country

T H E I D EA B O O K 32




How a DIY blogger turned her passion into a business and a book

Personal trainer Whitney Hagarbome assures that working out doesn’t have to be a stressful experience


Broadening horizons and finding peace through meditation


Digital illustration by Brad M. Wolf


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FROM T HE E D I TOR I have been in magazine publishing for a long time and every year, producing the summertime issue is always a blast. Just as the Midwest seems to come alive during the warmer months, so too does my creativity (and that of our writers and photographers), and an abundance of dynamic content follows suit. I mean, in this issue alone we explore the delights of ice cream, vineyards, farmers markets and fireworks. Doesn’t seeing those words just make you happy? And don’t get me started on the fabulous cover image of an inner tube in glorious blue pool water. That was dreamed up and digitally illustrated by our creative director, Brad Wolf. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to put on my suit, grab a book and a margarita, and head to the pool. Our season of paradise has finally arrived. Something else that makes me happy is the community that is starting to form as a result of (or at least a nudge from) HERE magazine. In May, I attended the Hunt & Gather market and ran into Teresa Schmidt, one of my photographers, and Abigail Michelle, who modeled for us in our March/April 2018 issue. Teresa was not the photographer of that shoot, but here she and Abigail were, attending Hunt & Gather together as friends. “Wait,” I said after it dawned on me that they came together. “How do you two know each other?” “We met at the HERE anniversary party!” Teresa said. This was music to my ears, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard of people connecting through the magazine. This is not a result of my own doing but of the doers in this community. Our readers, like everyone else, are seeking connection, and instead of sitting back and waiting for it to magically happen, they are taking the initiative. They see someone in the magazine whose work they admire and reach out to collaborate with them, or after meeting someone at a HERE event they exchange numbers and go to lunch together. I’ve never met a more welcoming group of people, and I’m proud that HERE has helped bring them together. If you’ve been wanting to connect with someone you’ve come to know on our pages, I strongly encourage you to do so. It’s not as scary as you might think. We are hosting some events this summer that might help foster those connections. On July 20, we’re partnering with local artists and breweries for our DIY HERE Craft + Beer event, where you can learn from artists how to make their products, and enjoy some great craft beer in the process. We’ll also be hosting dinner parties at various locations this summer. Follow us on social media to learn more about these events. I hope to see you there. Enjoy every moment of your summer, and make the most of every opportunity to build your own community. I promise it will only enrich your life. Julia Perla Huisman Editor and Publisher


POSI T IV E LY V IN TAG E How Nina Carter started her own business while lifting up other small businesses by Amanda Wilson Photography by Michelle Cox-Vergara I don’t speak girl language when it comes to shopping. To me, a girl’s outing to the local shopping mall sounds as delightful as a root canal. But there is something magical about pop-up markets that transcends an introvert’s inherent shopping dread…especially when that introvert finds a booth that feels like home.

Nina Carter is the founder of Strawberry Road, a vintage decor brand.


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I met Nina Carter while I was shopping for Christmas presents at last December’s Hunt & Gather Market at the Lake County Fairgrounds. Her sincere, vivacious enthusiasm welcomed me into a market filled with vintage treasures. Looking around her booth brought back memories of childhood, and I bought a green-glass Santa cup for my mom that went perfectly with the glassware she’s collected for decades. Nina Carter’s Strawberry Road vintage style is not available in any big-box store. As I discovered that December afternoon, the magic lies in the emotions and memories the pieces evoke—a magic Carter is perfectly suited to curate. It was a pleasure to talk to her about her entrepreneurial adventure.

How did Strawberry Road begin?

I grew up antiquing, so it was ingrained in me. My grandparents and mom loved antiques, and antiquing was always a part of our family vacations, but it took me a long time to find my own style. I started hunting vintage at the end of 2017, which gave me a better eye for it. I realized that I wanted to start incorporating vintage into the decor of our home. I also knew that the clock was ticking for my youngest son, Oliver, to start full-day kindergarten the following year. I wanted to do something flexible that worked with my family’s schedule and that didn’t involve punching a time clock. I wanted to do something that I created that maximized my eye for home decor and passion for small business. One day, I ran into my friend and local entrepreneur Katie Sannito, the Gourmet Goddess. She encouraged me to go to Found & Shared, an entrepreneurial workshop put on by the Fetching Market. I left the workshop in tears, motivated and convicted because I knew what I wanted to do. I started slow, because I wanted to do this debt-free without spending my personal money. I spent six months raising money by finding things of good value to resell at a profit. My first pop-up market was in May 2018. After purchasing a tent, a new dress, and a booth full of items, I had $13 remaining in my business checking account. My hands were shaking throughout the duration of the market, but it was a phenomenal success.

What surprised you about selling vintage? I thought I’d find people who were into vintage and recycling, people who wanted unique items for their homes that you couldn’t buy at Target. I didn’t realize nostalgia would be such a huge part of it. At that first market, that’s what really convinced me that I was meant to do this. It wasn’t so much about the money, but about the people who wanted to meet me and their excitement about vintage. There were so many emotional conversations with customers about the childhood memories brought up by the pieces I had for sale. I love pop-up markets. They’re all magical in their own way, mainly because of customers sharing their memories with me.

How is Strawberry Road evolving, and how is your newly launched online vintage shop part of that? I’m changing direction so that I’m more about selling items that I would use in my home, and, having my booth match my Instagram feed. I truly want to have a feeling for everything I’m selling. I want it all to be specially curated by me. My online shop features small, vintage, home decor items. Customers can choose to have items shipped directly to them, or customers that are local also have the option of picking up ordered items the next day at Toluka Paperie + Gifts in Munster. The owner, my friend Tonya, uses many of my items in her shop as displays. My items in her shop are also available for purchase. Selling online makes me nervous in a good way. Doing pop-up markets is face-to-face interaction. With the Internet, I’m putting myself out there in a different way.


How have you grown as a creative and entrepreneur since launching Strawberry Road? My favorite part of the journey is that I keep taking on things that make me nervous, things that are outside of my comfort zone. Things like the live video I did for HERE magazine, which meant I was speaking to a different audience, and every pop-up market I’m part of. I’ve discovered that you need to do things that make you nervous. If I’d stayed in my comfort zone, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s important to me that I use my platform for good, to spread positivity and kindness, and to support and build up other small businesses. Social media is a full-time job in and of itself, creating content and engaging with followers. How is someone who runs a store supposed to keep up with that? So many small business owners who work so hard don’t have time to share the heart and soul that goes into what they do. I like to get the word out about what a difference people are making when they support small businesses.

What advice would you give to fellow creatives and entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses? I encourage self-pep talks. I’m usually at a market by myself, so I prepare by sitting in my car and internally building myself up. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are in it with you. You need to surround yourself with people who lift you up and hold you accountable. I have an amazing core group of women that I meet with regularly. We share our goals and follow up with each other on those goals.

How does your family support you? My husband Aaron completely supports me in everything. It makes me cry just thinking about it. He takes my Instagram photos and helps me tear down and load up after markets. He’ll often bring the boys along to market. We’ll all wrap up and put things in totes. He’s watched me slowly build this dream. I’ve found a passion outside of being a mom which has added a new spark. We’ve both grown and become better partners to each other throughout this last year and a half.

Carter uses family heirlooms such as the large basket on the basket collage (left) and vintage finds like the Cosco cart in the kitchen (right) in her own home decor.


