News release from the Downtown Improvement District:

Art This Way announces open call to artists!

(April 3, 2020) – Creatives wanted! The Art This Way program announces a 2020 Artist Call for Entry! Applications are now open for five murals located at the former Utopian Coffee building at 222 Pearl Street in Downtown Fort Wayne! Seven murals will be programmed at this location, and five of these projects are open for artists to apply!

The theme of the Utopian Mural projects is inclusion. Art This Way is collaborating with local organizations and businesses who are making a difference in our community! Our partners in this project are Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, Turnstone Center for Children & Adults with Disabilities, AWS Foundation, Flagstar Foundation, Fort Wayne Metals, Center for Nonviolence, and Lutheran Life Villages.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is incredibly excited to be a part of this project and to have our mission represented in such a unique way. What started here in the heart of Fort Wayne back in 1972 continues to change thousands upon thousands of lives throughout our communities,” said Elijah Rider, Marketing and Communications for Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEI. “Art is one of the many ways we can get our youth more involved and we try to cater to all interests when it comes to our programs. Being a part of something like this can serve as a reminder to the community that we all have limitless potential and that there’s a mentor in everyone.”

Each of the Utopian Coffee murals has a different theme and/or eligibility requirements. For example, applicants for the Big Brothers Big Sisters mural must currently be, or at one time have been, a ‘Big’ or a ‘Little’ in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program! The ‘Hoosier Muralist’ has to have ties to Indiana. The ‘Emerging Artist’ applicant does not need any prior mural experience—in fact—a lack of experience is encouraged! The theme for the Center for Nonviolence mural is the Center for Nonviolence’s definition of Nonviolence: ‘A lifestyle based on love, truth, and community; a commitment to justice and liberation; speaking up for the truth in ways that do not harm, control, or marginalize others.’ The applciant for the Turnstone mural is asked to create a design that incorporates or reflects Turnstone’s vision: Turnstone aspires to a world that accepts and values people based on their abilities.

These mural panels will be a collection of many voices, telling powerful stories about who we are as a community.

“Art plays an important role in framing the world we live in and Turnstone is proud to partner with Art This Way and artists to celebrate the inclusive strength of our community thanks to support from the AWS Foundation,” says Rena Shown, Chief Development Officer.

Funding for these projects was provided by Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District, AWS Foundation, Lutheran Life Villages, Fort Wayne Metals, and the Flagstar Foundation. Special thanks to Brendon Maxwell of Utopian Coffee.

Art This Way is a program of the Fort Wayne Downtown Economic Improvement District. The overarching goal of the Art This Way program is to beautify and improve the pedestrian experience in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Art This Way program has installed ten projects within the 99 blocks of Downtown Fort Wayne. In 2020 the program will install another nine projects!

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