Over the past several years, the landscape and culture of Fort Wayne has changed significantly, and big part of that has been an increase in art and the beautification of the city’s public spaces.
Murals and other public art displays around the downtown area help beautify some of the city’s most basic and fundamental structures, but city leaders believe the impact of that art can reach beyond just looking pretty. It can also help the city economically.
“If we want to attract businesses, we want to attract doctors, we want to attract new residents or people who are graduating from college that are looking for a new home that they can start their life and their family, they’re going to want to find a place that is attractive,” said Dan Baisden, Fort Wayne Public Art Manager.
A relatively new group to Fort Wayne agrees with that sentiment and is hoping to influence change and capitalize on the current momentum.
It’s called CreativeMornings, and it’s a breakfast lecture series for anyone who considers themselves creative..
The Fort Wayne chapter is part of a global organization that aims to bring creatives together, while also exploring ways to improve the community as a whole.
“We focus on more of a civic engagement take on it, and basically that just means that we focus on different people that we feel need a platform in Fort Wayne that are doing awesome things for the community,” CreativeMornings Fort Wayne organizer Olivia Lehman said.
Lehman started the local chapter in January and instantly got a positive and somewhat overwhelming response.
“We were amazed by the ticket sales,” Lehman said. “We sold out in the first three hours for our first event.”
Since then, the meetings have continued to grow in popularity.
The group meets the second Friday morning of each month to listen to a speaker talk about a predetermined theme and network with others in the creative community.
The March meeting brought in close to 110 people.
Lehman and Baisden agree that the recent push for more art and creative outlets around the city could have contributed to that positive response.
“There’s an excitement and almost like a charge by the residents that are saying ‘We need to invest in creativity, public art, and creative institutions,” Baisden said.
Baisden said he hopes that energy continues as the Fort Wayne Public Art Commission looks ahead to the future.
Public art displays have already been popping up all over the city in the past several years, but now city leaders want to hear from the community.
The commission is now seeking public input through an online survey that you can find at FortWaynePublicArt.com.
“This is really a plan that is designed for the community, by the community,” Baisden explained. “The name of the plan is ‘Art for All,’ and so we really want to express everybody’s opinions on what art should be, how do we express our neighborhoods, how do we describe our neighborhoods and our downtown to people who are visiting, or even people who are looking to relocate.”
Lehman said she is excited and happy about the direction the city is heading, but there’s still more room for improvement.
“I hope that Fort Wayne kind of grows into itself and really starts to elaborate on some of the neighborhoods that we already have that are growing and increasing in creativity,” Lehman said.
The next CreativeMornings breakfast lecture will be held at Artlink on Friday, April 12 starting at 8:30 a.m. The theme will be “Inclusive.”
You can register for free tickets for the event here.