Alexandra Hall is a Fort Wayne artist who helped create Art This Way. It’s a street art program that recruits local professional artists to paint murals in alley ways and on buildings to make accessible artwork available to the public.
Hall is the manager and co-founder of Art This Way. It operates under the umbrella of the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District. “It was just a fluke, a crazy circumstance that really brought me into this scenario,” said Hall. “I worked on a project called the Guitar Experment in collaboration with Alex Mendez. He’s a sculptor based in Decatur, Indiana. I did a drawing and said can you do this with metal because I wanted to be able to do something where I painted for the art prize event up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. So my guitar artwork just so happened to be on display and the Downtown Improvement District saw it. Bill Brown orchestrated the purchase of it with the funds of Lincoln Financial as part of a memorial fund they had for Christy Landrigan.”
“Christy died in a car accident back around 2014 I believe it was,” said Bill Brown, President of the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District. “She really wanted to get more people connected to downtown and to tell the downtown story and she also worked at Lincoln Financial as a financial advisor and she was also with downtown Fort Wayne for several years.”
“So Christy’s memory is at the core of the very beginning of all of this yes,” said Hall. From this collaboration, the Downtown Improvement District’s Art This Way was born. “It is very much a vicarious relationship that Alexandra is exuding because of her friendship and relationship with Christy,” said Brown.
Hall isn’t the only artist whose work you’ll find downtown. “There are more than 12,” said Hall. “But in the Art This Way area we installed four this year. The Art This Way area includes two blocks of downtown that run from Washington, Wayne & Berry and Harrison & Calhoun. “We have a lot of local talent that’s great at expressing themselves through that visual medium,” said designer Jordan Justice. “I’d like to see more murals in the area and also more art galleries.”
Property owners within the Art This Way area signed agreements for their buildings to become canvasses. “It’s something to have the local owners step up and say we’re interested in seeing this happen, please saturate this space with some creativity. Hopefully we’ll see another mural installed in June or July of this year.”
Hall has no plans to put her likeness on a building but it was on a different type of canvas. In 2018 Fort Wayne Magazine honored her as one of its people of the year. “It’s an honor and it’s really neat to live in a place where you’re seeing creativity and the creative community exposed this way. Hopefully Art This Way will continue to bring more art to downtown.”
You can see some of Hall’s artwork at Lutheran Hospital in the children’s section. Her guitar experiment project that she created with Alex Mendez is located at 119 West Wayne Street. Hall’s work can also be viewed on her website.
Artists can turn in ideas for the 2019 mural project. The Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District and Art This Way are accepting applications. The selected design will be installed on the west wall and wrap around to the north wall of the parking garage at 840 South Calhoun Street. The west wall opens onto Wayne Street.
“We are excited about this year’s project,” said Hall. “Hopefully we’ll see another mural installed in June or July of this year and if all goes to plan maybe a couple of other installations that we’re just working out the kinks on.”
The artist application deadline is May 1, 2019. The selected artist will be chosen thorugh a blind jury process and receive a stipend. For more information go the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District website.