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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

Art and History Collide Downtown

Written by: Communicator StaffMay 27, 2014

Local non-profit organization ARCH (Architecture & Community Heritage) hosted an art show featuring the paintings of local artist and 2010 IPFW graduate Peter Lupkin at the vacant Canton laundry building on Broadway.

ARCH is an organization in Fort Wayne that “Advocates for the protection and preservation of historically and culturally significant assets and historic places in Allen County and northeast Indiana.”

The organization had purchased the building on Broadway two years ago and admitted to it being quite the undertaking. “It’s one of our restoration projects. As you can see it’s a lot of work. The wall was literally held together by poison ivy when we got it, the roof was falling off, when we pulled the ivy off the wall came down, roof was missing…probably 10-15 years of rain.. chock full of junk it took five dumpsters to empty it,” Lori Graf, Program Specialist said. “We work to save the historic structures in town. When there is no one to step in to save a building we will.”

Graf said that ARCH’s mission is to buy the historically significant buildings, restore them to functioning ability, and then sell them back into the hands of private owners.

Collaborating with the local community ARCH has initiated hosting art shows and music acts in the buildings to entice potential buyers into the space, as well as to engage the community in a space and way that is open to the public.

On Friday Peter Lupkin showcased his first solo show as part of the Art & History events that take place every Friday evening.

Lupkin essentially grew up next door to the buildings working in his father’s stained glass studio, William L. Lupkin Designs, which often make stained-glass designs for churches as well as commercial pieces.

Many of Lupkin’s own works are heavy with religious undertones and symbolism. Very rarely does it appear that anything in Lupkin’s art work is done without a great deal of consideration and attention to detail. Some of his pieces tackle topics such as the Arab Spring showcasing them in a way that attempts to portray the humanistic side of such controversial topics.

Lupkin says that being raised in a religious artist environment influenced has had an influence on his work. “I grew up in a very religious art environment, I mean, we make stained-glass windows, mosaics and murals for churches….So, I mean, there is a lot of very positive things that come from that environment and negative too. You sometimes see an unwillingness to experiment, to change, but I still see a tremendous amount of value both in the institution and art work…I think religious art in particular is a language. Very rarely you see a religious stained glass that isn’t chock full of symbolism and if you can read it, it’s really beautiful….Very few things I do in a piece is casual,” Lupkin said.


Lupkin also expressed that the main purpose in his art is to not relate a moral absolute point of view, but to allow the viewer to make their own conclusions on his artistic statement.

“At the absolute end of the day I’d like to think I would leave the world a little better than I entered. Even if you can make people think and question and actually ask ‘Ok, what’s the good in this and what’s the bad in this?’ because people very, very often jump to an immediately conclusion of it’s all good or it’s all bad and neither one of them is always healthy. I guess, I would like to think that people by viewing the art work, that when they go to make their own decisions….that they come to it with a little bit more of a, open mind is a loaded phrase, but maybe they come to it knowing that there is going to be a lot of shades of grey and I think that makes people better.”


Story by: Logan Hursh