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AUTOS AND ARTISTRY Automotive shop meets artistic hub at Drivers’ Gallery WO R DS Je rr y Davi ch

Jon Shelton and Richy Contreras both chuckled when recalling how they awkwardly met at a dinner party, yet how they smoothly cruised into a casual conversation about one of their lifelong passions—cars. , Contreras drives a 92 Nissan Laurel and a , classic “restomod” 77 Datsun 280Z, meaning it was restored with modifications. Shelton drives a 2013 Audi Allroad and a 1981 Volkswagen Caddy Pickup. Their conversation started in late 2015, continuing for two years until they set the wheels in motion for a high-octane idea—a “lifestyle hub” named Drivers’ Gallery. In 2017, they put a wrench to their idea and on May 26, 2018, they celebrated its grand opening.

P HOTOS Brad M. Wo lf

“We describe it as an automotive boutique,” says Shelton, 36, while he and Contreras offer a tour of the cleverly designed shop. Located at the modish intersection of Autos and Artistry, the Valparaiso business idles with a laid-back West Coast vibe. The smartly conceived 1,500-square-foot space is adorned with edgy art images, an upstairs loft for socializing, niche-minded car care items, and personalized services for any type of vehicle or motorcycle. “Pretty much anything involving styling or modification,” says Contreras, 26, who was raised in Chicago and now lives in Portage.

Richy Contreras and Jon Shelton opened Drivers’ Gallery, an automotive boutique in Valparaiso.


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“After-market suspension work, fabrication work, wheels and tires, motorcycle rebuilding, you name it,” says Shelton, a father of two from Valparaiso. Their modified shop features vehicle styling, cutting-edge artwork, branded clothing, personal photography, and other cultural-lifestyle ideologies. Here, design meets society meets machines, all under one roof which will soon be expanded to an adjacent space. The shop already hosts “Cars and Coffee” events, partnering with Dagger Mountain Roastery, located just a couple doors down in a tucked-away executive park off Silhavy Road. It houses many of the typical automotive tools seen at traditional shops—a heavy-duty vehicle lift, compressor, sandblaster, and wheel balancer machine—yet how many of those old-fashioned car repair shops also host social gatherings, pop-up events, and casual chatter about fine art? “We want Drivers’ Gallery to offer an inclusiveness that customers couldn’t find elsewhere,” says Contreras, a professional painter and photographer who earned a fine arts degree from Indiana University Northwest. Jake Lewis, a Drivers’ Gallery customer, walked into the shop asking Shelton and Contreras to rebuild his vehicle’s wheels, install suspension, and balance its wheels. “I know the owners are big car enthusiasts themselves, and I thought there is no better place to go than somewhere where the owners love cars and their community,” Lewis says. “I am completely


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worry free, knowing that my car and very expensive wheels were in great hands.” The shop welcomes all drivers, from motor heads to art aficionados to coffee lovers to casual motorists. Drivers’ Gallery prides itself on offering a hyperattentiveness to detail and style without neglecting the personal connections with customers. “We care about every vehicle, every service job, and every customer’s satisfaction of our work,” says Shelton, whose father was a graphic designer by trade, a car enthusiast by heart. Contreras’s father was a mechanic, so he also grew up with cars not only in his garage and on his driveway, but in his head. Contreras does all the marketing work for Drivers’ Gallery, including the use of Digital Age social media sites to spread their Industrial Age word of mouth advertising strategy. Shelton, a professional homebuilder with countless construction skills, can seemingly do everything except use Twitter. “That’s Richy’s thing,” Shelton jokes, while showing off the shop’s aesthetically dynamic and surprisingly clean workplace. Drivers’ Gallery is more of a social movement on wheels, showcasing local artists and a new way to stylize and modify vehicles without driving home outdated stereotypes about car mechanics. Shelton and Contreras can thank their better halves for making it all happen. It was the parents of Shelton’s wife, Jessica, and her sister, Katie Price, who is coincidentally Contreras’s future wife, who hosted that initial party back in 2013.

FI ND I T HE RE Drivers’ Gallery 3205 Cascade Dr, Valparaiso @driversgallery Watch a video of Richy Contreras’s classic , “restomod” 77 Datsun 280Z at

CREATIVE CONNECTIONS Local groups offer entrepreneurs an inspiring community of like-minded people WO R DS Ke l l y Wo o d

P HOTOS Tue sdays Toget he r | Te re sa Schmidt Found and Share d | H oney Shea Photography The Colle ct ive | Tay lor Richardson Photography

As a creative entrepreneur, we personally fill every role in our businesses: production, marketing, shipping, accounting, customer service, and so on. It can, and will, be overwhelming at times. Through shared experiences, entrepreneurial communities help ease the burden. Todd Underwood, graphic designer and owner of NoCodeStudios, is a member of such a community that meets in the LaPorte area. “The real benefit is the shared knowledge,” he says. “We get to be a service to one another. Each member wants the others to succeed.” NWI hosts multiple creative networking groups, each with its own style and focus. From casual get-togethers to more formal environments, sharing and networking within the groups provides motivation along with help.


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T UES DAYS TOGETHER – RI SI NG TI DE Toni Jongkind, owner of Toni J Photography, started a local chapter of the national organization Rising Tide. Topics are provided by Rising Tide, but the true comradery comes from the discussions that follow. Toni says she “poses the questions and then listens as everyone’s minds go. Every member has something to contribute.” Tuesdays Together – LaPorte meets the second Tuesday of every month. The meetings are casual, taking place in members’ homes, local restaurants, and even the beach during the warmer months. Find more information on the group on Facebook at Tuesdays Together – La Porte, IN.

F OU ND AND SHA RED Pamela Dennis, founder of Fetching Market, started Found and Shared after hearing from market vendors of the need for a collaborative community. According to Dennis, Found and Shared is a place “to come together to network and learn how to make [participants’] lives the best they can be in life and business.” Found and Shared offers workshops and an online community for creatives and other entrepreneurs to meet and collaborate. “It’s truly an inspiration to listen to others and learn through their experiences and to find out that we are not alone in our challenges,” Dennis says. Join the community on Facebook (search Found & Shared Tribe) or learn more about the workshops at


T HE CO LLECT IVE Entrepreneurs Mandy Krickhahn of the SpOiled Housewife and Gabrielle Pazour of Aster + Gray launched the Collective in January. “Our goal is to educate our members through workshops, support entrepreneurs by providing a positive, uplifting environment and help facilitate connections between our members that will be beneficial,” Krickhahn says. The Collective hosts workshops and networking events, along with a Facebook group for sharing. “We’re very inclusive,” Krickhahn says. “The main requirement we have is that our members are entrepreneurs or are entrepreneurial-minded.” For more information and an application to join, check out their website at

Entrepreneurial communities are more than just like-minded individuals coming together. They are friends, a tribe, a band of brothers out to conquer their little corners of creativity. Groups like Tuesdays Together, Found and Shared, and the Collective have brought driven individuals together. Writers, photographers, food bloggers, shop owners, and more unite to share experiences, wins, struggles, and failures. Kenzie Covarrubias, owner of Etsy shop Alice and Josie, says of the Tuesdays Together group, “Every single time, I have walked away having learned so much and energized about my business all over again.�



What’s Happening around Northwest Indiana

| Compiled by Ashley Boyer

JUNE 1 Highland Downtown Car Cruise 1-5pm, Highway Ave downtown Highland Afternoon of classic cars with fun for the whole family.

