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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

IPFW Commissions Anniversary Sculptures With a Purpose


Photo credit: IPFW

Written by: Communicator StaffApril 23, 2014

As IPFW approaches its 50th anniversary, the department of Relations and Communications will be celebrating by unveiling the new art initiative, Sculpture with a Purpose. May 17 at Kickstart, a collaborative festival. IPFW will pair up with local businesses such as Fort4Fitness, the City of Fort Wayne, Arts United, Visit Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Trails, and the Downtown Improvement District to start this new festival which will be held downtown.

Sculpture with a Purpose is an arts project, sponsored by Lincoln Financial Group and commissioned by IPFW, which aims to place artistic sculptures around the city that also function as bike racks. Project manager Ruth Stone said they had looked at other cities like Toledo, OH and Louisville, KY which had funded similar projects and noticed a need for something similar in the Fort Wayne area.

“There are 70 plus bike lanes in the area….and there is a push for public art,” Stone said.

Consolidating the two needs, IPFW began Sculpture with a Purpose as a way to not only celebrate its 50th anniversary, but to promote and celebrate fitness, and contribute to the downtown landscape. The sculptures will be placed around the city; 32 will be dispersed around downtown, eight throughout the whole of Fort Wayne, and 12 on the IPFW campus.

In September of 2012 there was a national call for artist’s proposals. Stone said that out of hundreds of submissions 23 artists in seven different states were chosen to contribute to the project.

“We had a selection committee look at designs and then asked the sponsors to look at the drawings and select ones they like most,” Stone said.

The proposal chosen by each sponsor will reflect the final product that is placed outside of their business.

Stone said that some of the artists have taken it upon themselves to build their own sculptures. However, she said that IPFW has contracted a fabricator who constructed many of the Toledo sculptures to build nine of the bike racks. The cost of installation around the city is covered by the 52 sponsors involved with the Kickstart event.

Artist Cary Shafer, originally from Fort Wayne and now a resident of Bloomington, said that his goal for designing a sculpture was to create whimsical pieces that are appropriate for the space that they would inhabit.

“It was a steep learning curve… to produce public pieces,” Shafer said.

Because Shafer is a commission artist, most of his work ends up in people’s homes and private businesses instead of public squares.
“It’s interesting to have my work be out in the public and have people comment on it specifically.”

Shafer’s work for this initiative can be seen by the Fifth Third bank downtown, and by the Journal Gazette.

The Kickstart festival will begin May 17 at 9:30 a.m. on the Main Street Arts campus downtown and is free and open to the public.

Story by: Logan Hursh