If you thought I was bluffing when I mentioned taking a road trip to Indiana to see some street art, you clearly don’t know me very well. After checking out the Paint Paste Sticker exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center, I learned about a street art project in Miller Beach, Indiana, called Lake Effect. So a few days later, me and Daniela had the following exchange:
- Daniela: “What should we do today?”
- Me: “Well, we can drive to Indiana or walk around Andersonville or go shopping on Armitage”
- Daniela: “Will it even be light out still by the time we get to Indiana?”
- Me: “Probably not.”
- Daniela: “I think we should go to Indiana, because that’s the most ridiculous option and that’s the only type of option we ever seem to choose.”
And off we were to Indiana. But not via I-94 like Google Maps suggested. As we drove down Lake Shore Drive and approached the exit for I-94, we saw a ton of backed-up traffic. So I made an executive decision to take Lake Shore Drive all the way to Indiana. After all, LSD was empty, and it would be a fun adventure. So we took Lake Shore Drive and other lake-side roads all the way to Miller Beach, Indiana, despite Google Maps’ constant pleading to turn left and get on I-94.
Needless to say, it was dark by the time we got to Miller Beach. And I wasn’t exactly sure what to look for or where. We saw a few street art pieces on the walls, and then went into Lake Street Gallery, the only place still open on Lake Street. The shop had a variety of art and crafts from local artists, including really wooden panel pieces hanging on the walls. Plus, the owner was super nice and steered us towards the hidden art, which could be found on the backs of buildings in the alleys. Although he assured us it was safe and we could probably walk back through the alleys with no problems, we decided to drive through them in my car instead. Safety first.
Although on a dark winter night Lake Street was pretty deserted, I would head back to Miller Beach in the summer. The Lake Street Gallery owner we chatted with is actually from Chicago but moved to Miller Beach to open his business and enjoy a lower cost of living. I also hear the beach itself is really clean and quaint. And I love that the community is dedicated to creating an arts and creative district.
We couldn’t be in Gary and NOT visit Michael Jackson’s childhood home. Although the neighborhood was a bit intimidating, we had no issues checking out the small home, and one of the neighbors even helped point out Jackson’s face on the back of the black memorial slab in the yard. The house was surprisingly small but really well-kept. Also, a blue light kept showing up in my photos, and I swear there was a light on inside that went off as we were leaving. I’m not saying it was MJ’s ghost, but I’m just sayin’.
well written article – thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading!
Great article! Thank you for sharing. Good photos also! Did you chicks roll through Miller last summer — early one Sunday and help a stranded motorist near the beach?
Thank you! I think I managed to snap some OK shots considering it was dark. Sadly, i haven’t made it out to Miller Beach in the summer yet!
I am so impressed with this article. I live in Miller and I have not seen that many of these art displays. Where are they all hidden. I see a few, but I have not seen this many. Beautiful pictures.
Also I am very glad that you have portrayed Miller Beach as a safe area of Gary. I live there and it is very quiet. I love the Lake Street area and it is “up and coming!”
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, we had a nice experience at Miller Beach. But we definitely needed help finding the art, too! Much of it is on the back walls of various retailers along Lake Street, so you have to go through the alleys to see the pieces.