FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – When you head to a Komets game, or any Allen County War Memorial Coliseum event, you may notice a new cup choice for purchase. The Coliseum recently announced a new souvenir cup designed by a Fort Wayne artist.

It’s a partnership between Fort Wayne artist Theoplis Smith III, also known as Phresh Laundry, and the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

Smith is the designer behind the new souvenir cups. Melanie Carney, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Coliseum, said the idea came about as they wanted to incorporate a feel of the Fort Wayne community into the Coliseum.

Carney has been a Fort Wayne resident for over 2 years. She said when she arrived to Fort Wayne, her perception of the city was decorated by the murals she saw.

New souvenir cups at the Memorial Coliseum were designed by local creative Phresh Laundry.
New souvenir cups at the Memorial Coliseum were designed by local creative Phresh Laundry.

“I thought that the artists did a really good job at conveying the essence of Fort Wayne and so we talked about marrying the two together,” Carney said.

That’s when they began the search for artists and felt Smith was a good fit. Carney said they wanted to incorporate the community while also including the Coliseum’s history as well.

“We opened our doors in 1952, but the concept of the building was birthed at the end of World War II,” Carney said. “Local leaders knew that we would need a place of remembrance for those that had fallen, but they also wanted to find a place for the community to come together and find joy, and just keep moving forward and living life instead.”

Smith said it was interesting to learn that when the Coliseum was built, people were thinking years ahead to know that they would need a place for community refuge.

“And I think that was like a good takeaway from this project to make sure that you’re always thinking ahead and think about others ahead when you’re doing projects aside, and I think that was like just an everlasting impression on me,” Smith said.

Carney and her team shared their ideas with Smith, and he took them and ran with it to create his own version of a souvenir cup while incorporating Fort Wayne as well. On the cup, you’ll see a star representing every military branch, and people symbolizing the kind of events that take place at the Coliseum.

“It’s fun because when you’re part of the community, you don’t have to look too far to find inspiration,” Smith said.

Smith said it took him a couple of weeks to finalize the design.

“Being wired different, I like go around and walk into a space. So I’m kind of sponging the environment. And I’m thinking about witty thoughts and what’s going on that’s actually in the Coliseum, things I’ve been a part of, the experience of the Coliseum,” Smith said, “And so I wanted to like take everyone’s comments, like kind of voice and collaborate and bring this to one strong piece for everyone to view and be able to enjoy.”

The souvenir cups are available for purchase at all Coliseum events at the concession stand.