Outdoor art gallery aims to brighten, change perception of SE Fort Wayne neighborhood

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Artists are looking to brighten up Central Drive with murals along the OmniSource retention wall.

On Sunday, artists could be seen painting large murals along the retention wall that goes along Central Drive. Project curator Francisco Reyes said the project is called “Elevation.” It is a rotating outdoor art gallery where local artists can work with a concrete canvas around 250 square feet in size. He is hoping the project will brighten up the neighborhood.

“I live across the street,” said Reyes. “I’ve stared at this wall and stared at this giant gray slab for 20 years, you get tired of staring at giant gray slabs for that long. So for a long time I’ve wanted to see this thing covered in art. And the way I look at it is the more art that goes up, the more it spreads into other neighborhoods.”

The idea was inspired by the graffiti culture Reyes grew up around.

“We always had legal walls where you could go paint and anybody could practice and learn to piece,” Reyes said. “So I’m like, how do we spread that? How do we democratize public art? So that anybody who’s into it can get into it? How do we make it so that people who don’t know they’re into it get into it?”

They are starting off the gallery with seven murals, all done by local artists, but hope to see more artists out next year, even some from outside of the city.

“What I’d like it to do is, one, I’d like for people outside of the southeast area who, they look at the southeast as a certain way, right? It’s not like that,” Reyes said. “I live here. I know what it’s like, I know what it’s not like. So if we can have all this bright color in here, then more people who are from not this area come in and they see a different face to the south side than they’ve ever heard about. There’s people here who are doing good things.”

You can check out the murals in the 2400 block of Central Drive, near the intersection with Diamond Street.

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