The Heat Light Water Project

The Heat Light Water Project

Who We Are

Led by artist-educator Jan TichyThe Heat Light Water Project (HLWP) is a team of artists, cultural producers, thinkers, activists, and community partners who value art, culture and science as conduits for restoration, empowerment and engagement in downtown Gary and its surrounding neighborhoods. Through a collaborative partnership with local and regional artists, community members and city officials, our goal is to help re-energize Gary!
Jan Tichy is a contemporary artist and educator working in video, sculpture, architecture, and photography. Born in Prague in 1974, Jan studied art in Israel before earning his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he is now Assistant Professor in the Department of Photography. He has created socially engaged art projects in Chicago and internationally. Project Cabrini Green, which you can view here: is just one example of his keen ability to bridge art, science, and community together.
One of the collaborators is Dr. Jeffreen Hayes. Jeffreen, an artistic producer and curator, believes, like Jan, in the power of art, culture and science to empower communities in need. She is supporting HLWCP through her organization bridge/arts, which provides administrative support to artist and community-driven art projects.
The Heat Light Water Cultural Project collaborators share a collective experience of over 15 years of art interventions, curating, and community engagement.

The Name

The Heat Light Water Cultural Project takes its name from what is currently known as the General Services building. The building’s given name, when designed by architect George W. Maher, was the Gary Heat Light Water Co. Warehouse. Taking into consideration that heat, light and water are essential elements for life and basic services, we believe that art and culture are essential for any society.

Why Gary

We understand ourselves as cultural facilitators and catalysts who take our direction from what the community actually wants. 

As artists, we believe in working with the people of Gary to not only provide access to  the arts but to also help individuals and communities tap into their creativity. We view these workshops as a way to identify the culture that already lives in Gary and to activate what is already there. The HLWCP workshops are one way to acknowledge that beauty exists in different forms—in forms different from the ways we typically identify as beauty.
Gary is part of our Chicagoland community and a neighbor. In order to build community you have to share resources, take care of your neighbor, and build a network. We want to share our artistic resources and show Gary, and the world, the beauty we see and experience in the community.
Gary is our neighbor. In order to build community you have to share resources, take care of your neighbor, and build networks.

What We Are Doing

To begin our long term engagement, we will be facilitating artist-run workshops this summer and fall. We take a holistic approach to community-building. Everyone should have access to the art. The workshops will offer something for everyone, with a focus on specific age groups, as well as intergenerational arts programming.
Some of the artist workshops include:

Documentary photography
●  This workshop will encourage different ways of seeing while teaching the participants about the history of photography and how it has been used to document cities and communities

Waveguide Radio Workshop
●  Workshops will teach participants how to create technology to support the collection stories from their community

●  A program that collects stories from residents of Gary, particularly senior citizens, in order to create a public alternative archive of Gary’s history
We will offer these as well as traditional forms of art: drawing, painting, etc.
At the end of our first year of artist-run workshops, we will have a community-curated exhibition of all of the art created! The exhibition will be presented back to the community at Indiana University Northwest’s Gallery of Contemporary Art!