JUNE 8 Get Outdoors Day Open House 11am-3pm, Dunes Learning Center, 700 Howe Rd Chesterton A full day of outdoor exploration. Includes a hike led by expert naturalists, geocaching, live music, crafts, nature play and more. Pre-registration requested.

JUNE 1 Jammin with Save the Dunes 4-10pm, Washington Park, 115 Lake Shore Dr Michigan City Performances by Waco Brothers, the Blisters, Steal the Farm and more, plus kids’ activities, local grub, craft beer and wine. JUNE 2-AUG 25 Miller Beach Farmers Market 11am-3pm Sun, Miller Beach Arts & Creative District 667 S Lake St, Gary Weekly market featuring organic produce, baked goods, jewelry and crafts, flowers and plants, honey and jams, poultry and eggs, cheeses and live music.

JUNE 8-9 Homewood Artisan Street Fair 4-9pm Fri, 10am-6pm Sat, Martin Ave Homewood One-of-a-kind artisans, handmade goods, upcycled and vintage items.

JUNE 7 Beaux Arts Ball 6pm, Center for Visual and Performing Arts 1040 Ridge Rd, Munster Black-tie fundraiser with cocktails, dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions, and music by the unPROFESSIONALS.

JUNE 15 Eat, Shop & Rock Sidewalk Sale & Fest 11am-7pm, 5630 Hohman Ave Hammond Music by the Chris and Lou Band and the Starving Artists sets the mood for this celebration of the ’60s, ’70s and the Beatles. Plus, vendors, food and more.

JUNE 7-8 Corn Roast 4-11pm Fri, noon-11pm Sat, Bulldog Park, 183 S West St Crown Point Old-fashioned street celebration with food, a beer garden, live music, a kids’ zone and, of course, roasted corn.

JUNE 15 Rockopelli Fest 2-11pm, Central Park Griffith Full-day music event spotlighting local talent, food vendors, specialty art and craft vendors and craft brews, benefiting Planting Possibilities and Murph’s Gift of Music.

JUNE 7-8 Live in the Ville 4-10pm Fri, 11am-10pm Sat, 6831 & 6635 Kennedy Ave Hammond Fun for all ages with live music by local bands, food trucks and an arts, crafts and beer tent. JUNE 8 Dog-A-Palooza 5-10pm, Fair Oaks Farms, 856 N 600 E Fair Oaks Free entertainment by local K9 units, an amateur dog contest and unleashed excitement in the dog park. Dogs welcome.


JUNE 8 Lakeshore PAWS Pup Crawl 5-10pm, Central Park Plaza, 68 Lafayette St Valparaiso Dog walk, live music by the Crawpuppies, beer and wine tent, local food and pet vendors, and pets available for adoption. Proceeds benefit Lakeshore PAWS.

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JUNE 21-23, JULY 5-7, 26-28, AUG 23-25, AUG 30-SEPT 2 Blue Moon Vintage Market 10am-5pm, Blue Moon Vintage Market, 16860 Three Oaks Rd Three Oaks, Mich. 6,000+ square feet of vintage, primitives, industrial, architectural, home decor and more. JUNE 22 Midsummer Ball 6-9pm, Barker Mansion, 631 Washington St Michigan City Food, drink and music in the garden with a 1920s theme. Costumes strongly encouraged.

JUNE 22 Mimosa Crawl and Artisan Market 10am-4pm, Aster + Gray, 20 Indiana Ave Valparaiso Visit participating shops for mimosas and refreshments and enjoy shopping at an artisan market on Franklin and Indiana Avenue. JUNE 23 NWI Food Truck Fest 11am-9pm, Central Park Plaza, 68 Lafayette St Valparaiso Now in downtown Valparaiso with food trucks, family entertainment, live music, craft and artisan vendors, and a beer and wine garden. JUNE 29 ArtBash 2019: Paint the Town 5:30pm, Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa, 777 Blue Chip Dr Michigan City Annual fundraiser with cocktails, a buffet, a silent auction, dancing and more, emceed by NBC 5 News Chicago political reporter Mary Ann Bergerson Ahern. Proceeds benefit Lubeznik Center for the Arts art programs and exhibits.




JUNE 29 Valparaiso/Porter County Garden Walk 9am-4pm Valparaiso A tour of a selection of beautiful local gardens sponsored by Porter County Master Gardeners Association and Purdue Extension Master Gardeners. JUNE 29-30 Valparaiso Art Festival 10am-5pm Valparaiso Showcasing the talents of more than 80 juried artists and artisans from across the nation. JULY 3 Red Wine and Brew 4-10pm, Stone Lake Beach LaPorte Beer, bands and BBQ fest headlined by Rodney Atkins and performances by Dillon Carmichael and Tenille Arts. JULY 11-AUG 11 Over the Tavern Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Rd Munster Set in the 1950s, the Pazinski family, who live in a tiny apartment above the neighborhood bar they run, face the real and often comical struggles of life in this funny and touching semi-autobiographical play by Tom Dudzick. JULY 12 Three Little Birds Market 5-10pm, The Market, 2405 E Morthland Dr Valparaiso One-of-a-kind, handmade, upcycled vendors, as well as food, live music and drinks at the bar.



JULY 13 Sand Sculpture Contest Indiana Dunes State Park, 1600 N 25 E Chesterton Enter to win or watch for fun. JULY 17-21 Festival of the Lakes Wolf Lake Memorial Park Hammond Five nights of fun include rides, live entertainment, a Polka Party, a fishing derby, vendors and games. Performances by The Roots, Nelly, 3 Doors Down, Bad Company and more. JULY 20 DIY HERE Craft + Beer noon, 220 S Main St Crown Point Learn from local artists to create beer-related take-home goods, and taste new local craft beers being unveiled that day. JULY 26-28 Pierogi Fest 119th St Whiting The wacky Polka Parade kicks off this annual celebration of all things pierogi, featuring Mr. Pierogi and friends, food and arts and crafts vendors, a beer garden, games and entertainment. JULY 27 Gatsby at the Gardens 6-9pm, Friendship Botanic Gardens, 2055 E US Hwy 12 Michigan City A speakeasy evening set in the 1920s with giggle water, bocce and badminton, live jazz and dancing in the garden. AUG 3 Valpo Corn Roast Fest 5-10pm, Central Park Plaza, 68 Lafayette St Valparaiso 4th annual outdoor fest featuring live concerts, food trucks, a beer and wine tent and all the fresh locally grown roasted corn you can eat. AUG 3-4 Chesterton Art Fair 10am-5pm Sat, 10am-4pm Sun, Dogwood Park 1100 N and 23rd St Chesterton Regional juried art fair showcasing more than 90 artists. Plus, food, music and kids’ booths. AUG 4 Hot Air Balloon Fest noon-9pm, Sunset Hill Farm County Park, 775 Meridian Rd Valparaiso Experience hot air balloons up close, plus food trucks, live music, family-friendly entertainment, vendors and a beer and wine garden.

