Webmaster’s note: This news release is from March, 2014, however it contains information pertinent to this weekend’s KickStart Festival in downtown Fort Wayne.
News release from the AWS Foundation:
AWS Foundation sponsors bike art project of sculptures to be displayed at FAME Festival
(March 13, 2014) – Saturday, March 15th will be the first opportunity for Fort Wayne residents to view a collection of unique art pieces constructed using bicycles. Sponsored by the AWS Foundation, the Bike Art Project is a collaborative effort among 15 local agencies who serve individuals with special needs. Each agency recruited client “artists” to create art using bicycles that will be temporarily affixed to the bike racks developed as part of IPFW’s “Sculpture with Purpose” on May 17th, 2014.
This project represents Fort Wayne’s first public art created for and by individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. It has given people who may not have access to artistic outlets of this scale a way to express themselves through collaborative teamwork and creative skills. Many of these individuals have never had the opportunity to work on a collaborative artistic project. This experience has given them a chance to express and develop their creative abilities and work together with other artists, for some who may not have discovered their artistic inclinations. “It was incredible to see the artists work together to make decisions about their piece, come up with new ideas, or anticipate issues. The assisting staff members tried to have as little impact as possible to give them full creative license” said Simon May, assistant project coordinator.
From idea generating meetings through the finished pieces, the artists were encouraged to be involved in the entire eight week creative process. This included design sketching, choosing materials, and implementation of the concept. “Their disabilities became invisible, they were simply people creating art” said Candy Pease, project coordinator. Materials included corrugated plastic, sculpting paste, zip ties, paint, paper mache, chicken wire, protective resin, and every piece of their bicycles.
Participants in the project developed a stronger bond through team building and creative expression. “It’s abstract art, you can’t make a mistake, it’s all beautiful!” said Nina Welfle from Turnstone. Despite the difficulties of wheelchair maneuvering, emotional aversions to messy paint, and for some blindness, each group participated in the discovery process and took great pride in their sculpture. “We all have a disability of some kind, some of ours are just more obvious than others” said Julie Collins from The League for the Blind and Disabled. Many participants find it difficult to express themselves in conversation, but their intense concentration, laughter, and prideful smiles say a thousand words.
The AWS Foundation’s Bike Art Project will be on display at “FAME Festival” at the Grand Wayne Center, this Saturday, March 15th and Sunday, March 16th, later at the “disAbilities Expo” at the War Memorial Coliseum on May 10th, during the “Sculpture with Purpose” unveiling at various sites around Fort Wayne on May 17th, and on location at Wunderkammer Company Art Gallery on Fairfield Ave. from May 19th through the end of June.
About the AWS Foundation
Participating organizations include AWS Foundation, Anthony Wayne Services, Cedars Hope, Mental Health America, The Whitley County Dazzlers, Easter Seals ARC of Fort Wayne, Positive Pathways, Passages Inc., Pathfinder Services & Kids Kampus, Turnstone, The League for the Blind and Disabled, Leisure for Life! Indiana, Whitney Young Early Childhood Center, and East Allen County Schools.
The AWS Foundation supports organizations and programs that benefit individuals with disabilities. Our mission is to help children and adults with enduring physical and intellectual disabilities live as independently as possible, be included in community, and function at their highest potential.