FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Four months ago, when Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) first introduced its flagship 50th anniversary project—Sculpture with Purpose™ , presented by Lincoln Financial Group—the public art initiative was still in the training wheels phase. Today (Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012), organizers unveiled the first sculptural bike rack and issued the Artist Call for Proposal at a news conference held in Freimann Square in downtown Fort Wayne.
IPFW Chancellor Vicky Carwein and Irene Walters, executive director of University Relations and Communications, welcomed the audience. Chancellor Carwein noted that in the short time she has been in Fort Wayne, she has already been impressed by “...the long history of success IPFW and the Fort Wayne community have shared…and Sculpture with Purpose is one more way in which we will all grow and move forward together by enriching the city and our campus with these wonderful sculptural bike racks.” Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Allen County Commissioner Therese Brown both congratulated the university on the initiative. Mayor Henry said the sculptures represent the “…commitment and partnership of the City of Fort Wayne, IPFW, and the arts community to work together to improve our city. Together, we have developed a plan for funding, creating, installing, and maintaining these sculptures.” Commissioner Brown added, “…we continuously strive to improve the quality of life for all residents of Allen County. IPFW Sculpture with Purpose will complement miles of bike paths and lanes and provide visual interest that is sure to encourage residents and tourists to enjoy our city.”
Ruth Stone, project manager for Sculpture with Purpose, announced several milestones for the project, including passing the halfway point in securing sponsors for all 50 sculptures. Stone specifically thanked Lincoln Financial Group as the lead sponsor. She added that potential locations for many sculptures have been identified and the Artist Call for Proposal is now available so that artists can begin to create bike racks. “Artists of all disciplines are invited to submit proposals for one or more sculptures that meet the criteria contained in the official ‘Artist Call for Proposals.’ Each of the three sculpture sizes—Decade, Celebration, and Commemorative—has an artist’s stipend of $5,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively.” Stone invited all interested artists to attend an information session Saturday, October 27 at Arts United. “The deadline for artists’ résumés, photos, and bike rack designs is Monday, December 3. On May 8, 2013, the public will be invited to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art to get a glimpse of the artist-created models and in May 2014, the sculptures will be on the streets and celebration events will commence.”
The highlight of the news conference was the unveiling of Confluence, the bike rack designed and sponsored by Design Collaborative. Stone thanked Design Collaborative partners Pat Pasterick and Ron Dick, as well as the entire staff at Design Collaborative for “…offering to be the leader in sculpture design for this initiative and starting the momentum for the remaining 49 sculptures. When we met with Pat and Ron in May, we had no idea we’d form a partnership with Design Collaborative to design, create, and build a Decade sculpture, our largest size, in just four months. However, that is exactly what happened.” Stone also thanked Al Moll and Alec Johnson of Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation for allowing the use of the space in Freimann Square for the installation of Confluence.