AUG 9-10 Touch of Dutch Festival 5-9pm Fri, 9am-9pm Sat, Spencer Park, 112 Carnation St SE DeMotte Family-fun event featuring live entertainment, craft and food vendors, kids’ entertainment, a parade, giveaways, a 5K run and fitness walk and more. AUG 9-11 Ship & Shore Festival N Whittaker St New Buffalo, MI Annual beach-town festival bringing live music to the lakefront. AUG 10 Last Call for Summer 3-8pm, Main Square Park, 3001 Ridge Rd Highland Afternoon of performances by local musicians, food from Highland restaurants and a craft beer garden. AUG 15-18 Hobart Lakefront Festival Festival Park, 111 E Old Ridge Rd Hobart Bands, a beer garden, inflatable slides and obstacle courses for kids, and arts and crafts vendors bring four days of fun to the lakefront. AUG 17 Prairie Magic Music Fest 1-7pm, Sunset Hill Farm County Park, 775 Meridian Rd Valparaiso A celebration of rock, bluegrass, folk and Americana music, complete with craft food and beer vendors. Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Los Lobos to headline. AUG 17-18 Lubeznik Arts Festival 10am-5pm, Lubeznik Center for the Arts, 101 W 2nd St Michigan City Annual art fest with fine art, interactive family activities and food on the center grounds. AUG 24 Babapaloosa noon-10pm, Sunset Hill Farm County Park, 775 Meridian Rd Valparaiso All-day music festival to benefit the See Change Foundation and the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club. AUG 24 Food Truck Fest 3-9pm, Wicker Memorial Park, 8554 Indianapolis Blvd Highland Inaugural food truck fest with a beer garden and live bands. AUG 31 Taste of Duneland 10am-10pm, Thomas Centennial Park Chesterton A celebration of summer including the European Market, bouncy houses, live entertainment, dancing, kids’ activities and a beer and wine garden.


Local farmers markets encourage healthy eating and a strong sense of community Wo rds by Er i n Va nni


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Illu stration by Jessica Fl ore s

Imagine a world where you only had one local store to choose your fresh produce from. Except, upon arriving at the store, bins are empty, leaving behind a limited selection of scrappy produce. Instead of moving on to the next store, going without was the only option. Some of us have lived in that world, while others may never experience what that experience is like. Over time, a new opportunity of purchasing fresh produce in bulk at a lower cost emerged for local communities. An organized weekly event bringing local farmers together to sell their crops soon became a community’s main resource for fresh produce. People would rely on these markets out of necessity to better maintain a healthy diet. Later, these weekly gatherings would become known as what we still refer to today as farmers markets. In Northwest Indiana, farmers markets still cater to strengthening local food systems, but have evolved into a trendier retail destination for market goers. Beginning in mid-late May and lasting through early October, this seasonal event is highly anticipated among communities today. Area farmers markets have had no problem with sticking to their original roots. Local farmers continue to directly market their products to consumers. In turn, patrons get a side of education with the produce they buy—where it came from, the main sources of nutrients it will provide, storage tips, and new ways to cook their produce with shared recipes from farmers themselves. Farmers markets provide a deeply rooted connection to our food systems that one could not find in the nearest grocery store, or by purchasing produce from online markets.


Another growing feature for farmers markets over the last several years has been the acceptance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits. Extending this feature at area markets has increased accessibility to healthy food options for everyone and added to the value that these markets serve to our local communities. Aside from being the best-known source of local fresh produce, farmers markets have grown in size over the years. Most markets now welcome a variety of vendors, further adding to the local economic growth of each community. A single market can include up to 60 or more vendors each week, each selling locally made, farm fresh produce, baked goods, arts and crafts, artisan goods, and homemade products. At almost every market you will find local food trucks sharing hearty food selections, local bands playing live music, and even engaging activities for children to participate in. For most, farmers markets have become a weekly ritual to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For some, they have become part of their social agenda. And for others, they are a way to immerse oneself in the local culture of their beloved community. Farmers markets have become the heart of communities and continue to play a vital role in promoting food systems, sustaining the local economy, and improving the quality of life for the people of Northwest Indiana.


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Here is just a sampling of some of the farmers markets in the area. Chesterton European Market Broadway and Third St next to Thomas Centennial Park Every Sat from 8am-2pm Crown Point Bulldog Park Every Wed from 4-8pm Every Sat from 8am-1pm Homewood Martin Ave between Ridge Rd and Chestnut Rd Every Sat from 8am-1pm Every Wed from 4-9pm

LaPorte Lincolnway Ave and Monroe St Every Sat from 8am-1pm Munster Community Park—Lion Club Shelter Area Every Tue from 3-8pm New Buffalo Downtown New Buffalo, Michigan Every Thu from 4-8pm Valparaiso William E. Urschel Pavilion Central Park Plaza 63 Lafayette St Every Tue and Sat from 8am-2pm



Explore Southwest Michigan Wine Country Wo rds by Ca r r ie Ste inweg


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Cu t Paper Illu stration by Drew an d As h l ey

Looking to spend a leisurely day or a relaxing weekend in wine country? There’s no need to hop on a plane and head to the West Coast. The Midwest has its own stunning wine country just begging to be explored. As you sip on a glass of cabernet sauvignon, gazing out on lush green landscapes and rolling hills with sunlight glistening off of ripening grapes, it may feel more like you’re in Napa or France than in Michigan. Yes, it’s that beautiful. From pinot noirs to chardonnays to sweet fruit wines, there are many varieties that you can drink along this trail—perfect for wine lovers in the Southwest corner of the mitten state. In 2001, a group of winery owners came together to market the Southwest Michigan wineries as a tourism attraction, and in 2005 the collaborative effort became the “Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.” The trail comprises eighteen wineries located in the Lake Michigan Shore American Viticultural Area that weave in and out of beachfront towns and fertile countryside. In fact, 90 percent of the state’s wineries are confined within this region. “The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is definitely a getaway destination and certainly a wine destination. This area is perfect for growing wine grapes as well as all the other fruit grown here because of the lake effect,” says Kathy Sturm, executive director of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail. “For those in Northwest Indiana, it’s close enough you can come for the day. Depending on where you are, it could be as short as a half hour to about two hours at most to get into the trail area. It makes for a very nice time for wine tasting. Each winery has their own unique culture. Each visit is a different experience and you’re going to be tasting many different wines. Each different palate can be satisfied on a visit on the Wine Trail.” Sturm notes that the upcoming wine festival on June 15 is the perfect time for an overnighter to Michigan’s wine country. “The wine festival is coming up and we strongly encourage people to come for the weekend,” she says. “It starts at 1 p.m. and ends at 9. A few of the other wineries have additional events going on the Sunday after the wine festival. It will give those staying over an opportunity to visit the wineries. They aren’t able to purchase bottles at the festival, but they can then go to the wineries to get bottles or cases of their favorites to take home and continue the wine-tasting experience.”


L AKE MICHIGAN SHORE WINE TRAIL Northern Wineries Cogdal Vineyards, South Haven Fenn Valley Vineyards, Fennville Central Wineries 12 Corners Vineyards and Winery, Benton Harbor Contessa Wine Cellars, Coloma Karma Vista Vineyards, Coloma Lazy Ballerina Winery, St. Joseph Vineyard 2121, Benton Harbor White Pine Winery, St. Joseph Eastern Wineries Cody Kresta Vineyard and Winery, Mattawan Lawton Ridge Winery, Kalamazoo St. Julian Winery and Distillery, Paw Paw Warner Vineyards, Paw Paw Southern Wineries Baroda Founders Wine Cellar, St. Joseph Domaine Berrien Cellars, Berrien Springs Gravity Vineyards and Winery, Baroda Hickory Creek Winery, Buchanan Lake Michigan Vintners, Baroda Lemon Creek Winery, Berrien Springs For information on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, visit The site includes a map of the region with wineries marked.

