Hammond, Ind. (April 16, 2018) – Nearly 15 million recycled Mardi Gras beads and thousands of participants will create a mural depicting northwest Indiana and Chicagoland at the Bead Town: Along the South Shore exhibit. The mural will highlight dozens of historic and iconic locations that make up the landscapes along the southern shores of Lake Michigan. The 3,311 square foot mural is the newest artwork by Bead Town and will attempt to set a Guinness World Records®.

The interactive art exhibit brings people together as a community building program. Students and volunteers at Bead Town will use millions of beads and other found objects such as fossils, bottle caps, screws, nails and washers to create artworks. The project will take two years to complete and will be open to the public wishing to be a part of history.

Bead Town: Along the South Shore applies innovative teaching methodologies that foster intrinsic motivation, collaboration, tolerance, teamwork, Socratic learning and student empowerment. The mural will depict landscapes of the Midwest but also incorporate a person each of the 242 countries and territories around the world.

When complete the mural will feature a circle, standing 8 ft. tall and span 204 ft. (circumference). When a person stands in the center, they will see northwest Indiana by day and Chicago’s skyline by night. Iconic landmarks will include the Indiana Dunes, the Century of Progress Homes, the Grist Mill at Deep River County Park, Chicago’s major skyscrapers, and Lake Michigan among others. More than 20 landmarks will be included on the beaded mural.

“We are excited to bring attention to the South Shore; our progress and innovation; our diversity, history and who we are as a people with this global project,” said Speros A. Batistatos, President/CEO of the South Shore CVA.

Stephan Wanger, executive director and founder of Bead Town echoed Batistatos’ message, “This project will bring people together around the world via sister cities and touch lives in every country and territory. It’s our opportunity to tell the stories of people and places through art.”

The exhibit Bead Town: Along the South Shore will be housed at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana from April – September 2018 and through 2019. A calendar of events is posted online at www.southshorebeadtown.com; new events will be added throughout the year. Special workshops like Bead and Brew will be open to the public and include a take-home mosaic project. Private events for organizations and large groups can also be scheduled by contacting Stephan Wanger at 1914magazine@gmail.com or the Contact Us form on the website, www.southshorebeadtown.com.

Follow Bead Town’s progress on Instagram @Beadtownusa and Facebook @ExperienceBeadTown and #beadtown.

About Stephan Wanger and Bead Town
Stephan Wanger is a self-taught artist who channels his creative energy into assembling dazzling mosaics using recycled Mardi Gras beads. Working in a photorealistic style, Stephan recreates iconic images to make the innate beauty and unique culture of this area available to the world.

Through his experiences traveling the globe, Stephan has gained insight and influence from the Spanish Art Nouveau designs of Antoni Gaudi, the Moorish and Persian architectural details in Istanbul, Turkey, and the sculpture and environmental art of Chicago artist and friend John David Mooney. These designs and images have influenced the use of pattern, design, and fine detail in his work. Though Stephan is not formally trained as an artist, he engages in a craft that speaks to fine art, borrowing the ideals of Post-Impressionistic Pointillism and emulating the style and scale of Roy Lichtenstein's Pop-Art works. Approaching each piece with an eye toward superior craftsmanship, Stephan has elevated what may be considered whimsical material to a level of fine art. 

About the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority
The South Shore CVA is an award-winning destination marketing organization that leads the hospitality industry and aids its partners through the development and support of attractions through northwest Indiana. The South Shore is promoted as a centrally located, reasonably priced destination for travelers.

Through innovative marketing and technology usage, the South Shore CVA promotes attractions, festivals, restaurants and hotels throughout Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton Counties in Indiana. Visitor spending in the South Shore totals more than $1.6 billion annually.

About Bead Town’s Guinness World Records® Achievement
Bead Town’s mural, “Life in the French Quarter” will be on display at the Indiana Welcome Center during Bead Town: Along the South Shore exhibit. “Life in the French Quarter” is the current Guinness World Records© achievement for the largest mosaic made out of beads. The artwork is 96 ft. long and 8 ft. tall. The mural was unveiled in May of 2017 in Gary, Indiana and celebrates New Orleans 300 year history. It features Joan of Arc at the New Orleans parade and many celebrities that made New Orleans their home. “Life in the French Quarter” is sponsored by the Hotel Monteleone, The New Orleans Advocate, IN Health Integrated Care and the University of Chicago. View the achievement at http://bit.ly/2CndIIP.