Mastodon makeover is Positively Fort Wayne


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A former WANE 15 mastodon that was part of a public art project now has a whole new look. It was given a makeover by students in the Trio Upward Bound program. “I like art and this was fun,” said Chris Hartman.

Hartman was one of about a dozen Allen County high school students who participated in the mammoth summer project at Purdue Fort Wayne. This all came about because of their art teacher Angie Tarr. “We’ve been trying to do this project now for three years,” she said. “We’ve had that mastodon in our backyard for about seven years.”

The mastodon ended up in her backyard because Angie’s husband Gregg Tarr works at WANE 15 as a graphic artist. Back in 2005, he and WANE 15 were part of the stampede of artists who participated in a promotion to creatively decorate mastodons that were publicly displayed around town to celebrate IPFW’s 40th anniversary. Of course since then the school’s name has changed to Purdue Fort Wayne but the mastodons remained and not all of them on campus.

“Since we’d had it for so long, I felt it was time to see if it could get a facelift and a new life so other people could see it because in my yard not many people got to see it or even knew it existed,” said Gregg Tarr.

The mastodon was given new life when Tarr’s wife decided to use it for her summer art students. “We have taken it and renovated it to reuse, recycle and have it represent the Trio Upward Bound program.”

Upward Bound is a program for high school students who are first generation college bound students. “They need a little extra support,” said Tarr. “They need a little extra help to ensure that they get past some of the obstacles like filling out applications and touring campuses.”

Working together students from five Allen County high schools, North Side, South Side, New Haven, Wayne and New Tech decided to don their don with a paint job, hands-on imagination and a name. They call their mastodon Maurice. His paint job shows hands reaching up towards graduation caps and the group’s mission statement which is “nothing is beyond our reach”.

“I really like this idea, said art student Sierra Gilcrease. “Usually with art classes it’s pen and paper or making a sculpture but with this we got to paint on something that’s three dimensional.”
The newly made over Maurice now stands at the Trio Upward Bound Office as a symbol of what students can accomplish working together. He is one of 15 on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus.

When the mastodons were first unveiled in 2005 there were 102 of them around Fort Wayne. Some places like Science Central still have them up today.

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