OTHER SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN WINERIES/AT TRACTIONS Dablon Vineyards Winery and Tasting Room, Baroda Free Run Cellars, Berrien Springs Grape and Grain Tours, Bridgman Moonrise, Watervliet Red Top Winery, Baroda Round Barn Winery, Baroda Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant, Buchanan JUNE 15 14th Annual Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival 1-9pm, Warren Dunes State Park, Sawyer Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and include live entertainment, five tasting tickets and a souvenir wine glass. Tastings start at 1 ticket and additional tickets can be purchased at $1 each. There is a parking fee for the state park.

This piece was created by Drew and Ashley, an artist duo from Valparaiso specializing in hand-cut paper environments, pets, landscapes, and illustrations of all things automotive. While educating kids about art by day, they like spending their weekends making art, participating in art festivals, and s pending time with their French bulldog, Penny. You can see more of their artwork online at and on Instagram at @drewandashleyart, or email them at


DON’ T WO R RY, B E H E ALT H Y Personal trainer Whitney Hagarbome assures that working out doesn’t have to be a stressful experience Wo rds by W hi tney H a ga r b o m e | P h oto s by Te re sa S c h m id t

When it comes to health and fitness, there are continued advances in science, equipment, food and marketing that are leaving us overwhelmed with more details and choices than ever before. Sometimes all those details can hold us back from ever starting at all, for fear that we’re doing exercises wrong or wasting our time. Exercise is supposed to help you relieve the stress in your life, not create more. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just go outside this summer, be active, and feel good about it? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list of recommendations that actually made exercise feel simpler? Well, it’s your lucky day! Throughout my years trying to balance being a personal trainer, a mother and an entrepreneur, I have learned that the only health and fitness plan that will make a lasting difference in your life is the one you’re actually going to follow. So how do we stick to the plan? The trick is finding a plan that makes sense to you and feels manageable for your lifestyle. I’m not saying you can skip the hard work (you can’t), but steer clear of rules that stress you out or confuse you. Getting healthy should be a positive experience, so I have put together a whole list of things that you don’t need to worry about as you head outside to get fit this summer.


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D ON’ T WORRY A B OUT: A Gym Membership

Summer is a huge opportunity to get your fitness on for free if you’re looking to save a few dollars. Last time I checked, monthly rates are pretty good at your local sidewalk, neighborhood park or sledding hill. Let’s also highlight the positive benefits outdoor exercise provides, such as a boost of vitamin D, improving your immune system, and even raising those feel-good hormones that can help fight depression. Let’s get outside!

Becoming a Runner

Race season is in full effect and it can feel like everywhere you turn someone is sharing a 5K photo. That’s awesome, but if running still terrifies you, be comforted in knowing that you can still get great benefits like increasing bone density, improving posture and strength, and yes, burning fat, with other weight-bearing exercises. That being said, I do think it’s worth mentioning that even if you have never been a runner, and kind of hate it, but secretly wish that one day you could have your own 5K photo—you can. That was me. I hated running, but I just started one day with a determined mindset and have gone on to successfully complete two half-marathons. It grows on you. Be brave. Start somewhere; or call me.



You don’t need all of the fancy bells and whistles to burn calories and get a great workout. Your body is a pretty awesome tool that can provide a ton of options all on its own. If you aren’t sure where to start, find a source you trust on YouTube and search their channel for body-weight workouts. Resistance bands are a great addition for outdoor workouts since they are easy to take on-the-go, but keep your eyes open to let your environment inspire your workout. Got a bench, stairs or hill nearby? Use them in your workout to keep things interesting and challenge your new strengths. I have lots of workout examples on

Doing Everything at Once

You don’t have to be running hill sprints and rocking Saturday boot camp class right out of the gate. There are a million ways to start getting active outdoors and get the ball rolling so you can work your way up into a more athletic lifestyle without injuries along the way. Yes, there will be a time in your progression where you can learn about advanced techniques and increasing the proprioceptive challenge of your workouts, but the most important detail is just that you get started in a way that is manageable for where you are today. Start with something that doesn’t seem intimidating, like taking the dog for a longer, faster walk, exploring a new trail, or playing on the playground with your kids. It really is that simple.


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Whitney Hagarbome of Crown Point has coached people to success in fitness, business and their personal goals through one-on-one training, speaking events and online programs. When she’s not talking goals, Whitney is by her husband’s side leading their business (Innovative Energy), chaperoning her kids’ field trips, or braiding her Highland cattle’s hair. No seriously, she doesn’t sit down. Start on your own success at or find @fit_mama_whit on Instagram.

HUST LE LIK E A G IR L How a DIY blogger turned her passion into a business and a book Wo rds by Jul i a Pe r la H u is m a n | P h oto s by Je n Cr id e r

Jen Crider of Valparaiso is a blogger and author who shares simple tips for furniture rehabbing.


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Jen Crider’s foray into the creative arts has a story arc that is familiar but not often fully lived out. Her artistic side developed in her childhood, when she discovered a love for art and writing. As is often the case on the journey to adulthood, however, she got away from those activities while studying business in college and then pursuing a corporate career.

That could have been the end to Crider’s creative endeavors, a side of her forever relegated solely to her childhood. But it was in birthing her own children that reminded her of her former passions, and she became determined to quit her job so she could spend time at home with her kids and also explore her artistic path once again.


“It took me a few months to rediscover those old creative passions, and thanks to Pinterest there was a world of inspiration at my fingertips,” says Crider, who lives in Valparaiso with her husband Scott and their three sons. That inspiration led her to begin rehabbing furniture. “I started following a few DIY blogs and bought my first project piece—a big TV armoire that I added shelves in and converted to extra clothing storage.” More projects followed, and


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Crider eventually revisited her love for writing by starting a blog “to journal my projects and inspire and teach others,” she says. She named the blog Girl in the Garage, for obvious reasons—the garage is where she works on her furniture. “It’s also kind of a juxtaposition because a lot of people assume that a garage is more of a ‘man’s place’ but times are changing,” Crider says.

“I know quite a few female furniture refinishers and woodworkers that have their own workshops and impressive power tool collections.” (She is quick to acknowledge, however, that her husband sometimes helps her with her projects, and she refers to him as “Guy in the Garage” on her blog.) Crider now has seven years of upcycled furniture and home decor projects on the blog, and she sells

her pieces at Antiques on Main in Crown Point and local vendor markets. She also has an online course to teach people how to turn their DIY hobby into a creative business. Last year, Crider’s diligence with her furniture, blog and online marketing paid off, as she caught the attention of a publishing company looking to produce a book with her. “They had found my blog via my


projects on Pinterest,” she says. “We had an initial phone call and I did a couple of sample projects, and a couple months later we had an official contract.” The book is called Amazing Furniture Makeovers: Easy DIY Projects to Transform Thrifted Finds into Beautiful Custom Pieces. “I spent July to October working on 25 brand new furniture makeovers


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exclusively for the book, and every step was photographed and detailed,” Crider says. The content covers basic techniques including paint and stain, decoupage, stenciling, image transfers, texture and layering, reupholstery, repurposing and more. “There are some really unique projects that I think people might be really surprised with,” Crider says.

The book is designed to make the work as easy as possible, with thorough supply lists and step-by-step instructions, most of which are accompanied by a photo. Even a beginner rehabber can make their way through these projects. To those beginners who may be nervous to dip their toe in the world of furniture DIY, Crider has this advice: “It can definitely feel intimidating, but there’s really nothing to be afraid of. Start with a small, inexpensive piece to practice on, not a family heirloom. Know that it will almost always look worse before it looks better. Be patient and don’t be too hard on yourself. That feeling of transforming furniture from start to finish feels amazing. You will become more confident after every piece, and you might even get addicted to it. Of course it helps to have a friend cheering you on, too.”

