Lights Coming Back on in Gary

I knew my involvement in civic matters in northwest Indiana would eventually take me to Gary, about 25 miles from my town of Valparaiso. As I’ve driven along Interstate 90 heading to and from Chicago, I’ve often peered down from the expressway into the city’s empty streets and dilapidated neighborhoods. For many long-time residents of the area, the town’s very name is an epithet for a landscape of failure and fear where it’s thought that no one stays who can find a way to leave. I admit I have no … [Read more...]

What I Saw on the Porch

In temporary relief from the ongoing telenovella of our impending national election, we habitues of the Front Porch Republic met up last weekend at the architecture building on the campus of the University of Notre Dame for a daylong celebration of "place, limits, liberty." These annual shmoozefests are always a delight, given the wonderful mix of temperaments and the high degree of literacy displayed everywhere. Amidst a certain Spenglerian gloom, hilarity is always breaking out, I dunno quite h … [Read more...]

Gaudi’s Last Walk, a Poem by David Gordon

                                                                Come early tomorrow, Vincente,                                                                 so we can make more beautiful things.You say goodbye precisely at five thirty, Same as always, time measured Like timber and stone.Precision and habit, joists of beauty. Patience and ritual, trusses of art.You walk with a dog-eared Gospel In one pocket; in the other,Nuts and seeds to sustain your shrinking frame. At Ca … [Read more...]

The Importance of Slow Architecture

I've not been to Las Vegas since my high school Latin group stopped there briefly on the way back from the Junior Classical League convention up in Bozeman. But I take it the new resorts look much more glamorous than their original models in Europe, Egypt, wherever. For some tastes, Paris in Nevada trumps (forgive me) Paris in France, even at 50% scale.It's been remarked that theme parks can offer a kind of childlike introduction to a more grownup understanding of civic beauty, of an a … [Read more...]

Art For An Integral Ecology

A. Vonn Hartung is a Puerto Rico-based artist who works across a variety of media, including painting, woodcarving, mosaic, and ceramics. His defining achievement came in 2001 when he was commissioned to paint the official portrait of Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago, the first Puerto Rican to be so recognized by the Holy See. Vonn's portrait hangs in the Hall of Saints of the Pontifical North American College at the Vatican. Inspired by Pope Francis, Vonn and his wife Patty are now off … [Read more...]