JEN ’S TO P TH R E E T I P S FO R D I Y 1) Choose furniture wisely. Be sure to look pieces over really well before buying and make sure it’s good quality. When you want to practice on everything, it can be tempting to buy all the $5 yard sale castaways that you can find, but you might end up with a garage full of furniture that you’re not even excited about. 2) Never skip proper prep work. Clean it well, fix any broken parts, fill holes, sand it smooth, and use primer if needed. Don’t cut corners, because you’ll just end up wasting time and money. You want your creation to last! 3) Don’t worry about perfection. “Perfect” is overrated. Painting furniture by hand is an art—it should have character and be one-of-a-kind. Other people probably won’t even notice the little flaws that you think you see.

FI N D I T H E R E For inspiration and to learn more about refinishing furniture and decor, visit, @jen_girlinthegarage on Instagram, or Girl in the Garage on Facebook and Pinterest. Amazing Furniture Makeovers is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indiebound, and Book Depository. Crider will also be selling and signing copies of the book at her vendor booth at Mimosas + Makers—a mimosa crawl and artisan market—in downtown Valparaiso on June 22. The artisan market is free and open to all ages.

MI NDF UL MOME N TS Broadening horizons and finding peace through meditation Wo rds by M ar k Lo e h r ke | P h oto s by Te re sa S c h m id t


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When most people consider meditation, they tend to envision it as the province of only the calmest and most well-adjusted individuals our world has to offer. These are people, they assume, who are so very at ease and so effortlessly in tune with the rhythms of life that meditation is almost a natural state for them. And for some who practice meditation, this idealized vision may indeed reflect the reality of their experience—but they probably weren’t like that on day one. Many of those who sought out the therapeutic benefits of meditation and eventually learned to do it well probably initially came to practice much as Becca Adducci did almost two decades ago as she struggled with stress and anxiety. “It was imperative for me to learn how to calm my own mind and to learn how to self-soothe,” Adducci explains. “I was always so worried about what was going to happen next and/or what I ‘should have done’ in the past that I never appreciated the present—the here and now. At the time, I had no idea what mindfulness even was; now I know that I have to practice it every single day in some capacity.” That overriding lesson of practicing every day is in fact one of the main points that Adducci tries to drive home to the students in the yoga and meditation classes she now offers at her private practice in Valparaiso. The benefits of committing to that daily time, she believes, go beyond just getting a quick mental break, but can positively affect physical, emotional and spiritual health as well—to the point that she sees meditation as something that should be prescribed by doctors for depression and anxiety. “Every single person should spend time alone in quiet, even if it’s just for five minutes a day,” she says. “We’re so busy going from one activity to the next, and so worried about everyone else’s needs, that we often don’t listen to our own inner voice. And that is so important—not only to us, but to our loved ones as well.”

Becca Adducci teaches mindfulness and meditation in her Valparaiso studio. | Photo by Brad M. Wolf


Amelia Haluska-Kovach is a life coach and founder of Integrative Wellness Center. Amelia Haluska-Kovach agrees on the importance of some form of daily meditation, and although she came to the practice amid the more formal and intellectual constructs of Buddhism (as a Religious Studies major at Indiana University in the late 1990s), she believes that the benefits of meditation transcend any specific spiritual belief system. “The benefits of meditation are arguably beyond measure,” says Haluska-Kovach, who regularly incorporates meditation into her group and one-on-one transpersonal life coaching sessions at the Integrative Wellness Center in Crown Point. “Obviously, for those who are not Buddhist or who do not adhere to such a worldview, the concept of developing wisdom and attaining enlightenment through meditation may not resonate. But I believe even the ‘incidental’ benefits—such as a better mood or a more optimistic outlook or a new appreciation for interpersonal relationships, not to mention lower levels of stress and angst—hold invaluable potential for anyone curious about the practice.”


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While both Haluska-Kovach and Adducci preach the importance of trying to carve out time for some small form of meditation each and every day (Haluska-Kovach even recommends a smartphone app called Insight Timer as a means of getting into a routine with short, guided meditations), Adducci also advises newcomers to the practice to focus first and foremost on calm, measured breathing, a physical adjustment that can do wonders for the mind. And Haluska-Kovach says that even more so than with most new disciplines, patience is a key virtue when it comes to meditation. “Quieting the mind and focusing one’s attention is not as easy as we might hope it would be,” she says. “Our days can often be filled with seemingly infinite responsibilities, deadlines and unexpected obstacles, and these daily stressors can not only slip into the practice itself, but can also instill a resistance toward practicing at all. This is all normal and to be expected—not every session will feel ‘good’ in the conventional imagined way, and that’s okay. Whatever emotions or frustrations may arise, just do your best to gently acknowledge them and sit anyway. The aim in the beginning is to become a neutral observer, simply noticing—without attaching labels to—our mind’s habits.” And if the aspired peace and transcendence don’t materialize immediately, Adducci advises to at least try to come away with that greater sense of optimism—there’s always tomorrow. “Be kind to yourself,” she says. “People often make the mistake of criticizing themselves and giving up before they can see the benefits. But meditation is all about the concept of love, kindness and acceptance of everyone—including yourself.”

S H O PK E EP ER S P OTLI GHT Pamper yourself with these products for summer

Tea towel, $14.95 | Cocktail mixer, $14.95 Rocks glass, $13.95 Aster + Gray 20 Indiana Ave, Valparaiso | @asterandgray

Hydrating Mist, Salted Honey Scrub, Facial Clay/ Rose Water Set, $58 Little Lotus Elixirs | @littlelotuselixirs

Monte Carlo Dress, $99 Ivy Boutique 204 Jefferson St, Valparaiso | @shop_ivy_boutique

Acne Facial Serum, $14 | Acne Facial Bar, $12 BUNS Soapbox 506 E Lincolnway, Valparaiso | @buns_soapbox


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THE SKILL GAP How the Maker Movement has revitalized a once dying art form

Story and illustrations by Regan Weber


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“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” wrote William Morris in the 19th century. The sentiment is repeated in our time by the popular organizer Marie Kondo, who asks of her possessions, “Does this object bring me joy?” It seems obvious that our relationship with our things ought to bring us joy, but do they? When we find joy in an object, we know something about it. Yet, most of the objects we possess we know nothing about. There is a recognition that our relationship with things needs to change. It can be seen through various movements and trends today. The Maker Movement, the Slow Movement, minimal living, etc., create an awareness of the object. They have developed a need to understand and connect with the material world, and not mindlessly experience it. The Maker Movement, specifically, is forging communities focused on creating, restoring and using objects. It is bringing about individuals who know and find a deep joy in the object. Each movement has its own reason to question the quantity, quality or process that developed the objects around us, but they all have a central historical precedent. William Morris was asking these same questions as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Objects and materials had never been made at a quicker pace, so inexpensively, and in such large quantities. Morris was adamant that this type of production not only lowered the craftsmanship and care that was put into each object, but it brought the risk of losing valuable hand-skills that were now taken over by a machine. Morris was worried that a skill gap would occur when skills replaced by machines were no longer passed onto next generations. In turn, generations lost touch with how things were made and what they were made from. Today, Glenn Adamson, an author on craftmanship, writes about this same situation. He argues that most of us couldn’t describe how the chair we sit in is made, what it is made from, and would likely have no idea where it came from unless it was printed on the back. We find this problem confirmed in the prevalent skill gap that exists across the U.S. and world, where trades such as carpentry, welding, plumbing, machining, engineering and more are suffering from a lack of workers.


It is because of this issue that I researched this skill gap in 2018 while working on a dissertation for my master’s degree in architectural conservation. The problem is very significant in this field because there is a need for craftsmen that understand and can work with historical materials and processes. I questioned why there weren’t people going into these professions and where these skills were being taught. The answer was complicated, but part of the reason was the stigma attached to such careers that are commonly labeled as “blue collar” work. These professions have been looked down upon and therefore are not being passed on through family generations, apprenticeships or trade schools as frequently as we need them to be. There have been initiatives to draw more people into apprenticeship and trade schools, but these still didn’t combat the problem with how the professions are viewed. Instead, I saw that the modern trends I listed above (slow, minimal living) are having more of an impact on public opinion and interest. The Maker Movement, specifically, is building communities and generating enthusiasm for the act of making.



The Maker Movement is enlisting novices and professionals in environments, commonly known as makerspaces, that enable them to explore materials and techniques. These spaces are helping to develop skills in various disciplines and across a wide range of demographics. I think that the Maker Movement could bring a new generation of skilled workers to invigorate the trades. The Maker Movement thrives off of the curiosity of learning new skills, the excitement of creating, and the ability to say that one made something with his or her own hands. A person takes ownership of the object that they put thought, time and skill into. In the Midwest, we can see the Maker Movement being sparked by spaces like the Board Room in Valparaiso or groups such as the Northwest Indiana Makers Club, where they provide spaces, tools and groups for people to utilize while creating. Across the world there are makerspaces that all serve different functions. During my research I visited the Tool Library in Edinburgh, Scotland, where members could borrow any tool needed to complete projects at home while also providing a workshop for the completion of projects. A community center called Bridgend Farmhouse offered a variety of free classes that were taught by skilled community members, some of which taught students through working on the farmhouse itself, therefore spreading knowledge of construction and building repair. These places have several things in common. They encourage open learning and allow members to share ideas and skills with each other. They are welcoming to all demographics and skill levels. It doesn’t matter if you have never touched a saw before; there will be someone who can take you through every step of learning new tools, processes and machines. The spaces introduce one to the possibilities of construction, and the value of well-made objects. They develop an appreciation for skilled work. The movement is charged to re-engage individuals and communities with skills, tools, technology and materials. These programs and organizations are creating accessible ways to learn methods of production, whether through handcraft skills, technology or a combination of both. It is a structure of learning that has ranged from informal community groups gathered in garages to structured, funded workshops in large institutions such as libraries, museums and schools. Each of these spaces are engaging with people and allowing innovation to happen naturally and comfortably.


Glenn Adamson describes the awareness of the objects around you as material intelligence. The more you understand what goes into the creation of an object, the more you can appreciate those who have developed skills to create them. The Maker Movement is building material intelligence; it is encouraging people to be more aware, to work materials, and to see the benefits of knowing how to create. And through generating this action, the Maker Movement can change the perception of trade work and develop a new generation of skilled trade workers and of craftspeople.


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A decade ago, Lake Street in the Miller section of Gary looked more like a ghost town than a boom town, with the lakeside community’s main drag haunted by too many shuttered businesses. “The only retail businesses were Miller Pizza and Lake Street Gallery, and Lake Street Gallery was considering moving to Chesterton,” says Meg Roman, who was raised in Miller and who graduated from Wirt High School. “People complained that you had to leave Miller for all your shopping and entertainment needs. It was a pretty bleak situation.” A visionary group of concerned neighbors got together to create a solution, using the arts as a catalyst for economic development. Introduced by Eric Reaves, whose research showed that other communities had found this a successful method for revitalization, they formed an arts district. In May 2011, after dozens of committed residents met for several months, their efforts culminated in the creation of the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District. “Before I took this job, I always appreciated and participated in art and cultural activities. But I didn’t fully realize the huge impact that art has on a community, and on individuals,” says Roman, executive director of the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District. Roman initially returned to Miller because of her aging parents, but she has remained there because of the spirit and unique qualities of the community. “I’ve never encountered this in the six or seven other cities I’ve lived in around the world,” she says. “There are so many opportunities here, and a fair number of challenges. But there also is an overwhelming dedication of residents to just pitch in and do whatever they can to improve life here for themselves, their neighbors and friends.” In 2011, the organization was incorporated, a 19-person board was named, a mission statement created, and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status was obtained. The District received its first building donation, thanks to the hard work of Len Pryweller and Eric Reaves. Jeff Marshall, the owner of Miller Drugs, gifted that building to the MBACD with the requirement that it be named after his father, Marshall J. Gardner, who owned and operated Miller Drugs from 1959 to 1974. With grants from the Knight Foundation, private loans, and a group of dedicated volunteers, including architect Roz Mitchell and lead by Lee Companies, this empty former drugstore at 540 South Lake Street was transformed into the District’s 6,000-square-foot gallery and headquarters. Its name – the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts.


BUSINESS BOOM Since then, the District has sponsored over 200 events attracting more than 50,000 guests, and has become an active entity in several projects making an impact on economic development throughout the city and the Region. Most notably, ensuring the South Shore train station remained in Miller and downtown Gary, Roman notes. The District also became a Community Development Corporation, merging its bold colors with other economic drivers in the city and Northwest Indiana. Through its planning committee, led by Patrick Lee with expertise from Chicago architect and Miller resident Gregory Jenkins, the District created long-range plans to further enhance the vitality of the community. Countless members and supporters stepped up, including founding member and current District president Irene Smith-King and Karren Lee, to create something out of nothing from the blank canvas that was Miller more than 10 years ago. In 2013, Jack Strode and Diana Twyman believed in the future of Miller and reopened the Miller Bakery Café, a landmark destination in the community. Afterward, 25 more businesses followed, including additional galleries, artist studios and award-winning breweries. “Miller went from nowhere to shop and nothing to do, to 25 new businesses and so many activities that people are now complaining they can’t get to everything,” Roman says.


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ATTRACTING ART The District also has attracted artists from across the Midwest to express themselves, repainting the Steel City in vibrant colors and vivid hope. Examples include the public mural of the boat and bulldog on the wall behind 601 South Lake Street, created by Felix Maldonado, and the mural on the side of Artistic Cleaners, created by Justus Roe and Ish Muhammad. “I think the District has a great platform to engage the community,” says Tyrell Anderson, president of the Decay Devils, a nonprofit focusing on historical preservation and art. “I expect their reach to grow more in the next years with strategic partnerships that will attract more people to our community. They have been doing a great job and I definitely expect them to continue growing.” The Decay Devils has hosted two gallery events at the MJG Center. “We used the space to not only display our photography, but also to engage the community on the next steps we should take on our projects,” Anderson says. “The District serves as a platform to showcase artists on all platforms. Working in the flexible space at MJG allows us to appeal to a wider range of potential visitors.” Another artist, Richard Pociask, was in the Miller area before the District’s inception, and he has followed its progress. The Marshall J. Gardner Center became not only a place for art and culture, but a home for people who are passionate about Miller. “A place open for a variety of endeavors, a place to gather, somewhere to allow creativity, and opportunity for expression. A place to teach and to learn,” he says. “For all the limitations that the MBACD is confronted with, they seem to make things work. They are a wonderful part of the Miller area and I’m sure a very positive impact on Gary as a whole.” Pociask will be hosting an exhibit there in October, curating an art exhibit for friends who’ve been involved in art, one way or another, for a good part of their lives. “This is a show I have been wanting for a long time,” he says. “The MBACD is giving me the opportunity to do such an exhibit.”


GENERATING GROWTH This is what the District has done for nearly a decade—allow itself to be a dependable palette for a variety of artistic endeavors to bolster economic growth in a city that certainly needs it. The organization’s planning committee worked closely with the city, and the White House Strong Cities Strong Communities initiative, to develop plans for Miller that included a new train station and expanded retail development. “These activities have helped grow our business district, and we’ve had an impact residentially as well,” Roman says. “Property values have risen since the inception of the MBACD, with many residents moving into Miller or buying second homes here.” “The Arts District is proud to have had a strong voice in that critical victory, and continues to monitor developments and work alongside several local, regional and state entities in respect to economic development activities,” she adds. Along the way, tens of thousands of people have attended extraordinary art exhibits, concerts, art classes, dance performances, documentary films, and community or charity events, thanks to the District. Exhibiting artists hail from as far away as Trinidad and as near as Gary. This includes Tibetan monks creating sand mandalas, the Guinness World Records’ “Bead Town,” and acting legend Ed Asner performing his one-man show FDR. “Strong partnerships along the way were essential,” Roman says. These partnerships have included entities such as the Legacy Foundation, Miller Community Fund, Knight Foundation, South Shore Arts, Indiana Arts Commission, Anderson Foundation, local businesses and individual benefactors. Gary mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and the city also have been strong partners for mutually beneficial grant applications. “We have come a long way in a very short time, and yet we have so much more we want to do,” Roman says. “The future is bright.”

MO R E O N MIL L ER For more info, visit or email Roman at


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There is nothing more iconic to the Fourth of July than sparklers and fireworks. Capturing them in photography is no easy task, however. Crown Point photographer Christian Danner shares how he tackled this endeavor in a series of photos featuring fire and light.


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The idea for these images came solely from how light displays captivate a viewer’s attention. When you light and look at a sparkler or watch a fireworks display, there is an expected outcome, but the execution has an organic randomness that is akin to watching a campfire. It’s simply mesmerizing. I had seen some of my peers working with sparklers and refracting light using prisms, capturing the light and freezing the light in time. I wanted to create a body of work that showcased the interaction of people and light. The work itself was taken over the course of a couple of months, in between different projects. For a few of the images, my friend John Noonan (also a photographer) and I drove out to Cedar Lake, parked at an inlet that was under construction, and shot using the lake as the background. While the result was great, the process was less than forgiving. We lit and shot around six boxes of sparklers and earned a couple of burns while getting swarmed by mosquitoes and struggling to make a faulty lighter work the entire time. In the end, the effort was worth it and while we both were thoroughly spent after that evening, the images we captured were awesome, and it only cost us ten dollars (five dollars for the sparklers, two dollars for Band-Aids, and three dollars for dollar store bug spray). This project also taught me a valuable lesson—that some of the best settings for your photography can be right outside your front door. While we could have planned to drive up to Michigan or to the lakefront, we decided to take a ten-minute car ride and use what we had. It can be difficult to feel creative with items that seem so familiar, but when you take time to look at them from all angles, you’ll be surprised what you can find.



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S UM ME R Scoops W M AK E YO UR OW N I C E C RE A M WITH F OU R FAVOR ITE F L AVO R CO MBOS Recipes and photos by Amy Sheree

When the weather is sweltering, there is nothing more refreshing than ice cream. And when that ice cream includes signature American flavors like blueberry pie and PB & J? Even better. Food and lifestyle blogger Amy Sheree of Valparaiso shares these unique recipes for homemade ice cream, some of which are even made with healthy ingredients. Try them out, cool down, and enjoy!


summer | 2019


CHOCOL AT E PR OTE I N I C E CREA M B I TES 1 (9-ounce) container Coco Whip or 9 ounces homemade coconut whipped cream* 3 scoops chocolate protein powder 1/2 cup cashew milk 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips 3 tablespoons almond butter 1. In a large bowl whisk together Coco Whip, chocolate protein powder and cashew milk until smooth with no lumps. 2. Set out 8 silicone cupcake liners and evenly distribute chocolate mixture between them. 3. Top ice cream bites with chocolate chips and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. 4. Once ice cream bites are frozen, drizzle with almond butter and enjoy. *To make your own coconut whipped cream, refrigerate 1 can of full fat coconut milk overnight. Open coconut milk can and scoop off thick part of milk and add to mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer whip coconut milk until light and fluffy; add in 2 tablespoons honey and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and whip for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.


summer | 2019

N O CHU R N B LU EB E R RY P I E I C E C REA M 1 (9-ounce) container Coco Whip or 9 ounces homemade coconut whipped cream 1/2 cup almond milk 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 cup blueberries 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon gelatin 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers (optional) 1. In a small pot at medium heat add blueberries, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and gelatin and bring to a boil, stirring often until thickened. 2. Remove blueberry mixture from the heat and pour into a small bowl. Cool in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. 3. In a large bowl lightly whisk together coconut whipped cream and almond milk until smooth. 4. Place a small piece of parchment paper on the bottom of a small bread pan and layer half of the whipped cream mixture and half of the blueberry mixture, using the back of a spoon to make swirls to combine layers. 5. Repeat with the remaining whipped cream and blueberry mixture. 6. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and freeze for 5 hours or overnight. 7. Once frozen, remove from freezer for 5 minutes before serving. 8. Top with crushed graham crackers.


P E AN UT B U T TE R A N D J ELLY NO C HURN I C E C REA M 1 container (10 ounces) Truwhip or Cool Whip 1/2 cup cashew milk (or milk of choice) 4 tablespoons powdered peanut butter 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter 4 tablespoons strawberry preserves 1. In a large bowl mix together milk and powdered peanut butter until smooth with no lumps. 2. Add in whipped cream and whisk until completely combined and smooth. 3. Pour mixture into a loaf pan. 4. If mixture is very thin, freeze for 20 minutes before adding peanut butter and jelly. 5. Drop tablespoons of peanut butter and jelly into the ice cream and swirl with a butter knife or fork. 6. Freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Store with plastic wrap covering the top.


summer | 2019

ST R AW B E R RY R O SÉ N O CHURN I C E C REA M 2 cups heavy cream 3/4 cup rosé 1 heaping cup strawberry preserves 10 fresh strawberries (or frozen and thawed), chopped 1. In a large bowl whip heavy cream and rosé with an electric mixer. 2. Once fluffy, whip in strawberry preserves until fully combined. 3. Fold in fresh strawberries by hand and pour into a loaf pan or 8×8 dish and cover with plastic wrap. 4. Freeze overnight.




A Po em fo r the Lo st Pleiad e By L an e Sizemo re, Highla n d

I f yo u fo llow the lin e Fro m Orio n ’ s belt, Yo u will f in d her A n d her six sisters. D a ughter o f Atla s, An d the Night, S h e i s the dullest o f the seven , Hidin g herself Un d er a veil o f her own mo rtif ic a tio n . H er sto r y is a tra gic o n e. Yo u see, S h e fe ll in love with a mo rta l A n d wha t is a huma n C o mp a r ed to the bea uty o f the sta rs? D o n ot hide in sha me, sister Yo u wer e n o t do o med f ro m the sta rt. Co me, S hin e a lo n gside us.

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summer | 2019



summer | 2019

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